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It can be very stressful when you receive bad service in a restaurant.  For many, the very reason you are going out is to be able to relax and have someone serve you for a change.  There are different ways that you can react to bad service, and this will be dependent on a variety of factors, including the type of bad service, the reason for the bad service and your temperament.  There is no one right reaction because it will depend on you and the situation.  The following are some actions you might want to consider when subject to bad service in a restaurant.

1. Talk to the manager

Many people choose to talk to the manager when they get bad service at a restaurant.  It might make them feel better to be able to vent their feelings, especially if the waiter or waitress deliberately provided bad service because they had an attitude or were just not nice.  In addition, by complaining the manager might do something to correct the situation, which might make you feel better.  There is a good chance that they will talk to the server, which may decrease the chance of it happening again. They may also give you a break on your bill or give you some sort of free item.  A good manager will be properly apologetic and hopefully make you feel better than when you started.  The only thing to take into consideration is that the server will probably get into trouble.  Of course, this might be your goal.  Just be careful about so-called “tattling” on the waiter if it was not his or her fault.  You might not feel good complaining if the waiter did something accidentally but was still considerate and apologetic.

2. Ignore it

Another very reasonable thing to do is to ignore it.  This is good for someone who is good about putting things behind them and not “stewing” about things.  For some people, getting the manager and rehashing things might make it worse and just make the bad situation seem to last longer.  Of course, you can then make the decision not to visit the restaurant again.

3. Write a letter or call the manager after the fact

Perhaps you really want to enjoy that day or you don’t want to make a scene in front of the others at the table.  Another option would be to leave things at the restaurant but then complain either through a letter or a phone call.  You will have different choices of whom to contact including the manager or a corporate office if it is a big chain.

4. Share your experience with others

You may choose to vent your feelings by sharing your opinions with your friends.  This may help you feel better, and also help them avoid facing the same scenario.  You can tell them which waiters to avoid. 

5. Ask for a different waiter

You may want to ask the restaurant to assign a different waiter or waitress to you.  You can do this on that day or on subsequent visits to the restaurant.  Likewise, if you have a waiter or waitress that provides exemplary service, you could consider asking for them on a regular basis, which will help you avoid a repetition of the bad service.  This will also reward the good waiter. 

6. Talk to the waiter

Many waiters and waitresses would rather not have their boss disturbed by news of bad service.  It could affect their job, and in some cases even get them fired.  Some might be willing to listen to your concerns and remedy the situation themselves.  Try to stay calm in this, and not let it turn into a large argument.  That would serve little purpose, and only make you more upset. 

7. Ask for a discount or something for free

It might make you feel better to specifically ask for a discount or a free product.  You can ask this of the waiter, manager or corporate if you go that far. 

8. Consider the reasons behind the bad service

You might feel better if you think about why the bad service occurred.  Did the person mean to do it or was it just a mistake?  Also, remember that sometimes the waiter is not at fault for bad service.  If he or she put in the order but the kitchen just didn’t get it out, then it is not their fault.  Sometimes things happen and it is no one’s fault.  Try not to get too angry when something happens that is just an accident and not through purposeful behavior.  It might make you feel better. 

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