How to Deal with a Bad Meal

San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer took to his blog to address the issue of complaining (or not) if you’re eating a disappointing meal or feel that you’re receiving poor service when dining out. While he doesn’t complain (as he is a reviewer), he says, “…I have a feeling that if I were a typical diner, I wouldn’t say much either unless the food was so bad I couldn’t eat it. In some cases I’ve done that; I can’t abide raw chicken, for example.”

I asked Kevin Jennings, who, with his wife Stacy, owns Vivace, Coquette Brasserie and Frazier’s in Raleigh, North Carolina, whether he believes dissatisfied diners should suffer in silence. “Absolutely not! If diners don’t like something or if it’s not cooked as they think it should be, we’d rather they tell us. We can make it right and repair the evening,” he reveals.

If it’s poor service or any other error, he also suggests diners speak up. “If there’s not something exactly right, we want to know about it. If a diner thinks it’s too cold or too bright, if something isn’t just as a guest wants it to be, we want to know!”

He and his family eat out often, and he admits, “Stacy and I can see when things aren’t going well when we’re dining out. But, I don’t care if a restaurant gets something wrong. That happens every day! I only care about how a restaurant responds.”

Do you speak up when something isn’t to your liking when you’re dining out? Or do you suffer in silence?