45 Absurd Reasons Customers Sent Food Back, According To Servers

By Anni K

When you work in a restaurant, you get two types of customers: those who fearlessly send back their food when the slightest issue arises and those who are too anxious to send it back for a plethora of reasons. We personally won’t send food back if there’s only a small mistake.

Some people have to send their food back because of ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction, and that’s one of the only times that folks are 100% valid when requesting a new dish. Still, there is nothing wrong with sending back your food if it is something that you dislike or don’t enjoy.

But there are always some people who will complain about the silliest things ever just for the sake of complaining. While it’s fun to look back at these situations now, we are pretty sure that the servers weren’t too happy when they happened.

Here are the most ridiculous reasons customers sent food back, according to the servers themselves.

Microwaved food

We go to restaurants to skip pre-made meals. If there’s a chef on duty, then it must mean that the food will be freshly made after we place our orders. For some reason, a woman visited a restaurant and sent her salmon dish back because it tasted like it had been microwaved.

Source: hogarmania

As you probably know, restaurant staff usually works for many hours a week, and this lady’s criticism was the last straw for the chef. He invited her into the kitchen and not-so-politely yelled at her. He told her to show him this alleged microwave, but it turned out that the restaurant didn’t even have one.

But That’s What You Ordered?

Working with customer service has got to be one of the hardest things out there. That’s because some people are totally unhinged and will complain about the things that they asked for. Want an example? Well, this lady ordered a tuna salad sandwich and then complained about the taste.

Source: The English Kitchen

According to the woman, the taste of tune in her tuna sandwich was just too strong, and she didn’t like tuna at all. We can totally see why the server would feel confused upon hearing that. Nonetheless, they took the sandwich back to the kitchen and tried to fix it.

No Taste 

There is nothing quite as embarrassing as complaining about something in a public space and then finding out that you are the problem. In this situation, a customer sent their meal back because, according to the person, it had no taste at all.

Source: Farknot Architect / shutterstock 

While sometimes the restaurant is to blame for a bland meal, that wasn’t the case here. Actually, the customer had Covid and was unaware of it. As we all know, this virus pretty much removes people’s ability to taste things. We bet this customer felt really embarrassed after.

It’s About The Weight, Not The Quantity

We all work pretty hard for the money that we have. As such, it’s no wonder that some people will make sure that they are getting the best out of their money. However, we have to admit that these people will do embarrassing things sometimes, like counting every French fry on their plate.

Source: Flex Mussels

This person ordered a plate of fries and mussels, and before they started eating, they decided to count each fry and each mussel – even after the server explained that they served the dishes based on weight, not quantity. They returned the food claiming that they received less than they had paid for.

Plant-Based Meat 

When you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, your options when it comes to eating out are drastically reduced. Even if an increasing number of restaurants are now serving plant-based options, it’s still a small number compared to how many eateries there are out there.


This woman stopped by a restaurant and ordered a plant-based burger. The restaurant advertised their plant-based “meat” as tasting like real meat. Still, the woman complained that it tasted like meat and returned the burger. The server was flabbergasted by her reasoning, and we don’t blame them.

Hotter, Please!

If you think that some of the reasons so far were really absurd, wait until you hear why this woman returned her food. She ordered tea at a restaurant but thought that the water wasn’t hot enough. The server happily brought her boiling water.

Source: municoffee / Instagram

However, the woman still wasn’t happy with the boiling water and said that it wasn’t hot enough. She blamed it on the server, but there was nothing the waitress could do about it. If you heat water past the point of boiling, it will literally evaporate, so what did this lady want?

But Vanilla Is White!

When you order something in a restaurant, and the server brings you the wrong order, you are totally right to send the food back and request that they give you the correct order. However, you will be in the wrong if you ask for something and then complain that it wasn’t what you expected.

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A woman stopped by a café and ordered an iced vanilla coffee. The server made her drink exactly as the woman had ordered it, but the woman complained that her order was wrong. According to the lady, her coffee was light brown, and she didn’t want it. She clearly forgot that vanilla is white.

No Happy Face

It’s not easy to spend 8+ hours a day being polite to customers, but some people try their best to always look approachable. If you’re a server and you don’t look happy in your job or are less than polite to customers, they will certainly complain.

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However, it seems like the opposite is also true. A customer asked to send the food back and get a refund because, according to them, the server was way too happy at two in the morning. This is a ridiculous reason to return food and just proves that some people hate to see others happy.

Blame It On Genetics

Remember that person who wasn’t aware that they had Covid and ended up returning their food because, apparently, it had no taste at all? Well, this is another situation in which someone returned their meal because of the taste when actually there was something wrong with them.

Source: thekerripaul / Instagram

A woman complained that her food tasted like soap and returned it. When her new meal arrived, it still tasted like soap. As it turns out, she happened to be one of those people whose genetic traits make them think that cilantro and soap have the same taste!

Wrong Restaurant

Ordering food online is a blessing. After a long day at work, you can just chill in your home and wait for your dinner to be delivered to your doorstep. However, some people are really unlucky and end up receiving different orders, or their order is already cold by the time it arrives.

Source: Rawpixel.com / shutterstock

A person ordered clam chowder, but their order was cold. They called up the restaurant and demanded that they should send their meal again. The only problem was that they called the wrong restaurant and rudely complained to them when the restaurant didn’t even serve clam chowder!

Chicken Wings

Sometimes, we read about some complaints, and we can’t believe that they’re real. We would rather believe that some people complain about absurd things in an attempt to be funny. But there are times when it’s hard to tell if they’re joking or being real. This is one of those times.

Source: darthefoodguru / Instagram

This person ordered chicken wings, but then they complained about the most absurd thing ever. According to the server, the customers asked to send their food back because it tasted a lot like chicken. The server couldn’t tell if they were joking but returned the dish anyway.

Oven Taste

If you appreciate eating fresh food and you love bread, you know that there is nothing quite as tasty as eating freshly-baked bread. When it’s served hot, you can literally feel it melting in your mouth! However, some people don’t know how the bread-making process works, apparently.

Source: Hot Rocks Oven

One customer stopped by a bakery and bought freshly-baked bread. Upon taking a bite of the bread, the person returned to the server and requested a refund. The reason? Their bread tasted like an oven! Well, that’s not unusual, considering bread is made in the oven. But what does an oven even taste like, anyway?

Bland Food All The Way!

No matter your cultural background, most people like it when their food has a nice taste. What is the point of ordering bland food? However, as surprising as it may be, some people think differently. For these people, flavorful food is not pleasant.

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According to one server, a customer came into the café and ordered Benedict eggs with a side of hollandaise sauce. Surprisingly, the customer asked to return their meal and get a new dish because the food was too flavorful. Like, who complains about their food not being bland?

Smaller Portions

Fancy restaurants tend to serve very small portions of food. It’s pretty astounding how people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on meals that don’t look fulfilling at all. But there are times when the restaurants end up serving portions that are a little bit larger than usual.

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We’ve seen people complaining about receiving too little food, but this might be the first time we hear about the opposite happening. This guy ordered potatoes and noticed that his portion was larger than other people’s. Instead of being happy, he complained about it and returned his food!

Flip Trick

If servers and chefs had to cater to every single customer’s absurd requests, they wouldn’t have the time or materials to do anything else. Sometimes, they have to come up with slick tricks to make customers think that they’re getting the upper hand.

Source: Huckleberry Press

A customer ordered a bowl of pasta and then told the servers that it didn’t taste right. The server returned the dish and told the chef about the complaint. The chef simply stirred the pasta, and the server took it back to the customer. After that, the customer said it tasted perfect!


If you’re like most people, you probably don’t expect salads to be warm. When you order a Caesar salad, especially, you can’t possibly expect it to be anything other than cold! Well, regular people wouldn’t expect that, but this woman is not regular.

Source: lowinecafe / Instagram

A server told the story of the day he served a Caesar salad, and the customer asked to return it because it wasn’t warm. He took it back to the kitchen, heated the salad in the microwave, and served it back to her. After that, the woman was incredibly happy!

Perfect Pizza

We honestly don’t understand what’s up with people who order things and then return said things because they have specific ingredients in them. Remember the lady who returned a tuna sandwich because it tasted like tuna? At this pizzeria, someone returned a chili pizza because it had chili!

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In another instance at the same pizza place, a guy ordered BBQ pizza, which had onion jam, and then returned it because he was highly allergic to onions. If anything had happened to the man, the restaurant would’ve gotten the blame – even if the guy was the one who didn’t read things through.

Not My Hair

One of the most disgusting things that can happen when you’re eating out is finding something weird on your plate. Some people have found insects or even cockroaches in their meals, but the most common find is a strand of hair.

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A woman returned her meal at a restaurant because it had a strand of long black hair in it. However, the cook was bald, the server was blonde, and the manager was a redhead. But do you know who had long black hair? The woman who complained about the hair!

Vegan Food 

As we said before, finding good restaurants that sell quality vegan food is not exactly an easy task. Even if some restaurants claim that they’re vegan-friendly, they usually don’t have half as many vegan options as they do non-vegan options.

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A woman ordered a vegan meal at a restaurant and sent it back to the kitchen because it tasted too good. In her mind, vegan food should be “tasteless,” so the food she received must have had non-vegan ingredients, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Old Nachos

When you order food online, and you see that there is something unusual with the order, you should probably return it to the restaurant immediately. In case you didn’t think the food tasted good, give the restaurant a call and let them know right after you’re done eating.

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Don’t be like the woman who didn’t enjoy the nachos she ordered and waited an entire week to return them. The restaurant obviously didn’t want to accept the food back and refund her, but that didn’t stop her from complaining and making a scene.

Carrot Catastrophe

Some foods are quite unique, but just because we’ve never seen or tasted them before doesn’t mean that they are not good. Before you order something at a restaurant, you should probably make sure that you know the ingredients beforehand.

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A woman ordered a side dish of multi-colored carrots and thought it was weird that some carrots were purple. She didn’t touch them before asking to return the food, claiming that her carrots were burned. The woman didn’t even want to believe the chef when he told her that was how the carrots normally looked.

Salmon Is A Type Of Fish

If you don’t like pasta, you don’t go to a pasta restaurant. If you don’t eat meat, you don’t go to a steakhouse. It’s that simple to avoid eating things you don’t enjoy. But it’s pretty obvious that some people have missed that memo, like the woman we’ll talk about now.

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The woman and her date went to a seafood restaurant, and she ordered salmon from the lunch menu. When her food arrived, the woman asked to return the meal because it had fish in it. This story is quite confusing; if you don’t like fish, why order salmon for lunch?

Rare Steak 

You don’t have to be a meat lover to know that one can order meat at different cooking points. While some people prefer to have their meat well done, there are some who like their meat rare. When you order rare steak, you must be prepared to see a completely red center.

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Well, you should be prepared, but not everyone is. At this steakhouse, a customer ordered a rare steak and then complained that it felt cold. Well, if you want to eat warm food, you should ask for a done or well-done steak, shouldn’t you?

Onion Soup

It seems like one of the most common mistakes in restaurants is when customers order a specific dish that contains specific ingredients and then complain about not liking said ingredients. Remember the person who ordered a salmon meal but then said they couldn’t eat salmon?

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According to one server, one of their customers ordered an onion soup. When the soup was ready, the server took it to the person’s table and was shocked to hear the customer saying they couldn’t eat the soup because there was too much onion in it.

No Tomato

In another case of people ordering meals without liking the ingredients, a server had to hear from a customer that their heirloom tomato salad had too much tomato and that she didn’t want it. Isn’t it pretty weird that some people do this kind of stuff?

Source: Simply Scratch

If you aren’t into the taste of tomato, then why do you order a tomato salad? Even worst, why order an heirloom tomato salad where you will get a lot of different types of tomatoes? Maybe stick to a Greek or Italian salad next time.

Greens, Please

Lots of people actually love eating salad, even if they are not on a diet. For these people, salad can even be considered a snack! And you don’t even have to like salad to know that most, if not all, salads have lettuce in them.

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A server described an episode where a customer ordered a Hearts of Romaine salad and then asked to send it back to the kitchen. According to the person, the salad did not have any lettuce. The thing is: Romaine is literally a type of lettuce!

Too Cheesy

In case you don’t speak Spanish, the word “quesadilla” is derived from the word “queso,” which means cheese. If you go to a Mexican restaurant and order a quesadilla, you must be prepared to eat a lot of cheese because that’s literally the primary ingredient.

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In this situation, one of the managers stopped by the restaurant during their day off and ordered a quesadilla. Not long after, they asked to return the food because it had too much cheese. The worst part about this story is that this customer is part of management!

Slow Down

When we go to restaurants, one of the things to keep in mind is that most of the time, the food won’t be ready in record time. That’s actually a good sign, as it means that your meal is really freshly made. But there are a few times when the food comes out pretty fast.

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One server will never forget the day that a customer ordered his meal and then complained that it came out too fast. Apparently, the guy wanted to drink some wine first – but forgot to order it as he waited for his dinner.

Again, Please!

When you find a new restaurant that makes their food exactly as you like it, you will certainly come back regularly. While some folks like to try different dishes every time they stop by a restaurant, there are some people who prefer to order the same thing every single time.

A woman once sent back her seared tuna because it tasted like….tuna. She ordered the exact same thing every day. So you order the same exact thing daily, at the same restaurant, and you’re aware it is tuna but you still complain?

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According to one server, one of the restaurant’s regular customers loved eating a tuna dish. She ordered the same thing almost every day and loved it every time. But then, one beautiful day, the woman asked to return her dish because it tasted like tuna. Please, make it make sense!

Never Enough

If you work in restaurants, you know how much energy it takes to not be rude to customers, even if they deserve it. When a person orders a dish that contains one primary ingredient and then complains about the said ingredient, the servers must feel really frustrated.

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Unfortunately, some servers have to deal with that more often than others. According to this one waitress, she has had customers complaining about chicken in chicken sandwiches and cheese in mac ‘n cheese. One of her latest experiences involved a customer complaining that her Scotch egg was too runny!

Just Wait

As a customer, you probably know that there are some things you can do on your own to fix any issues you may be having with your food. For instance, if it’s too bland, you can use the salt shaker to add some flavor to your food.

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According to one server, a customer once complained that her food was too hot. Instead of waiting for the meal to cool down, she sent her food back and complained to the manager. Back in the kitchen, the cook simply put her plate by the window and waited until it cooled down. Problem solved.

Just Swap

When dealing with people, the key to maintaining your sanity is to simply accept the fact that some people feel like the entire world owes them something. Instead of finding solutions, these people would much rather cause a scene just to have their way.

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One server had to deal with such people. A woman stopped by an ice cream shop and bought herself some ice cream. A few minutes later, she approached the server to complain about her ice cream. Apparently, she thought that the ice cream was frozen. But isn’t that how ice cream is supposed to be?

Too Big

Remember that one guy who complained about having too much food on his plate? While you might have thought that this was a rare occurrence, it’s actually more common than we realized. Instead of feeling blessed, some people feel attacked if they receive more food than expected.

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In one crazy episode, a customer asked the server to take their food back to the kitchen. They thought that their portion was too big and would like to get a smaller piece of salmon. On top of that, they asked the cook to redo their dish while cooking the smaller fish.


If you are a vegan, surely you must do some research to understand basic dishes and what they are made of before you order them. Even if you don’t do this, you probably read the menu carefully to confirm if the ingredients are indeed vegan.

Source: pinchandswirl.com

This one vegan customer ordered a frittata even though the menu made it quite clear that the dish contained non-vegan ingredients. Instead of admitting their own error, the person rudely complained to the server and asked to send the food back.

This Is Fresh Oil

If you order food and you notice that it tastes slightly unusual, you have all the right in the world to send your food back and request a new dish. However, you should insist on this after being told (and shown) that there is nothing wrong in the kitchen.

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One customer ordered fries and asked to send them back because they tasted fishy. Indeed, if the restaurant uses old oil, the fries will certainly taste weird. But in this case, the kitchen staff had replaced the oil that morning, so there was no way the oil was to blame.

What Do You Want?

Suppose that you are at a restaurant. You take the menu, and you read it carefully. You’re feeling like eating a burger, so you order the medium rare burger because that is the meat cooking point you prefer. This doesn’t seem too hard, does it?

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Apparently, some people have a really hard time with that. One server had to deal with two customers that ordered medium rare burgers and then complained that the meat was literally medium rare. If they didn’t like their meat like that, why order this burger then?

Chewy Cheese

In some countries, people tend to eat processed foods quite often, while they are not as popular in other countries. After going a very long time without eating real food, it’s not surprising that some people can’t even tell things apart anymore.

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According to one server, he once had a customer who ordered mozzarella pizza at an authentic Italian pizza joint. When the pizza was ready, the person asked to send it back because the cheese was too chewy. However, that’s simply the texture of real mozzarella cheese!

No Pesto

After reading about some of the situations in this list, we can almost affirm that some people either don’t know how to read properly or are simply too lazy to do so. How else can you explain the fact people order things and then return them because they don’t like certain ingredients?

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Here’s yet another example of such an occurrence. A guy ordered a chicken pesto pie but asked to return it shortly after taking the first bite. He told the server that he wanted to get another dish because he didn’t like pesto.

Quick Work

When you got a restaurant on a busy night, the last thing you should expect is for your food to come out fast. As such, we don’t find it too surprising that some people get suspicious when their order arrives in record time.

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According to one server, she once served a table that got really suspicious after ordering wings and nachos. They wanted to send their food back because they thought that it arrived too fast and maybe it was old food. Pretty crazy, right?

Mahi Mishap

If you are allergic to certain ingredients, you do your best to avoid them. In all restaurants, you can ask the server to list all the ingredients of their dishes as a way of preventing any allergic reactions. But sometimes, you don’t need all that.

Source: The Kitchn

If you take a minute to read the menu, you will see all the ingredients. This woman decided to order Mahi Mahi even after the server told her it had fish. When the food arrived, she asked to send it back because she was allergic to fish. It doesn’t make sense at all!

Check Your Price

Once upon a time, the only way of knowing the prices of certain restaurants was to visit said restaurants. These days, you can literally read the menu online before you go to the restaurant, so there are no excuses for what this woman did.

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Apparently, the lady didn’t check the online menu before going to the restaurant and didn’t read the menu even when she was at the restaurant. She ordered a filet mignon dish and then asked to send it back because she didn’t know it was so expensive.

Hold The Jalapenos

Remember the lady who asked to return her romaine salad because it didn’t have lettuce in it? Well, this next situation is the opposite. A guy ordered a certain meal and requested that a certain ingredient should be removed completely.

Source: muff_puffer / reddit 

When the server brought his food, the guy asked to send it back because they hadn’t catered to his request. He didn’t want to eat jalapenos, but his dish was full of them. The truth is that the cook removed all jalapenos but left all the okra, and the guy ended up mistaking the vegetables.

Spicy Alfredo

Every person feels things differently. We’re all different and have different tastes, so it’s not surprising that you may enjoy some foods that we don’t. You may eat a certain ingredient and think it tastes a certain way, while we think it tastes a completely different way.

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But one thing is certain: most people will agree that Fettuccine Alfredo doesn’t taste spicy at all. According to one server, one of their customers sent back their fettuccine Alfredo because it was too spicy for them. But if you check the list of ingredients, you’ll see that this dish has no spice at all!

Prime Rib

If you know anything about food, you know that you can’t expect a rare steak to be piping hot. But if this article has taught us anything, it’s that lots of people aren’t aware of that or simply ignore the laws of physics and chemistry.

Source: bakeitwithlove.com

A server had to deal with a very rude woman who demanded to get a new dish after she noticed that her rare steak was not scorching hot. They tried to explain to the woman that such a thing was impossible, but she wasn’t having it at all.

Potato Starch

To finish this list with a great entry, let us tell you about the episode that a customer asked to send their baked potato back to the kitchen. According to the person, the potato was way too starchy, which is actually a pretty common thing.

Source: Jessica Gavin

This is yet another example of a person who orders food without doing proper research on the dish beforehand. After reading this article, it’s pretty obvious that the key to not embarrassing yourself at a restaurant is to read things through!