Weight Loss Support - Restaurant Accommodations




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Jelma
06-24-2011, 11:39 AM
Perhaps this should be in the Food section but it is usually so slow in there I figure I would get more replies here.

Do you ask restaurants to cook your food special - no butter or oil? steamed instead of fried? etc. Are they usually pretty good about it?

The most I have ever asked is dressing on side or to leave something off. I usually leave the prep method alone probably I am a wuss and feel like I am bothering them...


mzKiki
06-24-2011, 11:55 AM
I used to feel the same way, but I just ask now and usually the server doesn't miss a beat. I ordered "special" the last time I went out and the server said "you just ordered the same exact thing as my other table!" so they're used to it.

Snaplet
06-24-2011, 12:12 PM
Most restaurants have at least a couple of healthy choices on the menu. Fish or chicken grilled or broiled and steamed fresh veggies. Some even have extensive low fat and vegetarian selections. I go out every Thursday with my girlfriends and we try different restaurants. So far all of them have had menus online and I can look them over and decide ahead of time what I will order. Also if you have a special request, most servers and kitchens will be as accommodating as they can be, but understand that in high volume eateries they have things pre-made and don't have as much flexibility to make changes. Don't be shy. Ask politely for what you want and I bet you'll get what you ask for :-D Guaranteed you won't get it if you don't ask.


Jelma
06-24-2011, 12:23 PM
So far all of them have had menus online and I can look them over and decide ahead of time what I will order.

I do this most of the time when I know where I am going for the nutritional info, I have even emailed a couple of chain places that didn't have it listed on their website and had them send me a copy. It definitely makes it easier to decide once I get there!

April Snow
06-24-2011, 12:32 PM
I ordered "special" the last time I went out and the server said "you just ordered the same exact thing as my other table!" so they're used to it.

ha, that's funny!


I special order stuff all the time because I'm a picky eater and there are usually some ingredients I don't like. So I also order no butter, sauce on the side, etc. and it's not usually a problem. Sometimes, things are pre-made and they cannot take out ingredients, so I try to have a back up thing to order, just in case.

I tip a little more because it's a little more effort on the waiter's part to make sure the kitchen gets it right.

lin43
06-24-2011, 01:05 PM
I usually don't because I don't want to be perceived as a pain in the rear and have the waiter or chef or other kitchen staff spit in my food. I don't frequent chain restaurants, so I always have to estimate my calories anyway. Here are some tips I use when I eat out:

1) I eat half the portion and take the other half home for my dogs. That way, I can still enjoy the meal as it is supposed to taste and not do too much damage to my diet.

2) I usually won't order uber-calories dishes (e.g., lobster bisque), but I do take a taste or two of my husband's, and that's usually enough to satisfy the immediate urge.

3) I share a dessert. Or, if the dessert sounds good but not great, I'll just skip it.

4) I always try to start with salads. I love a good salad, but I HATE making them at home, so it's a treat to get them when I go out. Eating that and the fact that the courses are paced makes it easy for me to be full / satisfied enough to just eat half an entree.

ERHR
06-24-2011, 01:33 PM
I don't think I've ever asked for a dish to be altered, but I have stopped patronizing restaurants that don't offer nutritional information. Unfortunately where I live it's pretty rare that they have that information available (even when I call), especially for non-national chains.

JenMusic
06-24-2011, 01:35 PM
I special order all the time, making sure I'm smiling and friendly. I think a smile and a "thank you" can get you pretty far. :) I've never had any server give me attitude or difficulty, or even seem surprised. I think so many people are watching what they eat now, it's common to have special orders.

That being said, I hardly ever go to more swanky, upscale places, and if I did I don't think I would try to special order. Those are generally places where the food is created by the chef as a whole "unit" and I would want to enjoy it that way. Also, those are such rare treats that I wouldn't worry about making that particular meal low calorie.

sacha
06-24-2011, 01:51 PM
I worked in restaurants for years. Nobody minded special requests. I ask for alterations all the time.

alaskanlaughter
06-24-2011, 02:08 PM
i asked for accommodations once when we went to a restaurant....i asked for veggies instead of fries, because i knew they had them...and the waiter looked at me like i'd grown a second head and flat out said they couldn't do that...so i had to get my order regularly...i refused to eat the fries, i took the bread off my philly cheese sandwich...and basically paid their price to have a few bites of cheesy meat and peppers :(

on the other hand, i remind myself alot that going out to eat with DH is a treat....in that we are away from the kids, time to ourselves, don't have to rush back...we usually go for a stroll downtown after eating...etc...so it's not so much the food that counts, as the time spent alone with him :)

bargoo
06-24-2011, 02:31 PM
Of course you can, they want your business. I went out to lunch with my family yesterday, My DIL cannot eat wheat, she asked waitress for suggestions,the waitress didn't bat an eyelash and made the right suggestions. I often go out for breakfast with friends, as am example an omelette will come with toast and hash browns. I ask for no toast and fruit instead of hashbrowns I haven't been refused yet.

tuende
06-24-2011, 03:31 PM
GFI (go for it)!!! I ask for modifications pretty much every time I go out to eat. I used to be scared about it, but started doing it when I'd go visit my sister who is a server at Red Robin (or what she calls The Dirty Bird). Once I figured out that I could eat healthy at The Dirty Bird, I realized I could do it most places. Sure, my sister called my meal "rabbit food" (what a kidder), but they can really do a lot to customize things for you.

bargoo
06-24-2011, 04:06 PM
I was at Red Robin yesterday. Thanks tuende for calling it "The Dirty Bird". I will probably never eat there again after hearing that.

Jelma
06-24-2011, 04:56 PM
I don't have a problem with substituting or asking for none of something it is more the preparation style - like steaming instead of frying. I guess it really depends on the place- if it is a nicer place with an actually chef and a unified dish like JenMusic pointed out, or a chain restaraunt that it is already assembled with the butter/oil/etc included. But from now I will definitely ask!


alaskanlaughter - how rude of the waiter! I hope you guys haven't gone back or at least didn't have to deal with the particular waiter again!

mzKiki
06-24-2011, 04:57 PM
Of course you can, they want your business. I went out to lunch with my family yesterday, My DIL cannot eat wheat, she asked waitress for suggestions,the waitress didn't bat an eyelash and made the right suggestions. I often go out for breakfast with friends, as am example an omelette will come with toast and hash browns. I ask for no toast and fruit instead of hashbrowns I haven't been refused yet.

WHAT A GREAT IDEA!? I usually just let them bring the hashbrowns and try my best to ignore them.I'll ask for fruit. Blows my mind why make an eggwhite omelet and serve it with a ton of potatoes.

lin43
06-24-2011, 05:10 PM
i asked for accommodations once when we went to a restaurant....i asked for veggies instead of fries, because i knew they had them...and the waiter looked at me like i'd grown a second head and flat out said they couldn't do that

Now that is ridiculous! I misunderstood the OP. I was assuming she was referring to asking restaurants to actually cook the meal differently. But to simply ask for a change of a side dish is something I regularly do and I think ANY restaurant worth its salt should accommodate such requests. That waiter had some nerve, and I would definitely have shown my displeasure in the tip.

I was out for breakfast the other day and ordered an omlette. I told the waitress to just hold the homefries, and she offered to replace them with a fruit cup. Now that's service!

pointspluspioneer
06-24-2011, 05:11 PM
I can't remember a time i went out and DIDN'T alter my meal!!! This is my typical sat night out, if i order a salad, it has to be altered to have cheese and dressing on the side, no matter what salad, it has to have romaine lettuce, chicken well done and so on! My bf looks at me in horror! I alter everything i order lol, they don't mind and if they do.."too bad" is what my ww leader says!! We are paying for it so it should come as we would like to eat it!!

Mary79
06-24-2011, 08:26 PM
I did a lot of waitressing years ago. The biggest pet peeve that I had was the amount of food that went to waste. I would have so much rather given the customers what they wanted to eat! I agree a difference in prep methods may be too much for some places, but if they won't substitute or give you attitude, I'd go somewhere else.

jillianfan
06-24-2011, 08:30 PM
Te he...this reminds me of an incident I had in a Chinese restaurant in a small town. I ordered the lemon shrimp, but I asked for the sauce on the side. The waitress argued with me and argued with me about this. She said that nobody orders the sauce on the side, just me. I kept telling her I didn't care what other people did, I wanted the sauce on the side. She kept telling me that I was the only one who ever asked for that. And around it went. I finally just put my foot down and said put the sauce on the side or else. Or else what, I don't know, because this was the only Chinese restaurant around and I wonder if the entire staff had the same attitude.

The sauce came out, on the side, but it should never have been that difficult. All her stubbornness did was make me feel embarrassed in front of my dining companion. Not sure what the big deal was there, but I tell the story because I wonder if there are many restaurants that are reluctant to accommodate us.

sacha
06-24-2011, 09:35 PM
Te he...this reminds me of an incident I had in a Chinese restaurant in a small town. I ordered the lemon shrimp, but I asked for the sauce on the side. The waitress argued with me and argued with me about this. She said that nobody orders the sauce on the side, just me. I kept telling her I didn't care what other people did, I wanted the sauce on the side. She kept telling me that I was the only one who ever asked for that. And around it went. I finally just put my foot down and said put the sauce on the side or else. Or else what, I don't know, because this was the only Chinese restaurant around and I wonder if the entire staff had the same attitude.

The sauce came out, on the side, but it should never have been that difficult. All her stubbornness did was make me feel embarrassed in front of my dining companion. Not sure what the big deal was there, but I tell the story because I wonder if there are many restaurants that are reluctant to accommodate us.

This may be a cultural issue rather than anything else. If she was really Chinese, I am not surprised, because it's just so unusual to do that. I used to work in a Chinese restaurant and while they are generally very keen to keep the customer happy, the idea of "different" orders are somewhat unheard of (ie. sauce on the side - no sauce - and especially vegan/vegetarian substitutions for many, as fish flakes/shrimp may not be 'vegetarian').

Lovely
06-24-2011, 09:40 PM
People probably hate me when I walk into a restaurant.

I'm not ashamed to be a little picky.

First I'll choose what I want from the menu, and FREQUENTLY ask if I can "have that without butter, steam the veggies, dressing on the side, no cheese sprinkled, and with this substituted".

But! It's all about how you ask. "May I please have it <done like this>?" Server usually replies "Sure" and then I say "Thank you so much! I appreciate it."

juliana77
06-24-2011, 10:20 PM
Definitely. I almost always ask to replace potatoes etc with steamed vegetables with no oil or butter, salads always with no croutons and the dressing and cheese on the side, and if I can't find anything on the menu that fits my needs, I will usually ask for a plain house salad with a grilled chicken breast on top.

That said, I went to a swanky chef place for lunch today, and didn't make any special requests, and enjoyed every bite (and ate like a bird the rest of the day to make up for the 1000 cal lunch lol)

chickadee32
06-24-2011, 11:29 PM
I usually don't ask to alter the prep method and just order carefully instead (I go for the fish, seafood, chicken, salad or a broth-based soup), but I routinely ask for items to be left off, put on the side, or for different side dishes (veg or fruit) rather than the standard. I also don't hesitate to ask for the full nutritional info for the menu at any restaurant that I suspect might have it (most chains do have something available). Most servers and kitchens have been very accomodating, and I tip very well. :)