Weight Loss Support - Blank looks from servers




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kk2323
04-30-2013, 02:48 PM
Whenever I go out these days I end up creating my own meal from the ingredients I see listed in the dishes. Sounds simple, right? Lately it's been a lot of: "can I get that with the mixed greens and can you make it into a salad meaning no bun and extra veggies?" or "can I just have a garden salad with grilled chicken on the top and balsamic on the side?" Every single time I get a blank stare from the server. I don't understand why I am not communicating correctly. I would like vegetables and some sort of protein, hold the junk.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you had more luck with communicating in restaurants? Do I need to consider a different way of ordering?

Also, side note, anyone feel like ranting about frustrating menu options? I'm feeling ranty today.


JustB1027
04-30-2013, 03:08 PM
I am frustrated at the lack if available nutrition information .

leighalittletyke
04-30-2013, 03:15 PM
I used to be a server and there would be people who customized their meals quite often. I think it's rude that they give you blank looks like that. I mean, it's their job to know the menu, how things are cooked, and what's in things.

For the servers who don't know how to do their jobs, tough luck. If they don't get your order right, send it back.


Elladorine
04-30-2013, 03:16 PM
I often order the Zesty Roma Chicken & Shrimp at Applebee's, but ask to substitute a small amount of extra chicken for the shrimp. Sometimes they're great at getting it, but they usually give me a double-take like I've asked them for something that simply can't be done. It feels like a protest if they mention it will cost extra, and sometimes they're not even sure if it can be done. :rolleyes: Once the manager came out to confirm that I didn't want the shrimp, and I assured him so and explained I have a seafood allergy. When it appears to be too much trouble for the substitution, I just ask to go without shrimp or extra chicken.

I often do special orders, getting steamed veggies instead of fries, avocado instead of mayonnaise, asking for a garden salad with grilled chicken on the side (which seems less confusing than asking them to put it on the salad, lol), etc. I usually don't have too much trouble, as many places are very accommodating. But there are always confused servers that don't know how to handle items not clearly spelled out on the available menu. :dizzy:

SouthernMaven
04-30-2013, 03:50 PM
I go to the same few restaurants over and over, so they pretty much know what substitutions I like. I've trained them well! :)

I generally don't do a whole lot of substitutions/additions/subtractions and when I do it's more about what I like/don't like to eat as opposed to lowering calories/carbs or other things like that. For example, one particular dish I like comes with blue cheese crumbles AND blue cheese dressing. I ask for them to substitute another dressing and omit the blue cheese crumbles. That's not too hard and even when it's a new server they can usually handle that pretty well.

kk2323, I don't think your changes are at all difficult. Why should they be so perplexed? Perhaps you've just been getting new servers. Who knows?

NemesisClaws
04-30-2013, 03:54 PM
Maybe they're new? Most restaurants do have a high turnover in staff. Plus, try writing down your order and then giving it to them. You'll probably alleviate a lot of frustrations that way.

kk2323
04-30-2013, 04:17 PM
Thanks for your advice everyone! I'm glad that I'm not the only one who custom orders in restaurants. I try to be super nice about it and give a generous tip because I've worked as a waitress before.

SouthernMaven, I think you're right. I might be getting new servers. There was one restaurant where the guy knew exactly what I wanted when I explained it and it came out perfectly.

I guess this leads me to a follow up question: why aren't these things already on the menu? Why can't there be an option to substitute extra chicken instead of shrimp? Why isn't a garden salad with grilled chicken standard? Who created this menu and thought, "well clearly these folks need blue cheese crumbles AND blue cheese salad dressing."

Anyone feel like opening a restaurant with me? Haha...

Skellig19
04-30-2013, 04:32 PM
Gosh, I customize all the time. Most servers are great about it but it definitely comes down to some clear communication! I always make sure to phrase my requests as questions so I'm not "demanding" they change anything.

I pretty much look up the nutritional info of a restaurant and order from that "menu". For instance, IHOP serves chocolate chocolate chip pancakes. The menu only lists them as a full 4 pancakes + whipping cream + powdered sugar. I wanted only 2 pancakes so I gave the other 2 to my husband and asked for a scoop of ice cream instead of the sugar and whipping cream. I didn't know the calorie info on the cream and sugar but I did know the calorie info on the scoop of ice cream so I did it that way. Came to 450 calories and it was a delicious breakfast!

It's tough to be a "special customer" but in the end, it is so important what you're putting into your body, you can't let a server's blank look discourage you. Keep it up. :)

Arctic Mama
04-30-2013, 05:31 PM
I modify every order I have, and haven't ever gotten a blank state. The trick is to clearly give a menu item they have, and make no more than three changes. It is just too hard to keep track of otherwise, as a server.

So for example I am ordering a turkey pesto wrap - I need a side Caesar w/no croutons in place of the fries, and lettuce wrapped sandwich instead of any bun. Tada! No issues. But if I just went in and said I want turkey/bacon/sauce/veggies in a lettuce wrap and a side salad, they'd be highly confused because it would be very difficult to bill! What I heard in your post was the latter - creating menu items is very confusing. So instead begin with a clearly labeled dish from the restaurant and modify, but not too extensively, and you should be okay.

If I misread your post just disregard this, but that was my understanding of your dilemma. Everyone from the nicest restaurant in town to the cashier at Wendy's has been able to modify my orders without issue, but to get it done requires communicating very clearly. There isn't really any place I go except two steak houses that I don't have to modify an order, so I've gotten pretty accustomed to doing it :)

Sum38
04-30-2013, 05:35 PM
My DH says I have made ordering at the restaurants into an art form :)

alaskanlaughter
04-30-2013, 06:44 PM
I went to a local restaurant here once and asked to substitute extra veggies for the mashed potatoes and was told point blank that that wasn't even an option and they couldn't do it...*sigh* I just gave the mashed potatoes to my DH and I don't think I've ordered there again in a very very long time.

Skellig19
04-30-2013, 08:12 PM
I went to a local restaurant here once and asked to substitute extra veggies for the mashed potatoes and was told point blank that that wasn't even an option and they couldn't do it...*sigh* I just gave the mashed potatoes to my DH and I don't think I've ordered there again in a very very long time.

Wow. Way to lose a customer! It just sounds like sheer laziness rather than policy... I always sub mixed veggies for potatoes at restaurants and have always been accomodated. Could be that I live in a very health-concious area so most servers are used to it...

bargoo
04-30-2013, 08:21 PM
I often ask for substitutions and always get what I ask for. No blank stares. Your server does want a tip and the restaurant owner wants to keep your business.

Daki
04-30-2013, 08:32 PM
I change up my order all of the time. It's usually not a problem but sometimes they have to ask me again what I mean. Usually have to say "I just want the meat and cheese with veggies as a side. I don't want a bun, I don't want fries." Then they get it.

I was SO angry one time. It was $2.50 to sub mixed veggies for fries. And the veggies were drenched in oil. They were so gross. And even the amount I was given was ridiculous, probably 50 cents worth of zucchini and two or 3 florets of broccoli and a few strips of bell pepper. UGH. I don't mind being charged extra but in my opinion that's too much extra and sooooo not worth the money. Haven't done that again. Bleh. I just shovel my fries on to someone else's plate.

HungryHungryHippo
05-01-2013, 12:53 AM
I just say, "Can you tell them I am on a diet?" and for whatever reason, that gets the kitchen on your side, and they know what to do.

glitterhairdye
05-01-2013, 01:37 PM
I've been a vegetarian my whole life and I've never liked greasy foods or potatoes, so I've gotten good at making substitutions. I also feel that you're paying for what you order, so they should accommodate you. Arctic Mama has it right though, make sure you go off of a regular menu item as opposed to making up your own thing. Occasionally I'll ask for a special veg meal, but those are only at nicer restaurants where I can expect the chef to use some creativity.

kk2323
05-01-2013, 01:46 PM
Alaskanlaughter, I can't believe that they actually told you that you could not substitute! Like seriously, how hard is it to plop veggies on a plate vs. plopping mashed potatoes?

Daki, I always get so frustrated when the veggies come covered in butter or oil! I wonder why they do that?

HungryHungryHippo, does that actually work? I never considered that!

ichoose2believe
05-01-2013, 01:54 PM
I was SO angry one time. It was $2.50 to sub mixed veggies for fries. And the veggies were drenched in oil. They were so gross. And even the amount I was given was ridiculous, probably 50 cents worth of zucchini and two or 3 florets of broccoli and a few strips of bell pepper. UGH. I don't mind being charged extra but in my opinion that's too much extra and sooooo not worth the money. Haven't done that again. Bleh. I just shovel my fries on to someone else's plate.

This happened to me and PF Changs. I asked for a side of steamed broccoli and it was covered in some sort of oil/butter mix and it was WAY over cooked and they charged me $3.25 for it. It was nothing at all.

amandie
05-01-2013, 02:14 PM
OMG, yes. There are a few restaurants around here like that with the oily/buttery vegetables! Once at this restaurant, I asked if they had any fresh veggies to steam, I got weird looks back along with a "NO" and that their veggies are automatically seasoned with butter and salt. So I just opted for the baked potato without the butter and ironically, they still put the fricking butter in it after I asked them not to.

In restaurants, you do pay more to eat healthier which I think is ridiculous but whatevs.