The consensus among dining experts is that it’s perfectly OK for customers to speak up if they’re dissatisfied with their meal, according to USA Today. But for some people, it can be an awkward experience.
One survey found more than 50% of 18- to 34-year-olds are uncomfortable sending food back if they find an issue.
But one TikToker has urged customers to speak up if they’re dissatisfied with their dining experience. In a TikTok video viewed more than 100,000 times, user Sadie (@sadiepearlrutherford), a server at Olive Garden, recounted an experience where a customer failed to speak up about a mistake she made with an order.
The table she was serving asked for lite Italian dressing, she says, but Sadie mistakenly gave them regular dressing on their salads.
“I didn’t realize it until I was walking away, but once I walked away and started doing other things and was just thinking I’m like ‘Oh my God… I put regular Italian dressing on their salad instead of lite Italian dressing,” Sadie says. “That’s probably why that girl wasn’t eating it.’”
The TikToker explains that working as a server usually means juggling multiple things at once making it easy to forget some customers’ requests.
“As a server, sometimes we get busy, you know what I’m saying,” she says. “Sometimes we forget, we’re human beings. If we don’t write everything down and go check our book every five seconds then we may forget what you asked for.”
Sadie insinuates that the table didn’t tip well because they were likely dissatisfied with their salad.
“I just don’t understand why you would want to be upset and mad your whole entire meal and then not tip well because you didn’t want to speak up,” she says. “Ok yes I forgot, I should’ve remembered, but it happens.”
In her video, Sadie has a simple call to action for viewers.“And this is the crazy part, if we mess up, when we mess up, we are human beings OK? Tell us. Tell us. Say something,” she concludes.
Some commenters admitted to themselves often being the people that don’t speak up.
“I’m the weird person who would still eat it, not say anything, & then still tip good,” one commenter said. “I’m too shy, and go with the flow regardless.”
“I never speak up because I have heard horror stories of people tampering with the food if you say anything lol,” another commenter said.
To which Sadie replied, “I’ve never seen anyone do that — cooks or servers.”
Olive Garden has not returned a request for comment via email. The Daily Dot reached out to Sadie via TikTok comment and Instagram direct message.
Update 12:29pm CT November 25: In an Instagram direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Sadie explained that she created the video to offer a server’s perspective on their own mistakes.
“We would rather guests speak up,” she said. “I understand some people have a hard time with that, so I wanted those people to know that we are NOT upset when you speak up & we are more than happy to help with/fix anything. I was not upset about the tip, rather I felt embarrassed later remembering what I did.”
Sadie also praised her experience working as a server at Olive Garden, especially compared to other restaurants.
“My experience working as a server at Olive Garden has been such a blessing to me,” she said. “The management is incredibly professional, understanding and creates a positive working environment where everyone works as a team.”