Just Comp The Damn Thing!

The other night another first happened to me and I doubt if many have you have seen this one before.

I had this couple come in and they were indeed quite pleasant. The guy had explained he was in a ditch working all day and he quaffed down a couple of Stella real fast while his wife was having a Pinot Grigio glass of wine.

Anyway it comes time to order and they share a Scallops and Bacon appetizer and then they get their main course. She had ordered the Prime Rib and garlic mash potatoes. I do the quality check and everything is fine so I go to the back to do some closing duties when the bus girl comes to me and says my table wants to see me.

I go over there wondering what it could be. The lady says look at this and she shows me what she found in her mouth while taking a mouthful of garlic mashed potatoes.

It was a bloody two inch box staple that she had in her mouth!!!!

I am looking in astonishment at this and I was speechless. Never have I seen anything so huge found on a plate of food. She mentions that she had some dental work done too just the other day and it was like how did this staple get into the garlic mash.

I get the supervisor to go over and she comes back and says that she is taking it well and laughing , mentioning that this restaurant is her favourite and that it is their anniversary as well to boot.

She says she has reordered the Prime Rib only this time with a Caesar Salad instead of the Garlic Mash that incidentally was cold which she did not mention to me at the time of the quality check.

The supervisor says that she is comping both their meals and a round of drinks which left 2 Stella and the appetizer totally $24.83. I go why not comp the whole thing? She says no I think that is fair enough.

I go to the table afterwards and she is asking me how it is possible that this box staple got in her mash potatoes. Do we order our mash from outside? She is questioning me on this and I am saying I am not sure I am not around when the prep is done trying to avoid getting into unknown territory. Playing it cautious so to speak.

She gets the meal and he has already finished his and I notice the aura around the table getting subdued. She is obviously quite shocked at almost swallowing a bloody staple!

I go to the supervisor and say listen you gotta comp the whole thing cause they will email the company if they have to pay at all for anything. She says no they won’t. I say you better and who would know better but me who has been to their table a few times now noticing the mood change.

Finally she did comp the whole thing but added at the end that she charmed them at the table and that I shouldn’t need to worry. They seemed very nice.

Oh indeed they were very nice but let me tell you something I said to her , they are nice to your face then after paying $24.83 they will drive home and start talking about why the hell did we have to pay anything? Then they will talk to a friend and tell them what happened and they will say you should write to the company and complain as to why you should have paid anything and also find out how the hell did a box staple end up in your food!

Them being nice would say yeah you are right maybe we should write. That was a scary incident. For $24.83 you are going to charge I said to her when we have comped entire meals for far less worse incidents than that. Believe me I told her she would have written in.

When I presented the $0 amount of bill to her I said I am sorry what happened but we took care of everything and hope to see you again.

This is what she replied , Thank you for that and thank management as well for us!

My summation on this is if we had been petty and charged her for anything after finding that in her potatoes we would have got an email. But on my insistence we probably avoided a big complaint.

You know there is a time to comp the entire meal and this is one time when doing so was the only rout to go. What an embarrassment!

What do you think?


  1. Agreed…comp the whole thing.Alot of times my managers comp crap because stupid people complain to try an get something free…this is a legit restaurant screw-up, and I think you owed it to her…Good job on pushing the issue.

  2. I think you did the right thing – considering also that they were guests who didn't come for the first time as you mentioned in your blog.

  3. Claudia…I think so too. Thank you for your comment.

  4. G.H….for sure this was a no brainer. I am with you all the way.

  5. Wow, that could have been very serious!! In addition, is it possible you could have had the chef come out and explain to them where he gets his potatoes and how they are prepared in the kitchen? I can't for the life of me figure out how that staple could have gone through it's processes unnoticed. You bet they would have bitched if that meal hadn't been comped and rightly so. I know I would have, especially as I am one who doesn't complain unless service is extremely poor. You were a good advocate for your customers. We as servers/bartenders need to be for the safety of our people. Really, their health is in our hands.

  6. Chris..that could have been a serious one for sure.

  7. Bravo for the lady reordering – I would've been so icked out I would've left and I wouldn't have paid – a BLOODY staple? Just no.And good for you for pushing for a complete comp. Your boss was wrong, wrong, wrong.My only guess in the potato process is that large sacks of potatoes sometimes come stapled shut at the top and perhaps it fell in when they were opening the bag/preparing it…but bloody? ick.

  8. SkippyMom…yes she was pretty good about it. She could have went a little nuts over that.

  9. Totally deserved a full comp. And thankfully, she was understanding about the whole thing.

  10. By the way, would you mind relinking my blog to yours? I changed my url. I really appreciate it.

  11. the bitchy waiter..I think I got your link good now.

  12. I've seen staples in food. and glass shards. The staple was from the food packaging…something had been stapled. The shards….well…when something goes crash and smash in the kitchen…stuff flies everywhere. We are supposed to remove all food from the line. I totally agree with what you wanted to do. Comp the entire thing, apologize profusely.

  13. Sous Gal…things happen I know and the only thing we can do is exactly what you said.

  14. You did the right thing. A loyal customer or not, you should comp the bill. The whole evening for them was a let down in the end. So to have paid anything would have spelt disaster for you and the chef. The potatoes would have been peeled and boiled then mashed tasted and stored or served. I bet something was opened near by and in it flew. It can happen, we all know it shouldn't but it does. I have seen plastic shards from containers, metal wire from cleaning scrubbers, stones on salad and spinach, wood from wooden spoons, they are a few to mention. That might actually be a good post.

  15. Chef's Kitchen Rant…that would be a great post about all the stuff you have seen in food. I know accidents do happen. That staple was not intentional that is for sure.

  16. Chef's Kitchen Rant…that would be a great post about all the stuff you have seen in food. I know accidents do happen. That staple was not intentional that is for sure.

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