My Craziest Customer Complaint

Here’s a doozie.

Last Sunday night, a family of three came in. They had a Groupon and ordered a pizza with some toppings and fried ravioli. They decided to dine in so someone from my staff brought them the fried ravioli first. The employee returned to the dining area a few minutes later to tend to another customer. After this, I noticed her talking to the family of three. I could tell something was off, but I figured my employee would let me know if she needed me. A few minutes later, a guy from the group of three came up to the side of the counter where the employees enter the back and asked if I was in charge. I replied “sure, what can I do for you.” He then proceeded to tell me that his wife bit into the fried ravioli and…

At this point, I’m thinking something bad, like there was a hair, a bug, or my cook just didn’t cook it and it was still partially frozen. Instead he says “it was extremely hot and the cheese burned her lip.” He goes on to tell me how I should be more careful and let me customers know how hot the food is and that the cheese in the fried ravioli can burn you. I heard him out, apologized that she got burnt, but offered nothing more as I was amazed at the stupidity of the complaint. They continued to be rude to my staff the rest of the night and left a mess with no tip. They took the leftovers home but I’m sure had no intentions of returning unless there was another super discount available.

And that’s not even the end of it!

I got a phone call this morning, caller ID reading Boar’s Head Provisions. I assumed it was the Boar’s Head guy telling me he wouldn’t make it till tomorrow or something of that nature since today is his typical day. Well what do ya know, it was the husband of the wife who burnt her lip on our hot food. He called to ask if we had decided what we would be doing in the future on letting our customers know of how hot the fried ravioli were. The whole conversation was very odd, as he mentioned once that he wasn’t out to get my “insurance money” and that it’s my decision on what to do. I was pretty straight forward with him, told him that I didn’t think it was necessary to mention that food coming out of a fryer was hot, as food coming out of the fryer is expected to be hot. I told him I didn’t plan on treating the situation differently in the future, but I was once again sorry for the unfortunate situation. All in all, an odd conversation that had me feeling like he was recording it, trying to get me to say something wrong, and attempting some sleazy way to try and squeeze some money out of me.

Thoughts? Any fault here on my end that I’m being oblivious too?

I would ask my Boars head rep if he knew anything about the situation. I would probably then explain that I’m not feeling great about my business relationship with Boars Head(it is a reflection of the company when it’s their phone number that comes up). See what happens with that discussion.

If I really felt someone from one of my purveyors was looking to sue me I would drop that purveyor in an instant. Might not be that easy if “Boars Head” is a large part of your marketing though.

I actually did ask the Boar’s Head sales rep when he came in. He says the number is from the corporate office, so probably someone that has no idea we order from them. I should call Boar’s Head Corporate and let them know an employee of theirs is stealing their time making these types of phone calls during business hours, haha.

I would put up a big sign that reads: “Caution, we serve our food hot unless otherwise asked. Eat at your own risk!” :shock:


& yes, Ridiculous if you ask me.

Boy let’s take bets on when the letter from their attorney shows up in your mailbox. I’d suggest documenting everything you’ve written here and putting it in a file for “just in case”. Get the server to write down her/his recollections as well.

This is the process I used after each of our fatalities when I was Fire Chief in our local community. The detailed notes came in very handy more than once when it was required of us to “recollect”, usually months removed from the actual event. A call to your insurance provider may not be out of order here either. They’ll usually have someone from their legal department instruct you to your next move.

This is one of those dammed if you and and dammed if you do not situations as far as your liability insurance…You probably have some sort of reporting clause in your policy that says you need to report as soon as you become aware of something that might be a claim…If you do not, and somewhere down the line it does, your insurer can deny coverage if you did not report it…But if you report something that is not a big deal it goes on your claims history…And if you just have “casual” conversation with your broker, they must report it…Good luck…

It is in incredibly poor taste to use a Groupon or other discount coupon in the store of a business customer. Also to cause a fuss and to leave little or no tip.

If this person does press the case I’d forward the information to your rep at Boars Head. They would not be happy with an employee behaving this way in a customer’s establishment.

If you have a good relationship with your insurance guy, ask him if unfounded complaints would affect your rate. I have had a few attempts at getting money from us over the years and my current comapny (State Farm) told me that as long as the claim is not valid it will not affect my rating.


A couple of thoughts. First I was serious and not joking about my signage above! Second, it sounds like Rick does and I know I do…have a great relationship with State Farm. I know there will be people out there that have had that bad experience, but with past claims and the fact that my rates do not change with said claims…I am more than happy on the personal and business side of things. On that note…being a national company… I once again bring up Co-op buying power now with insurance. Could 50 of the TT’ers get together and buy insurance at a discount? Just a thought. Finally, who hasnt bitten into something hot and burned their mouth on it? Pizza…all the time! You hate it…you complain to everyone at the table about it for grabbing that first hot piece as the pie hits the table… and then with burnt mouth and all you eat more pizza! Since he made such a big deal and told the server, then told you, then called for your game plan to prevent future incidents… CALL YOU AGENT! This has legal action written all over it. That said… think about my sign. For those that ask…it is a little bit of a joke that says your pizza is hot… for those with lawsuits on their minds… its called fair warning that hot food is served here. McDonalds had too put “Coffee is Served Hot and can cause Burns!” signs in all their drive-thrus since idiots spilled hot coffee in their laps so often. I am guessing it cost a lot and took a whole room of lawyers to come up with that little sign…so why cant you use one too! It is all about making the risk known. Big sign with a neon pic of a slice of pizza and steam coming off it! Makes people want it even more! :idea:

The problem with putting up a sign at this point I would think, is that it would seem to indicate that a sign is required to warn people that hot things are hot and therefore imply OP was negligent in not having the sign. (See us owners can spout unqualified uneducatedlegal stuff too). I would not put up a sign while this was going on without first consulting someone that knows the law. Of course I would not put up a sign anyway because I am like that uless I also put one up in the restroom telling others that the water was wet.

You may wish to post a copy of this fine piece of logic from Kipling since as a society we still seem to forget the basic tenents that most animals know.

Wait… what exactly do you mean… water is wet? I am confused! :?

That’s just one of those that isn’t even worth discussing

Well sadly, Rick G has a valid argument here in not placing a sign. I am NO attorney, barely a restauranteur…but in other parts of my life I’ve been involved in cases where we (fire districts, school districts etc.) were told to NOT place a sign alerting others to a known “danger”. Seems doing so actually could serve to ADD liability to one in that they have acknowledged a danger…only in America.

i had the same thing happen to us with a lady and zucchini sticks…utterly ridiculous!

we have always made things right when we screw up, but in instances like this you just do the “I am so sorry” routine and hope you never see these crazies again

kinda like the lady I had who just bought a new white coach handbag who claimed it was ruined because the booth she sat in had oil on it…meanwhile her white pants were fine (that was hard not to laugh at though)

This is EXACTLY the type of customer YOU DON’T WANT OR NEED. And as far as him telling his “friends” about it…do you REALLY think ANYONE who is know this dunce KNOWS what he is all about.

“Yeah, you know what…TOMMOROW, those fried raviolis will be cold…BUT , you’ll STILL be a dumbazz”

Once, a customer ordered a pizza that CLEARLY stated that it had NO MOZZARELLA on it, simply grated cheese. It was a takeout order. We get a call, during the rush, and its him, SCREAMING that his pizza had no cheese on it. After finding out what he ordered, my employee told him that the pizza indeed came without moozarella, and if he would read the menu stapled to the bag, he would see this. BUT, she said, people make mistakes…so, as company policy, we would give his MONEY BACK AND his next pizza is on the house also.

Nice, right. Well, this bozo calls back and, still screaming, whats to talk to the owner. I get filled in by my phone girl, she tells me that he is STILL PIZZED and wants to talk to me (during a SLAMMED DINNER) So, I figure that this gutless worm realized he was wrong, felt foolish and instead of taking our more than generous offer, he wanted to scream at someone so he could feel better. So I get on the phone. After screaming for about 2 minutes, he tell me the “pizza is SUPPOSED to have mooz on it, or else it isn’t a pizza”…all the while Im hearing his wife in the background tellinghim what to say (hence, the gutless part) Well when I heard that idiotic statement, I layed into him. Basically calling him a whipped wussy , a culinary creatin, a gutless worm and Im taking my offer back, to never come in again and if he ever yells at my help again, I would beat him over the head with his own arm.

I treat my customers right. When we make a mistake, we refund the money AND give next meal free. So Im confident in my food and my servers. Im a restaurant guy, NOT a shrink and if this guy needed to EMOTE, he can PAY me 150 bucks for an hour of my time.

In 30 years in the biz, the ONE and ONLY time I EVER screamed back at a customer and told him i don’t want his business. And it felt good, REAL GOOD.

The problem with putting up a sign at this point I would think, is that it would seem to indicate that a sign is required to warn people that hot things are hot and therefore imply OP was negligent in not having the sign. (See us owners can spout unqualified uneducatedlegal stuff too). I would not put up a sign while this was going on without first consulting someone that knows the law

Just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents on a topic about which I am knowledgeable (practiced law for 10 years). Remedial acts are NOT admissible as evidence of negligence. It’s a public policy thing - we don’t want businesses dissuaded from taking steps to prevent other future damage. Any attempt to introduce such a sign as evidence of negligence would be categorically rejected in every Court in the US.