Sample letter to complain about a meal at a restaurant

Although most of us have eaten a meal below our expectations, how frequently do we voice our displeasure? As a company owner, wouldn’t you want to understand if there were any issues before you decided? The Christmas dinner I had with coworkers was abysmal.

Although not complaining at the time and even being instructed by them not to bother to say anything, I did decide to write and complain about the experience.

The following letter is an identical replica of the one that I sent. Consequently, I was given the option of returning for a free supper for four to give their service another chance. It was definitely worth the effort I put into writing it, and the owner expressed his gratitude for my sharing our story with him.

I took the trouble to track out the owner’s identity and specifically sent a letter to him.

Replace my particular issues with your own in the letter you use as a foundation for your complaint. It’s always a good idea to be courteous and accurate.

Also See: Sample letter announcing death of a work colleague

Letter complaining about a meal at a restaurant

[Restaurant address]

Dear [Name of owner],

On [date] I  came to have a Christmas meal at [name of restaurant] with my work colleagues.

Firstly I would like to say that for the most part the meal was lovely, but I decided to let you know some other opinions about the meal because we’ve all been talking about it, and unless someone tells you, you don’t know what they’re saying – or how to correct it!

Fantastic atmosphere, nice décor, big round table so we could sit together, pleasant serving staff and delicious starters.

Giant tea towels as napkins – too big to control – but were a good talking point!

Meal portions were tiny. And I mean tiny. After the meals were served (which were from the [year] Christmas menu), we sat and waited for the bowls of extra vegetables which we expected to arrive as an accompaniment to our meal. We soon realised that this wasn’t going to happen!

Each of us had just one and a half sprouts on our plate. That’s almost beyond a joke especially as they were so under cooked we could barely get our forks into them.

One lady had 2 tiny slices of turkey which were round and no more than three inches across. How do you get round slices? And just two?

I had the nut roast which was very nice, but there was no gravy. How do have a roast meal without gravy? The accompanying tomato sauce was good, but that should have been extra to the gravy not instead of it.

I had half a baby parsnip with my meal, as did everyone else (who had a roast meal), which again was rock hard.

The roast potatoes were very similar in taste and look to Aunt Bessie’s part cooked frozen potatoes, in that they had a crust rather than a nice crunchy coating.

The apple crumble was impossible to eat. It was served in a bowl on a large plate with custard in a jug. How could the custard be added to the crumble? The only way was to eat some first then top it up with the custard. The apple was also a purée, rather than nice chunks of apple.

We originally ordered our meal from your published Christmas Menu, but were then told that the lamb was replaced by venison, and the chocolate fondant for the yule log. This affected all but two of our party and it was too late for us to book somewhere else for a Christmas meal. Not only that but your website continued to advertise the lamb!Oh and I think that every plate you served was completely emptied by us, except for the apple crumbles. That alone should tell you that the portions were small.

None of us complained at the time as we didn’t want to make a fuss and spoil it for everyone, and once we got back to work most people just said to leave it. I decided to write because if you don’t know there’s a problem, you can’t fix it – if you want to!

Best Wishes,


By the way, I didn’t tell my employees that I’d written anything or that I’d gotten a free supper since they’d all thought it wasn’t worth it to complain about it. Was it really their fault?

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