Chili's Awesome Blossom Menu Picture Vs Reality

The Chili’s in Tuscaloosa, AL served Mike an “Awesome Blossom” that looks like it was run over by a truck. Mike didn’t complain to his waiter or the manager, but he did write to us:

We ordered our food and I ordered the “awesome blossom”. I’ve been a professional cook for 14 years and when I saw what I got I was personally offended. It looked to me like the cook had just scraped out the bottom of the deep fryer and threw it on the plate. I took a picture of the menu and our plate to show what they were advertising it as and what you actually get. They weren’t very busy, most of the tables were empty. It seemed to me the cook was just lazy.

Did I send it back? No. I don’t do that. Having worked in restaurants I know what often happens when food is sent back. Did I complain to the waiter? No. I didn’t see the point in that either. He was a nice guy, (we even gave him a pretty good tip) it was something beyond his control. So instead I silently fumed about it and vowed to never return to the restaurant. The sort of passive aggressive thing that probably happens thousands of times every night at restaurants all over the world that don’t deliver what they visually promise in their menus.

Mike, you are a paying customer; you should not have to stomach unacceptable food. A polite and quiet conversation with a manager wouldn’t have placed the blame undeservingly on the waiter, nor would it have subjected you to the possibly retributive wrath of a clearly reckless cook. If you haven’t already, send a letter to the corporate office.

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  1. HungryGrrl says:

    Oh, COME ON.

    This is just whining. If he really cared, or if it was really “unacceptable” he would have tried to have something done about it, but he just snapped a photo with his cameraphone and ate it and paid for it anyways. This dude just wants to see his name on the Consumerist.

    Next week we’ll be hearing that the lettuce on his Big Mac wasn’t as green as in the photo on the ad.

  2. zolielo says:

    The few Chili’s around me do a better job at keeping the blossom the proper shape, however, I would eat the one above with out qualms.

  3. Cowboys_fan says:

    I think the real question is how did it taste? If it tasted fine, who cares what it looks like. I too was a cook, so I know presentation is a huge part of the meal, but I judge on the quality, not the look. It does appear like mostly batter though, so I’m guessing it didn’t taste so good either. It looks more likely the bottom of the bag to me.

  4. SOhp101 says:

    So what? Just tell the waiter, “Sorry, I’m completely unsatisfied with this but I don’t want another one. Please take it off our bill, thanks.”

    Anyway, those awesome blossom things are disgusting. One of the most important rules in a casual restaurant: don’t order appetizers. They’re all fried in a way that makes them soggy and dripping with grease.

    • NeoAkira says:

      @SOhp101:

      “One of the most important rules in a casual restaurant: don’t order appetizers.”

      Actually I think that’s one of the most important rules in being neurotic and picky. Other than that I suggest you pull the stick out of your ass learn to enjoy food.

  5. yg17 says:

    @Cowboys_fan: I agree. I don’t care what it looks like, I care what it tastes like. If it tastes good, it’s all I care about. It’s all going to come back out looking the same

  6. morganlh85 says:

    This is why I REALLY thing the COOKS should be working for tips, NOT the wait staff. It’s usually THEIR fault when something goes wrong.

  7. cookmefud says:

    “BY HUNGRYGRRL AT 03:52 PM

    Oh, COME ON.

    This is just whining. If he really cared, or if it was really “unacceptable” he would have tried to have something done about it, but he just snapped a photo with his cameraphone and ate it and paid for it anyways. This dude just wants to see his name on the Consumerist.

    Next week we’ll be hearing that the lettuce on his Big Mac wasn’t as green as in the photo on the ad.”

    I really could care less about having had my name on the consumerist. the point of the post was that people expect what is advertised and when they don’t get it, they often say nothing.

    this is a major reason smaller non-chain restaurants go out of business every day. people don’t complain to the manager A LOT. in fact, I’d say more often than not, what I did was what usually happens…they complain by not patronizing a place again. not everyone calls out bad service right then and there. a lot of people don’t want to ruin there evening with a confrontation or just plain want to avoid drama. there were a lot of reasons I didn’t bitch about it to the waiter or manager, the ones listed were just a few. I really didn’t feel like dealing with anybody at that point. I was just pissed. if I had calmly called over the manager or waiter and talked to him about it that surely would have been a great thing and the proper way to handle things but I wasn’t in a state to do that. I would have flipped out on the manager, cook, whoever I could have gotten a hold of and that would have accomplished nothing except to make me look like a crazy person. instead my wife and I finished what food we had, tried to enjoy the rest of the evening without having it been anything dramatic, and went home. the rest of the food was fine. and to answer another question, no we didn’t eat the rest of it. it tasted like it was from the bottom of the fryer.

    but you got me! you totally called me out. hope it makes you feel better to be a much better consumer than me! :)

  8. Falconfire says:

    @morganlh85: COOKS DO. This is why I really wished people who ate in restaurants had a semblance of a clue before making idiots out of themselves in a comment. Your tip is split evenly between the:

    Cooks
    Wait Staff
    Dish runners (if they have them)
    and Bartender (if you ordered a drink with alcohol)

    This is common for 90% of the restaurants out there especially chain ones like Chilies (which is owned by Brinker Corp and I KNOW splits tips among staff, since my fiancee formerly worked for them)

  9. Husker-fan says:

    I can understand why he has decided not to go back, but as someone who works in a restaurant I think he should have spoken to the manager on duty.

    If they don’t know about a problem, they don’t know that they may need to take steps to prevent this from happening to someone else.
    The manager probably would have taken it off the bill, and apologized. There’s even the possibility of a gift card or some sort of offer to get you to give them another chance at a later date. I know I’ve had to do this on a few occasions.

  10. ThyGuy says:

    The real question is, “Did it taste good?”. I honestly could give a shit what it looks like, as long as it has the taste I like. It could be a cheeseburger shaped like a dildo and as long as it was good, I’d eat the damn thing.

  11. M3wThr33 says:

    That IS the worst Awesome Blossom I’ve ever seen. However, justifying the passive-aggressive response is just being a complete pussy.

  12. Haplo9000 says:

    @SOhp101: I wasn’t aware that there was a set of rules for eating at a “casual” restaurant. Good thing you were here for us. At least you didn’t just tar all non-fine dining establishments with the same brush…that would be pretty unfair.

    Oh, wait, that IS what you did. My mistake!

    /sarcasm off

    Seriously, eat what you want, where you want. Appetizers at some restaurants are good, and some are crap. And, within the same chain, different restaurants will produce different results. If you get something you think is subpar, send it back and don’t be ashamed. You’re paying, after all.

  13. rg says:

    Or maybe Mike is just better and bending over and taking it like a real man!

  14. SOhp101 says:

    @Haplo9000: Sounds like someone’s hemorrhaging blood out of her uterus.

    /sarcasm off

    Ever looked at the appetizer list in major casual restaurants? Usually consists of fried breaded chicken tenders, potato skins (fried), mozzarella sticks, etc. Of course you’re free to eat whatever you’d like. By all means, dig in.

  15. cookmefud says:

    you’re right. attempting to clarify my mindset at the time is being a pussy.@M3wThr33:

  16. cookmefud says:

    @rg: I’m a lover, not a fighter.

  17. a_nony_mouse says:

    why wouldn’t you tell the waiter? when i waited tables, i just wouldn’t have brought something like that out. silly me, i thought part of my job was to put the correct order in and get the correct food out. he should have stood up to the kitchen.

  18. reverbandwhiskey says:

    FALCONFIRE, you should take your own advice about making an idiot of yourself to heart. As a former restaurant manager for several different chains, including Chili’s and Bahama Breeze, I can tell you that the vast majority of restaurant chefs DO NOT receive tipout.

    Brinker and Darden, the two largest companies in the US DO NOT tipout to the back of the house. Servers tipout to the bar and to the foodrunners/busboys. And those tips are not an even split. It is usually 10% each to the bar and to the runners/bussers.

    Please try and keep your comments to something you actually understand.

  19. cookmefud says:

    @Husker-fan: this is true to a point. if they don’t know about a problem, they can’t fix it…however, if they seemingly have zero oversight about what’s coming out of the kitchen, the place that’s the heart of their business, what’s to say they’d even give a shit to fix it at all anyway? they’d do something to appease me, shut me up, get me out of their restaurant, then it would most likely be back to business as usual.

  20. humphrmi says:

    LOL I did this with the Holiday Inn Express’ “Worlds Best Cinnamon Roll” – but just didn’t figure it was worth a Consumerist post.

    Here’s the ad: [gallery.famille.org]

    And here’s the cinnamon roll we were actually ‘served’ in Savannah, GA:
    [gallery.famille.org]

    Whew! I’m glad I got that off my chest. ;-)

  21. oldtaku says:

    When you see this sort of thing you have to remember that though a lot of people are comfortable with making a scene (maybe too happy to do so), other people are much less comfortable with it. I probably would have asked for it to be taken off the bill, but Mike just decided never to go back. I’ve seen plenty of people do this before – they won’t say a thing to the waiter, but as soon as they get out the restaurant they tell you they’re never going back. That’s not really whining, a lot of people are just very uncomfortable with even minor conflict.

    This is sort of like a silent disease for restaurants – people come back and they never tell you why. It happens quite often, which is why low quality stuff can bite you in the butt even when nobody complains. I think he should at least write a letter (that photo should certainly help things) with the time and date and which location so corporate at least KNOWS when this happens.

    For the people who are saying he should have just eaten it, that would take some pretty low standards and a cast iron stomach. Awesome Blossoms are just breaded onion soaked full of grease even in the best case, yes, but the stuff on the bottom is burned, crunchy, and even greasier than the normal stuff. The worst bit is that the soaked in grease has burned in too. And yes, I know some of you love it like that!

  22. AcidReign says:

        He stopped for food in Tuscaloosa, which is ALWAYS a bad mistake! And, his instincts were good about NOT complaining. Heck, even Alabama legislators will punch your lights out if you complain!

    [www.youtube.com]

  23. MattyMatt says:

    NEWS FLASH Food At Chili’s Not Always Very Good STOP THE PRESSES

  24. Phuturephunk says:

    I just really don’t friggen care about this one. They’re crack-like no matter what.

    Oh and one of the alpha stoner foods if I’ve ever seen one (along with cheesesteaks, chocolate donuts, ice cream and pop tarts).

    Stop the hate!

  25. mrjimbo19 says:

    I disagree about not wanting to make an issue of it. Fact is that if he made a scene in the resturant some of the people would have noticed and a few of them would have been turned off from coming back. Posting it on a well hyped consumer board ensures a lot more exposure and in turn a lot more bad press. Give the people at the company a chance to make right on the issue before trying to make it seem like they can do no right.

    The fact that you have food experience should just solidify that you know people will make mistakes and need to be called out on those mistakes. Contact the corporate offices, show them what happened then post an update. My $.02 at least

  26. junkmail says:

    First of all, the server definitely should have taken some of the responsibility for the way the food looked. Unless he/she delivered it blindfolded, that plate never should have made it out the kitchen door. The tip most assuredly would have reflected the quality of the food, as well it should. (For the sake of clarity, I know there are situations where the food looks exactly as advertised, but in fact may be cooked wrong or otherwise contains a deficiency not visible to the server. In those situations penalizing the server is completely unacceptable).

    Secondly, fine, say the OP raised a fuss and demanded the dish be replaced. Do you have any idea what happens to food returned to the kitchen? I completely agree that the OP should have given the plate back to the server and had the item removed from the bill. You do NOT want it remade.

    Finally, it doesn’t matter if some of you don’t care what the food looks like, “as long as it tastes good, you’ll eat it.” You’re paying good money for a product. It damn well better LOOK correct, as well as TASTE correct. You certainly wouldn’t buy a brand new car that looked like someone had taken a ball peen hammer to it, would you? Well, if it runs good, that’s all that matters, right?

  27. kingoman says:

    if you aren’t going to complain to the wait staff or management at the restaurant, you have no right to complain to others behind their back, that’s just rude.

    Ever heard “if you aren’t part of the solution then you’re part of them problem”?

  28. gooser992 says:

    I understand Mike’s desire not to complain. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were at O’Charley’s (first mistake) and they served us chicken fingers that we only cooked on the outside and were raw on the inside. Both the waitress and the manager appologized and offered to replace the item (obviously we had no desire to eat chicken after that!) and we declined. They still charged us, and I didn’t care enough to fight them on it. Instead we won’t be going back there anytime soon.

    And yes, I though about emailing their customer service but all we would get is a gift card, which would have to be used at their resturant.

  29. cookmefud says:

    @kingoman: really? no right? if I paid for something I pretty much have a right to say whatever I want about it no? I think being served crap is rude. I think that the onus being on me to raise a stink about it when I’d much rather just enjoy a night with my wife is rude.

    people can think I’m wrong for posting it here instead of keeping it a private matter between me and the chilis-megacorp but the fact of the matter is, this sort of thing is happening day in and day out just not on a popular website like this.

    this food should never have been served. period.

    it was garbage and it made it past all the checks and balances to my plate.

    the cook saw it, the kitchen manager most likely saw it, the restaurant manager might have seen it had he/she been spending anytime in the kitchen, the various waitstaff that walked past my table had every opportunity to see it, and finally the waiter himself saw it. I think that’s pretty rude.

    and I think it’s a sign of a much bigger problem, that being that they obviously saw it as normal to serve it like that.

    but yeah, I’m the rude one.

  30. cookmefud says:

    @mrjimbo19:

    so making a scene and scaring off customers in the restaurant (and probably freaking out a few customers just trying to enjoy a night out in the process), as you suggest, is more appropriate than this?

    right. maybe. I guess.

  31. mrjimbo19 says:

    @cookmefud:

    I would say in this case letting people know who are directly in contact with that poor of food/service is the biggest concern. Beyond that though how is what you are doing now any different then scaring people off in the resturant right away?

    This part is not directed at you persay but I think it does fit into an overall issue. People find it easier to complain and in turn create problems when they can hide behind the annonimity of the internet, perhaps service declines because no one is willing to stand up and make a scene about it at the time (myself included at times).

    I still believe you should make an issue of it at the corporate level at least and see what the reaction is, perhaps they will be the ones to “win you back” and show you that they don’t stand for substandard food/service.

    In regards to being concerned about sending the food back an easy solution is to just hold onto the item at the table wait for the regular ordered food to come out then send it back and ask for it to be removed from the bill. I don’t think your making to big deal about the issue I just feel you are not doing it in a way I would. Thats the beauty of the world though we can choose to do things in a way we see fit.

  32. SBR249 says:

    those things are fried onions??? they look kinda like frito lays chips I eat all the time haha.

  33. mrmysterious says:

    How in the heck did this personally offend him? That would imply that this was done intentionally to HIM.

    Not complaining dumb.

    Tolerating your fellow employees do stuff to the food that gets back to the kitchen is even dumber.

    This guy needs a Consumerist post against HIM.

  34. Amry says:

    I might be confusing Chili’s with another restaurant, but I think they used to have something called “onion petals” that were basically like a fried onion but already cut up. The breading was different, but this picture almost makes me think they were out of something and he got a combo of the old onion petals and the new awesome blossom.

  35. ChaosMotor says:

    Speaking as someone else who has “been in the industry” or whatever, there’s a very simple way to deal with this kind of thing.

    If you receive an item that you ordered, but does not meet your standards or expectations, as soon as the waitron comes back to your table, politely inform them that the item doesn’t meet your standards and expectations, and request that it be removed from the bill. If you’re willing to eat it anyway, or already ate half before you decided you were not satisfied with it, simply ask that it be reduced to half price.

    This has never failed to provide a satisfactory resolution, and it doesn’t involve replacing anything with a new order that may or may not involve “freebies”. Usually they will completely remove the item even if you offer to pay half.

    Tip according to what the bill would be *if* the item hadn’t been removed, it’s not the waitron’s fault.

    Abusing this to be a cheap-ass prick who freeloads off everyone is, of course, not encouraged. As always, jerks and fools are capable of ruining it for everyone else.

  36. Buran says:

    If it tastes fine and looks fine otherwise except for arrangement, eat it. Complain on your way out and pay in cash so they can’t tie your name to the complaint (although if they do anything to your food that’s illegal and you have every right to expect sent-back food to be taken care of correctly). That way you also can’t be perceived as a freeloader.

    Or, complain to the manager the following day and explain that the food itself was OK but the presentation wasn’t, and you feel it important to mention for the future.

  37. JosephFinn says:

    I’m sure this will sounds like a rude question, but why woulda professional chef with 14 years experience go to a Chili’s? To remember how not to do things?

  38. Buran says:

    @HungryGrrl: The very first post blames the victim. Nice.

    We expect restaurants to prepare food properly. We have menus with photos so people know what they will get. So the food should at least mostly resemble the picture.

    He’s not being a freeloader. He just wants the restaurant to do its job. I think that is more than fair especially since he was not trying to get free food out of it.

    Personally, I never ask for anything to be removed from the bill, either. If that happens, it is on their initiative and not mine. And I’m never rude and I don’t raise my voice. My complaints are always of the “so the next person will get better food than I did” nature.

  39. floofy says:

    I thought Awesome Blossoms were found to be the only food that offered absolutely no nutritional value, and was more damaging to the body than any other food. Either way, the poster is awfully defensive about the responses he is getting. I’m surprised this even made it on the Consumerist. It’s such a non issue. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been upset (i wouldn’t have ordered that crap in the first place) but I can only blame myself if I did not let someone working there know my disappointment with their product after eating it,smiling happily, paying for it, and leaving.

  40. Buran says:

    @SOhp101: Maybe that’s because people like those things? What’s wrong with that? I’ve had very good examples of the various things above, and very bad. I learn quickly where I can get the good stuff that isn’t greasy and tastes great.

    I have a friend who’s a cook, too, and I know how unfair it is to assume all restaurants serve lousy food when tehy serve a certain dish.

  41. Buran says:

    @floofy: Maybe he is defensive because blaming the victim is wrong. Ever think of that?

    I will say it yet again. This isn’t Consumerist anymore. This is BlameTheVictimist.

    Every. Time.

  42. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I call bullshit. That picture looks like it’s already been manhandled. Can anyone in Tuscaloosa, AL confirm or is this just one man’s story?

    The big giveaway that it’s not true is that Mike’s a cook. What’s a cook doing at Chili’s of all places?!

  43. Buran says:

    @cookmefud: You selectively didn’t read the part where he explains this. And your username looks like you registered just to post that. Seriously, that’s beyond sad.

  44. Maulleigh says:

    I think he did have a legitimate pick. When I order a Whopper at Burger King, I don’t expect it to look like the picture.

    But if I was paying extra for presentation (which he was) and presentation was sucky, I’d write a letter to consumerist too.

  45. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @HungryGrrl: BOOM! First post! Blame the consumer, it’s their fault! Once again, how stupid does anyone have to be to expect customer service, or food in a restaurant to be tasty.
    We need another gawker blog for folks around here, ihateeveryone.com.

    On topic, I agree that they should have complained at the time and had it removed from the bill. What is acceptable to one person may be unacceptable to others (as we all should be learning here).

  46. floofy says:

    @Buran: I know. Isn’t it great :)

  47. oneswellfoop says:

    “I think the real question is how did it taste? If it tasted fine, who cares what it looks like. I too was a cook, so I know presentation is a huge part of the meal, but I judge on the quality, not the look.”

    You have, apparently, never worked in a restaurant above the level of a Chili’s then. Presentation is an equally important part of the meal relative to the taste in every meal that I eat or cook for myself. The amount of effort that one must take to come up with a dynamic, not to mention passable, presentation is negligible. Where I work, if it looks bad, then it gets replated.

    While the person quoted above may not care what his food looks like, I guarantee you that most customers do. I should also hope that Chili’s corporate and the front and back house managers would be suitably dismayed at the crap that he was served.

  48. Onouris says:

    Tell you what, how about you sue them for it not looking right. Then, sue all the fast food places in the world. You could get rich! woo hoo!

  49. Chicago7 says:

    I thought this site WAS for whining about consumer problems!

    I must have missed a meeting.

  50. cookmefud says:

    @Applekid:

    the picture was manhandled?

    what the hell are you talking about? it’s been stitched together with another picture I sent to the consumerist by the mod and resized. other than that, what are you looking for? a crowd of people to verify my story? there were like 10 people in the restaurant. like I said, it wasn’t busy. and I am not the type to stand up on my table and shout about my effing onion. but I sure as hell will relay the story to a website that’s about consumer issues.

  51. cookmefud says:

    @Buran: BY BURAN AT 06:34 PM

    @cookmefud: You selectively didn’t read the part where he explains this. And your username looks like you registered just to post that. Seriously, that’s beyond sad.

    I’m not really sure what you’re talking about here in this post. did I register to reply to comments personally attacking me about this original posting regarding an email I sent to the site? sure. but that’s not really a point at all..so I’m not sure if you’re talking to me or what and about what exactly…

  52. cookmefud says:

    @floofy: “BY FLOOFY AT 06:29 PM

    I thought Awesome Blossoms were found to be the only food that offered absolutely no nutritional value, and was more damaging to the body than any other food. Either way, the poster is awfully defensive about the responses he is getting. I’m surprised this even made it on the Consumerist. It’s such a non issue. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been upset (i wouldn’t have ordered that crap in the first place) but I can only blame myself if I did not let someone working there know my disappointment with their product after eating it,smiling happily, paying for it, and leaving.”

    I’m not really sure why just because something has less than great nutritional value it is acceptable for it to be served like crap too.

  53. cookmefud says:

    @JosephFinn:

    to clarify: I said I was a professional cook.

    and if you know anyone who is a cook, they’re typically not found lounging about at 5 star restaurants in their off times. typically they’re blue collar, hard-working people who like to relax and have a beer or a bite to eat at regular places just like regular people.

  54. arachnophilia says:

    wait, i’m confused. legitimate question:

    is the issue that it’s not the in the shape of a blossom? or just that it’s not very awesome? or?

    i mean, yeah, i’m not gonna “blame the victim,” but i will say that i have pretty low expectations for giant chain restaurants. i know what i order is not going to look like the photograph. i’m a photographer — i know that shit is all fake an inedible, and the very best it can imposibly look. you ever seen them prepare stuff for food-product shots? it’s… gross.

    maybe there’s something i’m not seeing in your picture, but it looks, basically, like the same stuff you’d normally get. just not quite as together. it’s still onions, deep fried. unless it’s burned, or they didn’t bother to clean the plate, or something — it’s just food. if i want gourmet plating, i’ll go to a gourmet restaurant.

    and taking your business elsewhere isn’t “passive agressive.” it is by far the most aggressive thing you can do. it’s the langauge that business speak. posting it here and saying “look, this is pretty shitty” hurts them more. now, it might be overreacting a little, in this case.

    but hey, you know what, try applebees sometime. last time i went there, they double-billed us for something they didn’t even bring, one entree was substantially different (missing part) from the picture, and they neglected to fully wash one of the plates. on previous visits, we were served by a waitress with an open wound on her face.

    we, of course, complained about the fixable things. and then stopped eating there. and then wrote to corporate.

  55. jgodsey says:

    “this must be some strange usage of the word ‘awesome’ I had not previously been aware of.”

    apologies to DNA

    btw i make it a point NOT to frequent the applebees, outbacks, texas roadhouses, chilis etc.. of the world. if i am going to be disappointed I will at least have tried some independent folks who are in competition with these jokers.

  56. j-o-h-n says:

    Wow, I can hardly believe all the people jumping all over this guy for being “passive agressive”.

    It may not be “up to your standards of behaviour” — but as he correctly points out — that’s what most people do.

    I count myself among them. Over the 20 some years we’ve lived in this town there have been a number of places that have pissed me off with abusive “service”. And you know what, we never go back there again. There are plenty of places to eat out or get auto parts or pretty much whatever – why wouldn’t you go to one that hasn’t been shitty?

    And right now “the list” is empty. Why? Because invariably these places go out of business. You sucked. Too bad, so sad.

  57. arachnophilia says:

    agreed, i would much rather eat at a locally owned place. food tends to be better, too.

  58. legotech says:

    FALCONFIRE…you are wrong…back of the house does not get tipped. Bar and bus/runners get tipped, maybe 10-15% of the nights tips, but no where near an even split between the server and the others, even in places that pool tips, the tipout is still just 10-15% for the bar and bus.

    regina

  59. legotech says:

    @JosephFinn: I’m a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef…some of us like to slum :) I can make/eat fancy food at home, sometimes I want greasy junk too! :)

    reg

  60. oregoncycle says:

    I stopped reading the comments of this site long ago as they have gone from intelligent helpful comments to ranting made by seemly nerdy teenagers. .

    This post caused me to read all the comments and add my own.
    I am a restaurant manager with a culinary degree. I have 30 years of Food and Beverage Management experience. What started out as a legitimate post has been hijacked into another off topic rage.

    1. Should it look like the photo? Of course it should. We eat first with our eyes. If it looks good and then taste good you have a win win situation. If it looks bad, your expectation of the taste is heightened to overcome the poor presentation. This isn’t your mama’s kitchen were you are forced to eat anything she puts down in front of you, this is the real world.
    2. Is there a time where you do not want to complain? A nice quite meal with the wife that turns into a merry go round of waiter, manager, bill adjustments sort of takes the fun out of going out.
    3. Would I as a manager liked to be informed of the problem? Of course… you can’t fix what you don’t know about. A phone call the next day would bring a little chat with the kitchen manager to see if the cook in question needs some additional training or a little coaching about food quality.
    4. Would that result in some sort of compensation? Of course. It is cheaper to keep an existing customer then it is to get a new one. This is the stalwart message of this site make the customer happy.

  61. ogman says:

    Judging from the responses here, we’ll be seeing a whole lot more crap shoveled out to restaurant customers. Thanks for doing my market research on consumer expectations. I’m opening a new place next week serving cowpies with some awesome dipping sauces. Ya’ll c’mon by.

  62. miketurk says:

    My brother, the Chili’s server and trainer sez: “The server should’ve told them that due to drought conditions there have not been as many colossal onions available and we are subbing 2-3 smaller onions in what’s known as a blossom stack, all broken up.”

    So there you go. Had you asked your server, you might have gotten that response, or you might have gotten apathy. If he had been apathetic, maybe I can see your complaining. But taking a picture of it and submitting it to the Consumerist instead of simply handling it in the restaurant is just silly.

  63. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I would not have sent it back. It would’ve gone straight to the trash. I know an Awesome Blossom is like 90% batter and 10% onion, but I try not to waste food. If it’s edible and tastes normal, I’d go ahead and eat it. BUT.. I would ask the server why it turned out that way, in a non hostile tone. And I’m sure I would’ve gotten a logical explanation such as the one from Miketurk’s brother.

  64. Obtusegoose says:

    It wasn’t clear if they actually ate the gross-looking blossom. But they should have politely told the server that it really looks unappetizing, and could they take it off the bill.

    I agree with SARUSA and J-O-H-N. There have been many times when we’ve gone out, had bad service or food, and never complained to the management. I think most people do this. Especially when you’ve already decided that you’re not going go back there.

  65. North of 49 says:

    I found a hair in my omelet once. The restaurant in question comped my meal and wanted to give me a second one, but I was so queasy by then, I didn’t want to have anything else. I found out later that the prepcook didn’t have a hair net on and the restaurant could have had serious fines or more if I had been a food inspector.

    By all means, send it back if its justified. That… slop that you were fed should have been sent back. Food is their pride and if it isn’t up to snuf, they need to be given a chance to fix it before you decide to boycott them forever.

  66. I have a feeling if he’d complained to management, the commentors here still would’ve accused him of whining. He sent it to Consumerist as a compare and contrast. That’s not whining. And to everyone saying “it doesn’t matter how it looks”, yes it does. Not many people want to eat something that looks unappetizing. “Pretty” and “unappetizing” are two different things. Why do the commentors here feel like the subjects of these articles owe them something?

  67. artki says:

    > nor would it have subjected you to the possibly retributive wrath of a clearly reckless cook.

    Yeah, I would NOT have complained to the cook before he finished preparing my food. I’ve read too many stories of retribution to try that.

    Best course would have been to ask the manager to take the blossom off the bill after you finished. You didn’t eat it so you had the wretched thing to show him.

    I’d never go back to that location either. There were too many failures (bad cook, bad waiter for delivering it and so on) too let them have another chance at wrecking a meal.

  68. smarty says:

    I haven’t been to Chili’s in 5 or 6 years. Why would a “professional cook” of 14 years? And since when do the pictures of food in a Chili’s / Applebee’s / Olive Garden / etc. menu look like what they serve? Not 5 or 6 years ago. And why does bringing up a problem at a restaurant cause a scene?

  69. cookmefud says:

    @miketurk:

    and I would have said:

    bullshit. I order produce all the time from major suppliers for my kitchen. I’m well aware of drought conditions in the area and their effects on various produce crops.

    if a restaurant is unable to provide exactly what is on the menu, and instead chooses to sub it’s star appetizer with something totally dissimilar and looking like garbage, it should not be serving that item at all. it should have said either by a thing in the menu itself, or the waiter himself “hey, we can’t do the onion thing. sorry, try something else.” instead of playing russian roulette with their paying customers. I don’t think that taking a picture of it was silly at all. that’s how surprisingly different it was from what I expected. surprising enough for me to go “jesus, what the hell is that??” grab my camera and actually take a picture of it. that’s not off the wall at all. that’s a perfectly normal response for the situation.

  70. TVarmy says:

    I’ve never been to Chili’s. Their frank naming of their mozzarella sticks is commendable, however.

  71. cookmefud says:

    @smarty:

    not all of us have the same lifestyle and responsible choices in restaurants apparently. what the hell does it matter why I went to chili’s? my wife wanted to go and I wanted a beer and a burger, so we went.

  72. cookmefud says:

    @OlsonsTwin:

    I don’t really get it either. it seems pretty straightforward to me why I sent it to the consumerist in the first place. I’m not whining, I paid for the item anyway, and I really don’t care that much about the whole situation anymore. it was a weird night at chili’s and I documented it. I didn’t react exactly as people wanted apparently, but so what? like I said tons of people have the exact same response every night. it’s funny watching everyone want to carp and blame me. for such a consumer based site it’s funny to read just how much garbage people seem willing to eat when they go out. talk about a board full of people with low expectations.

  73. beyond says:

    They really stiff you on the sauce, don’t they.

  74. FromThisSoil says:

    I’ve never had it fro Chili’s but the “Bloomin’ Onion” from Outback actually does look like the picture – at least the one I’ve been to.

  75. arachnophilia says:

    @cookmefud: agreed, but… even if it was just like the picture, it’d still be garbage.

    and yeah, a lot of people (like me) put up with it cause we don’t care. and a lot of people probably just never come back.

  76. forever_knight says:

    @ThyGuy: when did you officially come out?

  77. bohemian says:

    That picture is gross. It looks like a plate full of onion peels from Applebees, only greasier and possibly off the kitchen floor.

    Since most items and appetisers at chain restaurants are fairly expensive for what you really get I think he has a reason to be annoyed.

    Even a chain restaurant should be capable of plating a meal at least close to the standard presentation.

    I don’t send food back anymore. At the most I will refuse to eat it and ask for it to be taken off the check. That is if I feel confrontational about it.

  78. forever_knight says:

    @miketurk: silly, but is it his fault the server didn’t say “sorry, we’re out of huge artery clogging onion. take a batch of smaller onions in a ‘stack’?” of course not. otherwise, maybe he wouldn’t have submitted it here, dumbass.

  79. HungryGrrl says:

    ultimately I blame the Consumerist for posting this poor quality content. Is this the week that the regular staff is on vacation and the interns are in charge or something?

  80. shades_of_blue says:

    I don’t ever think I’ve eaten a bloomin onion that was not a grease pit, but they’ve never has one which did not at least resemble the picture before. IMO the grease pit look/taste is the normal for this appetizer and I don’t recommend anyone order one, if they don’t have four people to pick at it.

    As for getting pissed about it, it’s still better than a still cold half cooked rack of ribs. That has to be my worst meal experience, and during my lunch break of all times. Lets just say that I was ready to rumble, yeah…

  81. North of 49 says:

    The last thing a restaurant needs is a lawsuit over food poisoning. Food like that “blossom” is not fit to serve pigs. I wonder, did they pull it out of the garbage?

  82. dbeahn says:

    Must be an incredibly slow “news day” here for this to get posted.

    Next up: Eating Sugar By The Spoonful Makes Child Hyper!

  83. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    It’s funny how cookmefud didn’t want to make a scene and rock the boat in a Chili’s while jumping on people who question his values on a story he volunteered to make public.

    Three words: Internet Tough Guy.

    Too funny.

  84. For someone who “have been a cook for 14 yrs”, you should know how to pick a restaurant to go to.

    Plus, if you think you got mistreated, you should have said something right there on the spot. Instead, you turn to a website and vent about your boohoo.

    Being a passive-aggressive mofo, you probably will be eating a lot of crappy food at restaurants.

    Enjoy.


    [www.tian.cc]

  85. AcidReign says:

        Again, I have to remind folks that this particular Chili’s IS in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This is the town where drinking can after can of PBR on a rain-sodden front-porch sofa, and eating pork-rinds and butter is considered normal. Yeah, this grease-pit of “cracklins” probably seemed fine, to the server. He’s probably grown up on Walmart deli fried chicken. The top-selling spice item in this state is salt-pork-fatback.

        My Auburn-inspired Tuscaloosa jokes aside, you’ll never get satisfaction out of ducking the management and posting online, instead. Chili’s corporate, if they get wind of this, will forward the complaint back to the restaurant manager. He’ll lecture his minimum-wage UA-student employees. They’ll do what they have to do to get their hours and stay in school. More travelers on I-20/59 will get served pure shit.

        The best thing to do, if you’re hungry on that particular stretch of Interstate, is to hold on for another hour, and hit the Bright Star in Bessemer. This is possibly the best restaurant in the state, reasonably priced, and you’ll not be sending funds to some evil corporation.

    [www.birminghammenus.com]

  86. pgarin says:

    Hey,look… I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 25 years and started several of San Francisco’s sucessful restaurants, and of course sold out.

    I’d do exactly as the person who submitted this did. The “owner” or general manager deserves it.
    This is not being a so-called “wuss” or even “passive aggressive”. If you are a professional in this business, and have worked all too many hours, you don’t do the obvious, because you’ve already been there before.

    He was “insulted” because he couldn’t believe someone would be “so unprofessional”. Corporate America, being what it is, would simply send a letter of apology and….a cupon “good for a dinner for two” at Chili’s, again totally missing the point.

    I have to say after reading “hungrygrrl’s” comment, I just wanted to…. nevermind… I have to remember some people not only “don’t “get it”, but some people never will….

    “Party of two….right this way please…. enjoy your… evening”

    P Garin

  87. Nearsite00 says:

    I use to work at Chili’s as a server and I did so for two years – Not once did I EVER serve an awesome blossom that looked like the one pictured above. As an aside – we use to all it ‘the heart attack on a platter’ becuase that thing is literally dipped in grease.

  88. Brazell says:

    Worked at Chilis for a good 3 years and never saw an Awesome Blossom that looked like the picture above. Now I have no love for that company or the food services industry, but I really cannot believe *that* got off the line.

  89. queequeg says:

    You know how you can fix this? Don’t go to Chili’s with their factory made entrees. Go support the non chains so they don’t all close.
    Hooligans has great onion rings. The new sushi place next to Bama Bowl is great. And go to Maharaja! They have fried onions and Indian food is good.

  90. queequeg says:

    or do you not live in tuscaloosa? it’s still no excuse for eating at chili’s.

  91. shiftless says:

    I’m not going to have a Bloomin Onion unless it comes with Jalamaplepeno sauce.

  92. dreamingmage says:

    My ex-wife worked her way up from waitress to restaraunt manager. So I followed her advice when we went out to eat and had bad results.

    Her advice?

    2 choices. The easy choice was to ask for the manager at the first bad item, tell him it was unacceptable and you arent’ paying, (and why) then walk out. Better not to ever return, for your own safety. Servers remember who got them reprimanded for bringing unsatisfactory food to the table and pass that info on to the cooks.

    The better choice that took a little more work:
    anything unnacceptable is set to one side. Don’t touch it, just don’t eat it at all. When your meal is done, call for the manager. Show him what you didn’t eat and tell him why you didn’t eat it. This technique almost always results in either a comped meal, or a coupon for your next. And nobody has the opportunity to spit in your food.

    I remember once at a casual party in college talking to a fellow student talking about the things he’d done to food sent back for correction. I told him, “I think food preparation is a sacred trust.”

    He asked me, “Are you saying ‘hoorah for the chefs?’”

    I said, “no, I’m saying you broke a trust and you are a dickhead.”

    He said, “good, I didn’t want to be patronized.”

    That’s why I’d rather not take the chance of spit (or worse) in my food.

    Mage

  93. Melikoth says:

    I’ve had a similar problem with almost any restaurant that has onion blossoms on the menu. The only place around here that consistently has decent food is a locally owned English style pub. I’m routinely disappointed at the overall quality of food at chains restaurants. So far the only one I haven’t had a bad experience with is Denny’s.

    Reminds me of the movie Falling Down. It never looks like the menu, this is a sad sad burger, etc etc.

    As for everyone giving the guy grief, cry more people, geez. I generally don’t read any of the comments when the first one is a troll, but I had to complain about onion blossoms too.

  94. Havok154 says:

    I’d eat it in a heartbeat…in fact, that picture is making me really hungry.

  95. consumer_999 says:

    I had Chili’s serve me a nearly raw cajun chicken sandwich once. It was my favorite before that; now I fear the damned thing! The manager came out, apologizing like crazy, carrying the pink chicken away (of course… can’t leave the evidence with the customer!) and offered me something else on the house. I turned it down, let my g/f finish what she wanted from her plate, and then we walked out without paying.

  96. redx says:

    I don’t know why you some of you are attacking the OP. You don’t need to comment on his reaction to the food. That’s just his personality. It is much more relevant to comment on the acceptability of the food and your own reactions to the picture.

  97. iamjames says:

    @FALCONFIRE

    SERVERS DO NOT SPLIT TIPS WITH COOKS!

    This is true with almost every restaurant I’ve ever heard of. If someone told you they had to split their tips they were lying.

    I’ve worked at several private restaurants. Fiancee has worked at IHOP and currently works at Red Lobster which is owned by Darden, the largest causal dining restaurant company in the world, employing more than 150,000 people. For comparison, Microsoft employees ~60,000 worldwide and Google employees ~10,000 worldwide.

    Along with 1,400 Red Lobster locations Darden also owns Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52. NONE of those restaurants have servers split tips with the cooking staff.

  98. blkhrt1 says:

    @Falconfire: Yeah, you’re wrong. The tips are shared between the bartender, busser, and yourself. 1% of your total tips go to each. Server keeps the rest. Get your facts straight first.

  99. utsastudent says:

    I work at a Chili’s in San Antonio and apparently the onion crop right now is really bad. Not all of the onions we’re getting in will make a “proper” Blossom. The result is a basket of Blossom Strings (think scrambled Awesome Blossom). They taste exactly the same and have the same 2700 calories and 200 grams of fat, but admittedly are not as pretty. The one in the picture never should have made it out of the kitchen though.

    A polite word of complaint would have seen the Blossom comped. Servers are supposed to inform customers about the onion problem whenever a Blossom is ordered. Actually, expressing dissatisfaction to a manager about anything will almost always see that item comped.

  100. utsastudent says:

    @blkhrt1: To be completely accurate (at least at Chili’s), 1% of the server’s sales goes to the bartender and 1% to the busser. Which on a busy night can easily be $20.

  101. mannymix03 says:

    are you serious? give me a break people, my big mac never looks like the picture, every restaurant with menu pictures has a professional take those photos.

    I really used to like the consumerist stories, now i am getting aggravated with the crap getting posted here, i mean seriously. Sorry to tell you but your a damn fool if you think that your food is going to look exactly like the menu, but hell i respect you for paying for the meal still, i just think you shouldn’t hold it against chili’s. I mean tell me one restaurant that has a menu picture that looks like the real thing

  102. I think the real question is how did it taste?

    Sorry – presentation is part of what you’re paying for in these cheesy-fake “theme” restaurants.

    Why else do they freeze the beer mugs but to preserve the mystique? The “Awesome Blossom” should look like something that at least approaches awesome.

    I can get the same menu items at the local trough and brew that I can get at any Chilis – doesn’t that mean that paying a few bucks more per plate at Chilis buys me consistent execution and decent presentation?

    If not, what’s my rationale for visiting there? I can tell you – after visiting more than twenty Chilis over the past fifteen years in several states, they’re usually score about a four on the quality scale – but they do it consistently.

    Why do you think Starbucks is so popular? It’ a’int for the execution of the coffee, but for the consistently quaffable level of caffeinated drinkage and service that one receives at every Starbucks. That’s what the customer expected at his Chilis, and that’s what he shoulda’ gotten.

    Complaint is justified.

  103. @iamjames: Red Lobster which is owned by Darden, the largest causal dining restaurant company in the world, employing more than 150,000 people. For comparison, Microsoft employees ~60,000 worldwide and Google employees ~10,000 worldwide.

    Microsoft and Google have food franchises?

    Seriously – point taken, but try to use a relevant example next time. Apple employs ~15,000 people worldwide, but that doesn’t affect the quality at the Outback Steakhouse 300 feet away on DeAnza Blvd.

  104. Jordan Lund says:

    The worst offender, IMHO, has to be those “chicken fries” at Burger King. There should be a class action false advertising suit on those…

    The advertisement:
    [www.foodfacts.info]

    The reality:
    [www.johnnyamerica.net]

    [www.johnnyamerica.net]

  105. joemono says:

    @BURAN: Victim? This man is not a victim. And you say that he just wants the restaurant to do their job. How do you propose they do that if he’s not willing to complain?

  106. manualaber says:

    Getting crappy food puts the consumer between a rock and a hard place, even more so when it’s an appetizer. Send it back, and chances are either that or your next item out of the kitchen will be “specially prepared” for you by the cook staff. If you haven’t seen the movie “Waiting,” you should. It will make you want to learn to cook and eat at home more often.

  107. ironchef says:

    BFD.

    So they have a rookie at the fry station. Is it worth condemning the entire chain?

    1) tell the waitress, not post it on a blog
    2) not everyone gets their food styled the way the photos do.

  108. SOhp101 says:

    @Buran: There’s nothing wrong with liking those appetizers (I don’t mind splurging empty calories on junk food like that now and then), but in my experience I’ve learned not to go out on a limb and order those things unless you or someone else you know has had a decent order at that particular establishment. Maybe we just have different standards, but to each his own.

    However, he is hardly a victim. He chose not to ask for the manager, he chose not to complain, therefore it’s his own problem. Yes the presentation is bad and the err is on the side of the restaurant but if you don’t tell them about it THEY’RE NOT GOING TO FIX IT.

    The squeaky wheel gets the oil, not the passive aggressive one. End of story.

  109. jburland says:

    This is what to do in you have a complaint:

    Talk to someone who’s in a position to do rectify the issue.

    Do this in a timely manner.

    Articulate the issue

    Specify your complaint

    Be clear in what you expect him/her to do.

    In this case:

    “I’d like you to get the manager to my table, please.”
    “This dish isn’t acceptable. It bears no resemblance to the product you advertise. I’d like you to take it away and take it off my bill.” (If you’re worried about retribution from the kitchen.)

    If not:
    “I’d like you to take this item away and replace it with one that you – as a manager – would be happy to have served in your restaurant”

    If the manager’s clued up, he’ll do that, apologise and give you a voucher to use on your next visit.

    I mean, just how HARD is that?

  110. shades_of_blue says:

    @blkhrt1:

    The percentage rate fluctuates, depending on which restaurant. A local dinner my cousin worked at gave 10% to the busboy and no one else. The busboy also got screwed on his wages, and most of the waitresses would lie about how much they earned, so they were constantly rotating busboys.

    TGI Fridays takes 34% out of the tips collected to split between the hostess and busboy. I don’t think the cook is included. This I know, because I knew a girl who worked there and she’d always over tip the waitresses due to her own experience [as a waitress]. It would annoy me to no end, because she’d expect everyone to match what she put it.

  111. bigvicproton says:

    there’s a war on you know, but its pretty sad about your onion too….

  112. ncboxer says:

    Wow, seems like a lot of people hating the guy for complaining at Consumerist. Sorry not everybody is going to talk to the waiter or manager to complain about poor looking/tasting food. If it is raw or something was really wrong with it to prevent you from eating it, yes I would complain. If the food taste like crap and looked like crap (like most fast food), then most times I would think people would just not go there again or try something else from there. For instance, I used to get a bourbon street steak from applebee’s and many times it was terrific, then once it tasted bland. I tried to twice more (over a period of time) and it tasted the same. I switched to other things at applebee’s and they too didn’t taste that great, so I just stopped going altogether.

    When I go to a fast food place (haven’t been in years), I expect the food to look nothing like the advertisements and to taste half way decent. When I go to a higher scale restaurant like Chili’s, I expect the food to look closer to what is advertised and to taste pretty good. If I go to an expensive steakhouse, I expect the food to look great (most places like this I’ve gone don’t have pictures of food on there menu) and taste great.

  113. muckpond says:

    when i worked at chili’s we served a dessert that was called “diet by chocolate cake.” i think it’s gone now, but it wasn’t too awful.

    one day we were bored in the back and looking at the nutritional information and someone figured out that you could have something like 6 ENTIRE diet cakes (regular cake-sized cakes, not slices or cupcakes or anything) to match the caloric intake of one awesome blossom.

    i’ve never had one other than the sample they have you taste when you get hired. but it always cracked me up when someone said something along the lines of “oh, i’m not very hungry. i’ll just have an awesome blossom.” eep.

  114. muckpond says:

    in any case, i think this was a silly article. i don’t want consumerist to be a site where we just whine about bad service. i’d like to focus on stories where bad service occurred, what was done to rectify it (or not), and how to prevent such events from happening in the future.

  115. ivieso says:

    Word of advice: Never create a scene at a eatery. Sure you might get a real pretty plate back with some extra love to it, so you will be happy. Trust me, you do not want to know what that extra love is.

    Mike did the right thing. He didnt say anything and vowed never to come back. I would have done the same.

    And to all of you who have complained before…try to remember if that ranch tasted any different.

  116. topgun says:

    Hey, I agree with the poster to some degree. I can understand him not wanting to upset an evening out with confrontation. I own a restaurant and I or a manager always ask every customer if everything is in order. I personally wouldn’t have allowed it to be served if the presentation were not to my standards. As for the tip issue in my place the waitress keeps it all, and they bus their own tables. The bar tenders are paid a little bit more and do quite well on tips. The cooks are paid the most and understand what I expect.

  117. rb89 says:

    I used to work at the Outback Steakhouse where I live. They have this same item there, but they call it the Bloomin’ Onion.

    Seriously, they’re not hard to make. They’re already pre-sliced into the right shape. You batter it, making sure you get in between each petal and keep them separated, and then you fry it. I think they need some new cooks–perhaps some that graduated middle school.

    At the restaurant I work now, if I tried to give a server something that looked like that, they’d throw it away and I’d make a new one. What restaurant employees often forget is that they’re offering a service AND selling a product.

  118. willgetin says:

    The waiter is not responsible either? What? The waiter absolutely has a part in this. As the last person to see the food before it is given to the patron, he/she has a duty to look at what is on the plate and if it is not satisfactory to point it out before even taking it to the customer. If the chef put a band aid on the plate, should the waiter still give it to the customer?

    Obviously whoever plated this needs to be talked to, it may not have been the chef, whoever expedited this didn’t catch it, the server didn’t catch it, and if that many people didn’t catch it or care, then the management of that restaurant probably is not the best either. I wouldn’t go back.

  119. siblog says:

    I am so glad that someone did this for the franchise dining companies. I have seen the pics for the fast food companies and have always thought that someone needed to do the same to places like Chili’s, Red Robin, Outback, etc.

  120. reimero says:

    Actually, the real lesson here is that if something is sub-par (or extraordinary!) you should let the manager know. I’ve spent a couple of years working in foodservice, so I’m familiar with what goes on behind the scenes.

    “Does it taste good?” is a fair question, but part of what you’re paying for is presentation. If it’s ugly and unappetizing, the kitchen has failed, and if not brought to the server’s attention, it should be brought to the manager’s. If that manager were at all interested in customer service and customer retention, he would have comped the appetizer and/or offered you a future free appetizer or dessert.

  121. vongarr says:

    The only thing being passive aggressive gets you is high blood pressure.

  122. kingoman says:

    @cookmefud: You don’t have to “raise a stink,” but yeah, you have to tell them.

    You can do it on your way out the door if you don’t want it to ruin your dining experience. But if you don’t tell them, how do you expect anything to change? No, telling them doesn’t mean it will change, but not telling them guarantees it won’t.

    I never said you should keep anything private between you and the restaurant. But b*tching to a blog accomplishes nothing except making you feel better. I said if you’re going to complain, at least complain to somebody who can fix it first.

  123. flackman says:

    This reminds me…

    I never had nearly as much fun with my Lite Brite as those silly slackjawed kids on the box. Fuck.

  124. Syric says:

    There’s a lot more that goes into a lousy product than meets the eye. I worked as a fry cook at a northern Michigan Chili’s for two years and have seen all sorts of mishaps that lead to customer disatisfaction. A couple points to be made:

    For starters, the author said that the Chili’s wasn’t busy and there wern’t that many people there. It’s common practice for managers to send cooks home early in order to save labor, and as a result, the managers themselves become the cooks. Considering most managers I’ve ever worked for have little to no kitchen expertise, their best product was often my worst.

    Secondly, Blossoms were the biggest pain in the ass to make. If there was, say, a new guy working the station and he was improperly trained or out of practice, his best efforts would still provide you with what you see in the picture. Since the goal of any establishment is to keep the customers coming back, offering another item off the menu or comping the entire meal is a willing sacrifice for repeat business.

    Corporate restaurants have some of the highest employee turnarounds of any industry I’ve personally witnessed to date. Cooks typically are overworked and underpaid and are rarely given credit for a job well done. To the less devout, sending out garbage or sending out a work of art pays the bills all the same and rarely do they benefit from going the extra mile. Before you guys go and judge an entire chain of restaurants over a single mishandled food item, perhaps come on a different night and/or try a different food item. Unless the establishment’s entire kitchen is SEVERELY incompetent, you’ll rarely have two meals back to back in the same spot that’ll leave you walking away disappointed. Should that ever happen, a simple and polite complaint will almost always yield you free food for your troubles.

  125. 3drage says:

    Once again, commenter posts mess up the story. So much rudeness going on in the Internet world these days. The basement dwellers parents would be proud.

  126. hildoom says:

    Well, though this really sucks for you, im actually very surprised. Chili’s is my husbands and mines favorite place to go eat when i dont feel like cooking. we actually dont order the awesome blossom, both other around us do and it looks almost like the pic. i guess you always come across a really sucky restarant owner or two, but this is very un-common. whatever. just thought i should share. =) now i want a quesadilla. mmmmmmm…..

  127. palegreenstars says:

    Add me to the list of people telling FalconFire that the wait staff does not split tips with the cooks. I used to make $2.13 and hour waitressing, and the cooks made at least $12. If anything, I should have been asking *them* for tips everytime they screwed an order up. =P

  128. SirKeats says:

    that’s pretty funny (the picture). however, i must say, that the few times i’ve ordered this product, it’s always, at least somewhat, resembled the picture. i think the cook in this case has just finished a smoke of the whacky-tabacky or something.

  129. AlisonAshleigh says:

    Am I the only one who would have eaten it without a second thought?
    (and doesn’t condemn the poster for not wanting to? What can I say, I have low standards.)

  130. anita_job says:

    @Falconfire:

    At Applebee’s the kitchen staff get ZERO percent of your tips, and I would assume the same goes for Chili’s. Tips go to Front of the House staff (bussers, hostesses).

    In any case, this is worse than anything I’ve seen at my job. I would have spoken to a manager, gotten it taken out of my bill, and left the same tip for the server. But the server does some of the responsibility for bringing that trash to the table (unless of course the food was run by another server or a busboy).

  131. jnkdaniel says:

    UTSASTUDENT:

    I am in san antonio, and I believed the waiter when I ordered it.

    That was 4 months ago. See the issue?

  132. smarty says:

    @cookmefud: so defensive! Apparently more than just burgers and fries!
    Next time, try asking a manager take it off the bill – exactly what Carey said. It works. I do that about 1 out of 12 to 15 restaurant visits (average number of times something was outside of acceptable). Never once was it a problem or caused any commotion that you seem so worried about.

  133. smarty says:

    @muckpond: Yeah, reminds me of the ads on airline tray tables complaint. Besides, wasn’t there some lawsuit about Burger King burger ads not looking like their ad pics? Or maybe it was McD?
    [www.thewvsr.com]

    Here’s a web site giving instructions on how to photograph foods for ads!
    [www.choice.com.au]

    (notice that last one was from Jan 2002, this is really old news)

  134. blkhrt1 says:

    @utsastudent: yah that’s what i meant. I worded it wrong. 1% of server sales go to each. But still…the back of house (cooks, dishwashers, etc.) don’t get a dime from servers.

  135. evilhapposai says:

    Bad service… I leave 2 pennys as a tip. My “two cents worth” and all that. But this? I step it up a notch and take the plasic menu on top of my water glass put a buck inside and flip it over. Then slide the menu out. Big mess when they go to get the tip, great revenge. Even if they have seen this trick they usually got to take the extra time to get a bucket to avoid the mess.

    Seriously the blooming onions were absolute crap in this post and they should have complained and got at least the screwed up appetizer taken off the bill.

  136. ikes says:

    “Having worked in restaurants I know what often happens when food is sent back.”

    Well, when you support restuarants which actually care about their food and service, you know what happens in a situation like this? THEY FIX IT. Stop dining at corporate freezer-based mess halls like Chilli’s.

  137. Menomena says:

    Wow, that looks like someone already picked through it and left these scraps…three days ago.

  138. chrispiss says:

    I think it’s fairly obvious that the food you get doesn’t look like the picture, especially in casual restaurants like Chili’s. Get over it. If you want a blossom of cheese or whatever that looks like the picture, you’re going to pay a LOT more than what Chili’s charges.

  139. feralparakeet says:

    @AcidReign:

    The Bright Star in Bessemer is awesome, but another great recommendation for Tuscaloosa is the Cypress Inn, which is on the Black Warrior not far from 20/59. Having grown up about 30 minutes from that place and about 10 mins from the Bright Star, and having eaten at both numerous times, I can say that neither will ever leave you disappointed.

    On that note, what Chili’s served was in no way acceptable. I may be a foodie, but I do occasionally dine at chain restaurants, and Chili’s is usually one of the few that are consistently at least decent. I completely sympathize with the OP’s position on not reporting issues to the wait staff; having dated a chef from a high end restauraunt nearby, I know better than to send food back anywhere that isn’t privately owned and of high caliber. Also, I recently had a terrible appetizer at the local high end Italian place, where I was served calamari coated in Fish Fri. I said nothing and paid for my dinner quietly, tipped well as the service was fine, but between a poorly made appetizer and an entree that excluded a major ingredient listed on the menu, I won’t be back.

  140. evoflux says:

    Presentation matters as much as taste. I agree with Mike after having worked in a kitchen before. Saying much of anything about the quality would have caused some sort of retribution. Only difference I would have pulled would have been to walk out without touching it. That is just a difference in personality.

  141. Nilt says:

    @junkmail: “First of all, the server definitely should have taken some of the responsibility for the way the food looked. Unless he/she delivered it blindfolded, that plate never should have made it out the kitchen door.”

    This is absolutely correct. I’d have docked the wait-staff’s tip in a heartbeat. Tipping exists for a reason. The wait-staff’s job is to cater to your needs (not your every whim). When they don’t, make sure you penalize them for it and when they do make sure you tip a bit extra.

    Here’s an example of a great waitstaff:
    My wife and I took a friend of hers form work to a local restaurant a couple days ago. This is a place we frequent because the food and service are impeccable. It happens to be a “greasy spoon” type place with the kitchen in full view of a particular table. Anyhow, I ordered a burger with Swiss instead of Cheddar the other day. The lady waiting on us noticed the cook had given Cheddar and made him replace the cheese. A minor thing but so many would have ignored that.

    The cook had a serious attitude about it. It was chance that I happened to be in the right spot to notice this but the waitress was doing her job well. When paying I thanked her for “watching the cheese” and handed her the tip, including a bit extra above the normal 20% I give for decent service (they do put up with extra crap from me so they get a bit more if they do their job well).

    My main point is that it’s your wait-staff’s job to make your dining experience pleasant, not to cater to the whims of the cook or management. How hard is this concept to understand?!

  142. theretailguy says:

    First of all, I agree with the poster. The picture gives you an approximation of what the product looks like, and should be as close to it as possible. That is restaurant 101. Anything less is failure. Second, the only whiners here are the ones saying that this post is a waste. I love the fact that there is actual evidence of something besides hearsay from all the other mundane complaints. This is what it should look like, this is how it looked. Any questions? And for those that whine about why people would eat such food…..Because it tastes good. I’m a vegetarian, but I’m not dead. Why fault someone for taking part in a guilty pleasure. For gods sake. We are all commenting about a picture of food. If that ain’t the biggest waste of brain cells, what is?

  143. SrtaMaestra says:

    @Falconfire:
    I believe you may have misunderstood the concept of tip sharing. I’ve worked in several different restaurants and NEVER shared tips with kitchen staff. The ONLY time I personally have shared tips was on a particularly busy holiday at one restaurant where we were short on trained waitresses who could handle the rush. Management called in some extra dishwashers to bus tables. Since we normally bussed our own tables, and by having bussers, we were able to wait more tables and earn more tips, the bussers were punched in at the lower, waitress wage, and we were expected to give them enough out of our tips to make up the difference between the waitress wage and their regular minimum wage. If someone is talking about having to share tips, it’s generally in a restaurant where waitstaff puts their tips in a jar, and they are later divided equally, but only among WAITSTAFF. I personally would never work in such an environment because I’ve worked with too many lazy waitresses who earned far less tips than I did.

    In reference to the original topic. While Mike had every right to make a polite complaint, I give him credit for not being the type of person to make any ridiculous complaint to simply get a free meal and abuse the “customer is always right” policy.

  144. BKMK says:

    Regarding the Awesome Blos – you guys are cracking me up. I received the same item and what it is -a blossom stack. Chilis would not serve the onions they normally use because the onions were so small. They used onions petals cut from smaller onions and you can eat 100% of it not like 50% of the awesome blossom. It is essentially the same item. Some times you just need to ask.

  145. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    @cookmefud: I wouldn’t say that smaller restaurant chains go out of business just because the service sucks and patrons silently boycott. A friend of the family had started a restaurant that focused on traditional Hispanic foods. In the end regular customers who started dining elsewhere said that it was because a store down the street offered a menu with a slightly lower quality, but a much better price.

    Of course, I don’t come from a wealthy side of town, so a lot of business is fueled by price and not quality, but I just wanted to mention that with small businesses sometimes it’s just because they can’t afford to offer a better deal.

  146. Anonymous says:

    To: Whom it may concern

    My name is Matthew Combs I work at chili’s bar and grille in North Olmsted Ohio. I have been having numerous problems since I have been there with one particular manger named Pricilla Martel. There have been other employees that have had problems with her as well people had even quit because of her. now I love my job I don’t want to quit I would just like to be treated with respect and treated fair. She has threaten me about my position at Chili’s and has cut my hours, I have another job She knew I had another job when she hired me because of my application I had filled out when I started. I have gone to my general manger about her I have even talked to her about the issues we where having and she tells other associate’s about what we have talked about. And slanders my name. I have been off work at Chili’s for about 3 weeks the first week Pricilla had taken me off the schedule because she said I wasn’t smiling enough and the remaining two I had a calendar written out that I will be working at my other part time job a little bit more. I also thought when you talk to your manger in your office it remains private! My general manger has caught her doing a lot of stuff on camera but yet no one has talked to her. She is spreading rumors about me that make’s it an uncomfortable work environment for me. I have legitimate proof of all of this. And how she is an unfair manger and how rules don’t apply to her. I am very hurt by this I have never been treated like this before at a work place! I just want to be treated fair and with respect.

    Names of other employees are available upon request as well as phone numbers.

    Please fill free to contact me anytime for questions and concerns