Buffalo Wild Wings Would Rather Lose A Customer Than Make A Subsitution

Reader Dan begs our pardon for not having a more egregious complaint, but would like to share his irritation at Buffalo Wild Wings refusal to substitute breaded chicken tenders for naked ones. Lest you assume that Dan was asking for something unreasonable, he writes:

Now keep in mind I wasn’t asking them to scrape bread off my tender or invent some new, exotic expensive dish. I was asking them to just toss in the 4 naked tenders they sell on the menu instead of the breaded ones. I think we can see where this is going. The waitress told me they can’t do that. I was dumbfounded because this seemed like such an easy request. I asked her why and she said the cook can’t do substitutions.

Buffalo Wind Wings stood firm. Dan was not allowed to have naked tenders with his combo, forcing him to purchase less food and resulting in less money for Buffalo Wild Wings. Read his entire email inside.

Dan writes:

Hi guys,

In the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal. It’s not as though InfoUsa is stealing my pension and forcing me to live on dog food or a douchebag at Lycos is erasing all my email but it’s still a fucking irritant to say the least.

I went to a Buffalo Wild Wings in Indianapolis last Wednesday for dinner. The $10.95 ribs and chicken tender combo looked tasty so I wanted that. However, I’m carb conscious and wanted my tenders naked (without breading) which is fantastic since BW3 sells those right on the menu next to the regular breaded tenders for the same price. So I ordered my combo and asked the waitress to substitute the 4 breaded tenders for 4 naked ones. Now keep in mind I wasn’t asking them to scrape bread off my tender or invent some new, exotic expensive dish. I was asking them to just toss in the 4 naked tenders they sell on the menu instead of the breaded ones. I think we can see where this is going. The waitress told me they can’t do that. I was dumbfounded because this seemed like such an easy request. I asked her why and she said the cook can’t do substitutions. I pointed out they sell naked tenders for the same price, can’t he just cook those instead of the breaded ones. She said no again, but I held firm and asked her to check, since there seemed to be a huge lapse in logic here. So she left for 10 minutes (TEN MINUTES!) and returned and said “they” whoever “they” is told her that can’t be done. Since I was famished enough to eat the menu (which turned out to be more flavorful then the naked tenders) I ordered the 6 piece naked tender for $5.95. So they in essence gave up an extra $5 sale to give me 1/2 of the order I originally wanted!!

I can understand if naked tenders didn’t exist on the menu or they were more expensive (although I would have paid the premium) to substitute, but there was no reason why they “CAN’T” substitute, rather they “CHOSE” not to do it, and in turn lost $5 and a customer for life.


So sad and unnecessary. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Wikipedia)


Edit Your Comment

  1. CRSpartan01 says:

    That’s sad. I love BW3, too.

  2. exkon says:

    Really sad, when something goes wrong once and you NEVER go back again.

    I can understand that if something incredibly bad went wrong, like food undercooked or something was in the food.

    But each person to their own.

  3. visualbowler says:

    I’ve never heard of Buffalo Wild Wings, but that does seem very stupid. I work in a restaurant and I can understand if the “naked tenders” didn’t exist on the menu that they wouldn’t substitute it, but it seems so stupid that the cook wouldn’t substitute two of the virtually same items…

  4. full.tang.halo says:

    Odd, seeing that I was at one in Florida just last week and substituted their fries for onion rings…

  5. latemodel says:

    Not surprising. The local BWW just closed after a couple years, during which the common complaint from my fellow diners was poor service.

  6. enm4r says:

    @full.tang.halo: I have done that many times as well, at a few different BW3 in Illinois. This must be a store/shift policy, and is not representative of BW3 at large.

  7. Beerad says:

    Stupid, but as others note not a huge surprise. Considering the ribs are probably glazed in carbalicious BBQ sauce you may be better off overall.

    It seems unlikely this is offical corporate policy and more likely pissy server/cook refusal to be helpful.

  8. Moosehawk says:

    B dubs has excellent food, but their service really does suck. Waiter/tresses never check back in at your table and don’t seem to make any conversation.

    I once was waited on to what I believed to be a mute. I think he said like 4 words to us the entire hour my group was there.

  9. mmcnary says:

    I’m going to be in Indy in August, maybe I’ll try this myself to see if they have changed their tune by then…

  10. faust1200 says:

    Kudos on the photo! 5 Easy Pieces is great. Best customer dissatisfaction scene ever!

  11. Toof_75_75 says:

    Well, one of two things had to have happened…

    1) The cook may just have been in a bad mood and wanted to screw over as many people as possible and you just happened to end up on the wrong end of his misguided rage

    2) Or they may have a policy against it (Even if it is a ridiculously stupid policy) and he didn’t want to end up in trouble over some guy’s carbs

    Regardless, its pretty lame he couldn’t get some naked tenders…

  12. winnabago says:

    I just wanted to mention that BWW isn’t related to, or owned by, any entity in Buffalo. They’re a corporate franchise out of Columbus, Ohio, and I would invite anyone to come to Buffalo for real wings and great service. It’s too bad that you can’t trademark a city, because they are doing a disservice to our name.

  13. @exkon: He did say the chicken didn’t even taste good so there’s that too.

  14. Gopher bond says:

    I’m probably too biased to post a worthwhile comment here. My wife has never, ever, once in the 5 years I’ve known her, ordered something as presented on the menu. Of course, this greatly increases the chance of her order having a mistake (or a big fat booger in it for that matter).

  15. royal72 says:

    yeah that is pretty stupid… from the corporate profile on their site:

    “Our award-winning food and inviting atmosphere, combined with our guests’ ability to customize their dining experience, drives guest visits and loyalty.”

  16. The Walking Eye says:

    @mmcnary: There’s a lot more than one BW3 in Indy.

  17. timmus says:

    That’s really, really bad, especially from a chain that specializes in chicken. I’ll definitely avoid the place.

  18. bambino says:

    @winnabago: Trust me when I say that noone confuses bdubs w/ buffalo. At last anyone sane.

  19. bambino says:

    Least* dammit

  20. DeeJayQueue says:

    This happens in a lot of industries a lot of times, and I think here’s why:

    Most restaurants have switched over to the automatic order entry systems, they’re all computerized. The waitress may not have known how to program in a substitution, or there may not even be a function in there for it. This leads the wait staff to develop a sort of laissez-faire attitude for going beyond what’s on the screen, or for them to believe that the hard set rule is that because it’s not programmed in there, they’re not allowed to do it.

    Also, it may be that they have very tight regulations on food wastage and inventory, and if they sub in naked wings for the breaded ones, there’d be one less set of naked wings and one more set of breaded ones. Doesn’t sound like much, but multiply that over 20 customers a day and it messes up inventory pretty bad, which also may be controlled by computer. These days most places get their food from the same few suppliers and often they come prepackaged and maybe even serving-wrapped depending on the company. It sucks but it’s a slippery slope to start down, so they might just make a hard line and say “no” all the time.

    I know these are all “not the customer’s problem” type issues, and they’re weak anyway, but that’s probably what’s going on here.

  21. foghat81 says:

    This is what happens when a bunch of hippies from Kent State U want to get into the restaurant biz. Friggin hippies.

  22. flyover says:

    BW3 is like hooters without the boobies – crap. I’ve been sick from their food before AND had a separate annoying but not horrible ‘no nuts’ on a salad experience there (see, I gave them TWO chances.)

    Anyone impressed by their array of sauces need to reexamine their standards, and perhaps raise the bar a smidge.

  23. Sonnymooks says:


    I hate to say this, but I would be scared going to restaurants with her.

    Sad to say, I’ve got alot of friends who work in restaurants, hearing some of their stories and pet peeves always scares me when I eat out, and yes, they do “stuff” with the food of customers they get annoyed with.

  24. Morgan says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Clearly, the chef is also a robot, unable to accept substitution orders it isn’t programmed for.

    I, for one, welcome our robotic chef overlords.

  25. iMike says:

    Mmmm. BW3.

    Better for one’s health not to eat there: everything on the menu is fried or contains alcohol.

  26. mindshadow says:

    That’s pretty silly that they couldn’t substitute the unbreaded tenders for breaded tenders. It was probably just a combination of an unexperienced (and unhelpful) waitress and a pissy cook.

    On that note, tonight is wing night! Horray for $0.40 wings! (though they used to be $0.35, but that’s a complaint for another day)

  27. nffcnnr says:

    Dan’s complaint is not surprising in the least. That place is horrible, from my experience. They consistently have unenthusiastic and inattentive waitstaff serving low-quality, lukewarm food. i have had the same poor service whether the place was packed on a football Sunday or practically empty on a lazy sports-less afternoon. They have been BANNED!! since last summer in my book.
    BTW, what’s BW3?

  28. foghat81 says:

    @nffcnnr: BW3 is what they used to call themselves (Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck). In areas where they’ve been around for a while, it’s still pretty common to hear them called that.

  29. acambras says:

    What is “weck?”

  30. acambras says:

    I once wecked my Volkswagen Wabbit. It was a weally big mess.

  31. foghat81 says:

    Weck is short for Kummelweck (or kimmelweck). It’s a type of bread popular in the Buffalo region. I’m guessing it used to play a more prominent role in their menu.

  32. acambras says:


    Thank you vewwy much!

  33. SugarRob says:

    @mindshadow: Wing night in America! Woo hoo!

    I got pretty bummed out when they replaced the local BW3 here in Austin w/ a locally owned wing place in order to “Keep Austin Weird” (a mentality here that anything local is better than everything chain). In the switch, they got rid of the spicy garlic wing sauce which devastated me (although, I’m told the real travesty was when BW3 themselves discontinued their lemon pepper wings in some markets).

    Of note, our BW3 had an ‘order at the counter’ set-up so the only time you had to deal with the waitstaff was if you were too lazy to go to the bar for your drinks or just felt like flirting a little with the better than average looking waitresses.

  34. lpranal says:

    Man, i cant believe how many people are doggin’ on the b-dubs! I love that place! I’ve gotten bad service from one restaurant occaisonally, but they’ve always made up for it with free food, etc. The other ones ive been to have been amazing.

    I hate to play devil’s advocate, but I believe the naked tenders cost more than the chicken tenders. They are sticklers about only serving their lunch menu during lunch, too. But .50 boneless thursdays more than make up for it in my mind.

    Personally, it’s just not a place to go where you are concerned about the healthyness of the food. I go there from time to time to get tasty fried food, and they’ve always delivered.

  35. roche says:

    This many posts and I am the first one to wonder why you didn’t ask to speak with a manager?

  36. Nately says:

    How many carbs do you really think you can save by not getting the breading? More than the amount in the soda/lemonade/ice tea you wash it down with?

    You shouldn’t even bother with waitstaff at a BW3 anyway. Go to the counter and order the mini corndogs instead. Mmmmm….

  37. tinychicken says:

    @winnabago: As a Buffalonian, I’ll second that notion.

    @acambras: kimmelweck is essentially a salted roll. Fantabulous with roast beef. and horseradish. Mmmmm.

  38. FunPaul says:

    The food is yummy but the service is almost universally terrible from my experience.
    My biggest gripe with BW3 is that I always seem to get a craving for them on cheap wing night, which really means even worse service night.
    I’d like to see a double price wings with good service night.

  39. parrott_b says:

    Im in Columbus and have been to way to many BW3’s, including the late original one (R.I.P). I never have problems with substitutions. THey always have a load of specials from drinks too food. I normally enjoy them and go there a little too regually. Not to say they are with out fault but every time I have a problem a mgr takes care of it, or my bartenders. I have even had the bar manager go to the liquour store more than once for my choice beverage. (There Head Mgr like to keep the books low. Dummy)

  40. tinychicken says:

    I took my daughter out to eat a couple weeks ago. On the left sife of the menu they had a variety of sandwiches listed, among them peanut butter, nutella and bananna. My daughter, naturally, wanted that one. We tried to order it and the waitress informed us that sandwiches were only available during lunch. Nowhere on the menu did it specift. Since my daughter is a typically picky 9 year old, I asked her if she could check with the kitchen. Supposedly she did and they told her they would not make it. Apparently nightstaff cannot spread peanut butter on bread or cut a bananna. Needless to say, we will not be going back there. As a sidenote, this is a locally owned restaurant and the owner of the place works in the kitchen.

  41. Batmanjr says:

    Yeah, Buffalo WW has done some crappy things to me as well. They have deals on Tuesday and Thursdays on regular wings and boneless wings, respectively.

    So my friend and I ordered wings on Thursday, thinking that it would be assumed that it would be the special of the day. Yeah, it wasn’t we got boned wings.

    We asked the server about it. He just said, yeah it is X deal today. We mentioned that’s what we had intended. He just said, Oh. Nothing else. We ate the wings as it was, no biggie, but he didn’t even give us the lower price.

    We went back a few weeks later and asked a different server about the situation and she said that she would have at least asked.

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that this was more of just an issue of a bad server.

  42. Buran says:

    More likely they premake the stuff and didn’t want to custom-cook a batch for the customer but didn’t want to admit it… or maybe the waitress was having a bad day and decided to not let the customer have their way.

    Disappointing. Unless the menu said “no substitutions” in advance I wouldn’t go back either — and I make mild changes like this all the time too.

    I have a friend who is a cook in a restaurant, and he agrees that mild changes like this are just fine as it’s no real problem for the kitchen. Weird dishes that they don’t even have ingredients for are another matter, but asking for something that is already on the menu or can be EASILY made from ingredients from other menu items is a legit request — especially if you are really polite and let them know that if they can’t do it it’s no big deal.

  43. FrankTheTank says:

    Obviously no of knows the full story, but I can’t help but think the guy could have been better about this.

    As a former waiter, it’s the difference between a customer who feels “entitled” to something and someone who is considerate enough to realize that a server would be doing them a favor by doing something.

    Is it a huge favor? no, of course not, but it’s nice for people to recognize that someone is going out of their way to do something for them.

    (like Richard vs. Tommy in “Tommy Boy”)

  44. Lee2706 says:

    Not to defend these grease buckets (I love them like any other blocked-arteries American) but the meals all probably come pre-packaged from Sysco or Sodexho or some other mega-food business.

    Shame on BWW for not being able to make a simple substitution. When these places are all trying to turn a buck, they’ll cut as many corners as possible to maximize earnings.

  45. SaveMeJeebus says:

    They don’t score too high in my book. It would be one thing if their wings were bigger than my pinky but they rarely are. They are accompanied by the standard “all chickens are different sizes” disclaimer. Granted, I used to only go on Tue/Thu for the discount but it seems that those are the days they serve the shit wings.

  46. jeffislouie says:

    Dear lord, this place can be a little frustrating at times.
    Here’s how to get what you want in a situation like this. I’m not sure why consumerist can’t figure this out, but with most of the public being ignorant to how to get what they want (within reason) from a restaurant, it is not too big of a surprise.
    Here’s the deal from a former restaurant server, bartender, manager, and general manager….
    The waitress is a nobody. The cook is a nobody.
    The way to get them to make a susbstitution is to ask to speak to a manager.
    Having been a manager, it would take just one thing for you to get what you want in a situation like this – be nice.
    That’s it!
    Instead of trying to talk a waitress into breaking what she perceives to be the rule, ask to talk to the manager. Explain it to the manager and they will ‘get it’ or else they are too stupid to qualify as human.
    Servers do what they are told. Cooks too. But a manager can make exceptions.
    It’s very simple and for some reason people want to punish the unit or the server for stupid, inconsequential nonsense.
    Had you asked a manager and he refused, then I’d agree that they’ve lost a customer. But in this case, you asked the wrong person for an accomodation.
    One of my favorite things to do as a manager was ‘wow’ a customer by accomodating them.
    And if you get bad service, don’t like your food, or have a bad experience in any way – TELL A MANAGER. Your waitress likely doesn’t care much – servers are at the job to make money. If the restaurant fails, they find another job. managers are paid to care.

  47. chimmike says:

    Why is this a big deal?

    I mean, is this all this guy has to complain about in his life? Seriously consumerist. Shame on you for posting something so small and trivial.

  48. bbbici says:

    As a long time waiter i can tell you that cooks are a bunch of whiny losers who couldn’t care less about customer service. I don’t know if it’s because they are jealous of waiters’ tips or what. Maybe it’s because their job is so unglamorous that they cling to the minimal power they hold.

    Over the years I’ve seen several cooks punched and even strangled by waiters because they refuse to make basic substitutions for no reason other than “because i said so”. The cooks spend more time pouting and refusing than it would take to just frigging do the request. Then when the manager makes them do it anyway, they grumpily comply and do a half-assed job.

    the waitress in this case probably knew the cook was a dick and wanted to avoid having to plead with him or elevate things to the manager, so she told the customer straight out that there are no substitutions, regardless of the logic.

  49. Indecision says:

    @SugarRob: “”Keep Austin Weird” (a mentality here that anything local is better than everything chain)”

    Honestly? Sounds good to me. This isn’t to say there’s no such thing as a good chain restaurant, or a bad local one. But really, sounds fine to me.

    Personally, I’ve noticed a mix — the “local chain” — usually works out well. Like Cluck U Chicken and Surf Taco. Usually it means their food and service is good enough to keep them profitable, but they haven’t yet gotten huge and impersonal.

  50. Art Vandelay says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Even in automated systems, you can sub any menu item in that group for another, type in notes about the substitution or, as a last resort, write SEE WAITER on the ticket.

    This makes no sense at all. Customizing an order, splitting a check or an item are extremely easy to do on an automated system. And, when dealing with chicken that probably isn’t breaded/battered until it’s fried, this definitely wouldn’t be a problem.

  51. SOhp101 says:

    Maybe you should have asked to speak to a manager, or asked the busboy for a new table with a new server.

  52. CaptainConsumer says:

    There is a restaurant in Nashville that sells sauce that is THE KIND. Bdub’s (as we call it here) are rank amateurs in BBQ wings or bbq anything.

    That restaurant in Nashville that sells their sauce I recommend shall be nameless since they don’t advertise here but my guess is ____ Nicholson loves it too

  53. coan_net says:

    This past Saturday was the VERY FIRST time I visited a local Buffalo Wild Wings. Normally not a place I would visit because… well I don’t like wings/hot wings. But while searching, I discovered they have the BuzzTime trivia my wife likes – plus they have ribs that my wife likes – and best of all, popcorn shrimp on the kids menu which my sons loves.

    So Saturday, we went there. My wife ordered the ribs/chicken strips combo – she asked if she could get a plain unbreaded chicken breast instead of the strips – where she was told that they had naked tenders, which are like breaded strips – but without breading and grilled – so my wife got that.

    No problems at all. Played 2 games of trivia, had a great meal, and plan on eating there often now that we learned we liked the food and can play trivia while we wait.

  54. monolithic says:

    I used to work as a cook during my stay in college. The reason why they didn’t want to substitute the breaded tenders for the other ones was most likely because they didn’t have them. All of that kind of chicken comes in bags of frozen pieces and to cook them the food is thrown in the fryer. Cooking regular chicken in a fryer would make it fall apart and become unateable. It would have been possible to cook them in a frying pan but I don’t know if they actually had any naked chicken to be cooked or the available equipment.

    I really hate the tabs in IE7. I norally wouldn’t even be using this but I’m typing this from a school computer. I hit alt+r instead of alt+t, I had to retype everything…. damn it.

  55. ElizabethD says:

    Jack Nicholson FTW! He would’ve had the waitress scrap off the breading all by herself.

  56. DjSnipSnip says:

    Most these restaurants (Apple bee’s, Chili’s, ..) don’t actually COOK the food but rather get them pre-seasoned, cooked and frozen. Throw on the grill and get it ready in 15 minutes. Perhaps they couldn’t find frozen bag with naked chicken.

  57. emax4 says:

    The only solution I could come up with was that perhaps the wings are flash-frozen, like McDonald’s fries. They may cook the wings halfway with no or little sauce, let them cool, then flash-freeze them. From there they might be put in a deep fryer and continue being cooked. I only knew about the flash-freezing process from reading Eric Schlosser’s book “Fast Food Nation”.

  58. synergy says:

    @Moosehawk: I don’t know. I’d rather my waiters/waitresses wouldn’t try to make small talk with me. I want them to get my drinks as soon as they can, take my order as soon as they can, and only walk by every 5-10 minutes to check on my drink. If I wanted to chat with them I’d be having dinner with them, not my table companions. Not to say I’m rude to wait staff, but I think their job is to get my food and drink as efficiently/accurately as possible and that’s it.

  59. r81984 says:

    I believe the naked tenders are grilled as they come on skewers.

    The breaded tenders are deep fryed.

    The cook was just being lazy since using the deep fyer is less work then skewering chicken and grilling it.

  60. fredperry2 says:

    Many years ago while working at a popular southern california amusement park hotdog stand, customers would ask me for extra pickles on their hotdogs. So instead of the usual 3 pickles, I would put 5 or 6. One day the manager saw me do this and told me that doing so “screwed up their inventory” and I wasn’t to put more that 3 pickles on any hotdog. The pickles came in big 5 gallon plastic tubs packed by weight. To this day I have no idea how adding a few extra pickles to a customer’s hotdog to make the customer happy would screw up any pickle inventory. I knew very well the manager didn’t count each and every pickle in the tub. I remember raising this concern at the time but got the ever popular “If you don’t like it, there are other people who want your job.” So from then on, three pickles it was. Sometimes the waiter doesn’t have a choice. I agree with some of the comments above, don’t go there again, and send a letter to the main office telling them why.

  61. jitrobug says:

    Hey, that’s from picture is from the movie 5 easy pieces!

    That shot is from Eugene, Oregon.

    I had an even more bizarre “No Substitutions!” experience when the Rogue Brewery opened up a pub here. (in eugene)

    They had this extra fancy burger made from happy cows, and it came with their very own blue cheese.

    I tried to order the extra-fancy organic happy cow meat burger, but with different cheese.. and, nope, cheddar was NOT ALLOWED!

    It was a laughingly strange experience, and in spite of loving their beer, it was my only visit to the brewpub..

  62. acambras says:

    I agree with you — I don’t like chatty or chummy waitstaff. I really hate it when they come to the table and say “And how are WE doing today?” I don’t know about YOU, but I’m hungry, so please cut to the chase and take my order.

    Burgers made from happy cows? That’s hilarious! I’m a carnivore, but I have to laugh. Are the cows really that happy when they’re DEAD?

    Maybe the cheddar wasn’t organic and the bleu cheese was, and if the cheddar went on there, the organic happy burger wouldn’t be so organic (or happy). Still, bleu cheese seems to be something that people love or hate, so it seems disingenuous to nix substitutions.

  63. not_seth_brundle says:

    @monolithic: They did have the naked tenders because that’s what he ended up ordering. He could get them as a separate order but couldn’t get them as a substitution for the breaded ones.

  64. getjustin says:

    Boo hoo. You’ll get over it. If it’s that big of a deal, leave the restaurant and quit clogging up Consumerist with this junk.

  65. swalve says:

    BW3 is ass. There is/was one on Lincoln in Chicago, and I have NEVER had a good experience there.

    But it was silly not to speak to a manager.

    Also, as a former fast food manager, I can tell you that there are just enough cheap-asses out there who will place an order, pay for it, and then say “oh, by the way, can you make that a double?” so they don’t have to pay extra out there to make it miserable for the rest of us who are just disorganized thinkers. That’s why I preface any request with “How much will it be to substitute X for Y?” That usually makes it work just fine. If it doesn’t, and I’m feeling particularly ornery, I’ll play it this way: “OK, I don’t care what it costs, just put 5 ribs and 5 wings on a plate with some fries and charge me whatever you think it costs.” I find that people who are being unreasonable are completely stymied by unreasonable reasonableness.

  66. quagmire0 says:

    This is the kind of stuff that makes customers stop coming back. It’s not a HUGE deal, but it a really, really stupid policy. Reminds me of Target’s exchange policy. :P Anyway, if you’re carb conscious, you should probably stay away from BWW anyways. :D

  67. Keke-In-Pink says:

    As a former employee of Bdubs for several years , I would have gladly subsituted the naked tenders for him. I’ve done it before, and the kitchen had no trouble with it as long as it was noted on the order. Bdubs has bad service because it has a strange “service model.” People get confused, should they order up front or from a waitress/waiter? The waiteresses/waiters spend more time working on their tables than taking out the orders from the front counter, forcing other busy employees to do that duty. While I do agree he should have spoken to the manager, sometimes the owners of the indivdual resturants set rules which make no sense. As cashier, I had to stand all the ketchup/mustard/mayo packets so they were standing upright, instead of just throwing them in there.

  68. Jasmo says:

    it’d be nice if we could get this many comments on a post that actually … meant something.

  69. billybastion says:

    i kind of agree that this isnt that big of a deal.

    i mean, i feel like this has happened to everyone at least once. no big deal, just stop going there and call/email their customer service.

    on the other hand, the bright side is you got to eat less of buffalo wild wings, considering their food is terrible this situation seems like a positive.

  70. tinychicken says:

    Ok, the abundant references to naked tenders in this post are starting to bring out the 13 year old in me.


  71. xanax25mg says:

    @FranktheTank– What do you mean I could have been better about this? I didn’t throw a hissy, didn’t call the waitress a whore I jsut asked her to check if they could make a simple subsitition (and they did cost exactly the same on the menu). I didn’t storm off in a huff, just ordered something different.

  72. xanax25mg says:

    @jeffislouie: I asked the waitress if she could check about that policy, I didn’t think she would go talk to the cook (assuming she talked to anyone) for 10 minutes before she got back to me. At that time, and I was with other hungry people, I just ordered something different than hold up everyone’s meal.

  73. xanax25mg says:

    @elrefai: they did find a bag with naked tenders since I ended up ordering those to eat

  74. xanax25mg says:

    @billybastion: for all those bitching about this not being important—all i did was mail this to consumerist, it was up to ben/megan to decide to post it. You think it’s trivial– take it up with them

  75. kelrod says:

    Something like this just happened to me today at my local BWW.

    I’m trying to cut back on drinking soda, so I asked the waitress for water. A few minutes later she came back to take my order and clued me in to a few lunch specials that included a soft drink. I ordered a chicken wrap special ($7.55 on the menu) without thinking about how it would play out with my water. Keep in mind, the exact same chicken wrap meal, without the soft drink, is $6.79 on the regular menu.

    At the end of the meal I received the bill: $7.55 plus tax. I was never offered a soft drink (not that I wanted one anyway). Not a big deal, I thought, I’ll just have the waitress correct the price to the regular meal, because that is essentially what I ended up with.

    I explained the situation. She goes to ask her manager about it, and a few minutes later comes back and says “Sorry, I can’t change it. The price is what it is. I can give you a soft drink to go, though.”

    I begrudgingly took the drink because I didn’t feel I should have paid extra for something I didn’t get in the first place. I can’t believe that they’re incapable of changing an order after the fact. Needless to say, I was not happy.

  76. tylermorgan says:

    In defense of the waitstaff, usually it’s an overstressed, underpaid cook making those types of decisions; I’ve been in the dining industry for some time, and I’ve never worked with a cook that likes making substitutions – it throws them off, and takes an extra minute. Personally, I believe in customer service, and that extra minute is worth it to create an extremely satisfied customer, as opposed to one who leaves unsatisfied.

  77. LAGirl says:

    damn IT! now i have a craving for wings. thank GOD Hoagies + Wings is right down the street. mmmm…hoagies + wings….it’s in LA for anyone who’s interested:


  78. Yourhero88 says:

    I’ve been a waiter at a point for five years of my life, and though I considered myself considerate and courteous, there were some who were not so.

    Some servers just don’t want to be inconvenienced. It could be easily done, but it most likely (if it is not in the automated system as an option) needs to be told to the cooks, usually in some form of writing (a hand-written ticket) so that they don’t forget. It is very unreasonably, because not only is the company loosing business, but the server in question is loosing valuable tip money, not only by letting her bill shrink, but by refusing a very simple and doable request.

    I’m assuming that your waitress just simply did not feel like taking that extra 30 seconds of effort, and instead of actually asking “them” if it could be done, instead stood her ground and refused to do a damn thing about it. It’s sad, but it happens. Some people just are not plain cut out for customer service, or human interaction for that matter.

  79. WNW says:


    You beat me to it! I drive by that Denny’s every day on my way to work :)

  80. shertzerj says:

    I love BWW. The quality of service really comes down to the individual restaurant; I’ve been in several and have had several degrees of helpfulness among them. I was there last night, actually, and had the friendliest waitress ever. She actually said “bless you” to me from halfway across the room when I sneezed. That’s service.

  81. theapplegod says:

    My take on this situation is probably this “combo” meal came in one pre-packaged carton which would have required the cook to open another carton or bag to meet this persons needs (much like at Joe’s Crab Shack where subs are a no-no).

    I’ve never asked for a substitution before at BWW, so I can’t say I’ve experienced this problem, but I can say their service isn’t the best at the ones I’ve eaten at in AR, OK, and TX.

  82. puka_pai says:

    @jeffislouie: And if you get bad service, don’t like your food, or have a bad experience in any way – TELL A MANAGER.

    And if you have a good experience, TELL A MANAGER. Customers don’t seem to have a problem complaining, but so few ever bother to compliment. If it’s really good, get the corporate number or e-mail address and tell them, too.

  83. Buffalo_Wild_Wings says:

    On behalf of this Buffalo Wild Wings I would first like to apologize for this guests poor experience. Our policy is to “WOW” our guests and unfortunately this did not happen during his visit. Our goal is to meet all guests needs and do whatever it takes for the guest to leave with a smile on their face.

    I will assure that we will substitute menu items, though at times their maybe a reasonable upcharge.

    This guest has been contacted and is willing to give this restaurant another try, and I will welcome all of you to have a true Buffalo Wild Wings experience.

    Wings, Beer, and Sports All the Esstentials.

    Thank you all for your comments,
    Buffalo Wild Wings Castleton’s Management Team

  84. Anna_Banana says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Most places use the Squirrel system. Yes substitutions are programmed into them and yes they are very easy to use. And if you can’t find the substitution you need, (and it happens, people are incredibly picky), you put your finger on the little button that says “see me”. LOL is it that hard? I’ve been in the food service industry for 20 years and never once worked for a place that refused to substitute. Very occasionally they will not substitute on a particular platter, like an appetizer sampler for example. From my experience it’s always been something promotional, temporary item. The inventory thing doesn’t really matter. If two products cost the same it doesn’t matter if you are over on one and short on the other, it evens out in the long run. Corporate only cares about the end results. As long as they are turning in good numbers, that’s what counts.

    It doesn’t excuse them, but I can see why BW3 as a whole has backed up that particular store and refuses to budge. That’s the corporate mentality. That store is only numbers on a page to them. They are number crunchers. And they pit one store against another, creating competition from within, to get the results they want. You can’t expect them to see things from the human aspect. They are locked up in their cubicles with their adding machines. If you want good service, you’re going to have to go to a Mom ‘N Pop.

  85. ZugTheMegasaurus says:

    Wow, that’s crazy to me. I go to a Buffalo Wild Wings pretty often here (in Louisville, CO) and they always have good service. And every time, I order a buffalo chicken salad with no breading on the chicken, and there’s no problem. And the waiters are friendly, too (I actually ended up meeting one of them in a sociology class, and she gave me and my parents a free round of drinks).

    I just don’t want to chalk it up to a bad company when it might be a crappy waiter or manager alone.

  86. dlayphoto says:

    Back when it was called BW-3 (and was still Ohio-based), he would have been taken care of.

  87. buffalo490 says:

    Substitutions of equal value should be honored. As a manager of Buffalo Wild Wings, I find it very disturbing that another manager would not allow a guest to receive naked tenders instead of breaded tenders on the combo. We do not advertise that this may be done, but there are always exceptions to the rule. The #1 priority is the guest, and in this case, I believe the substitution should have been made.

    There is an older couple that comes in on a regular basis and orders the an item off the kids menu which is advertised as 12 and under. Here again I allow this order to be placed as long as the guest purchases an adult drink instead of the kid drink that comes with it. This is how the guest wants their meal, and I am more than willing to accomodate their request.

    Substitutions may be made as long as they are of equal value. I wish the guest had spoken to a manager on duty. This sounds like a server error. The server may have been new and was either not informed or misinformed of our policy on substitutions. Otherwise, it may have been a stubborn manager that needs to reevaluate the priorities of guest service.

  88. Hexum2600 says:

    @flyover: Dude, what ever. Hooters has the worst food ever. EVER. I would rather eat dog shit wrapped up in flayed skin from a giant sewer rat than eat there…

  89. hurling_monkey says:

    In the past year, Bdubs (as we call buffalo wild wings around here) recently opened a restaurant in Martinsburg, WV. I thought it would be great because the other two closest Bdubs are in Winchester, VA and Hagerstown, MD. Both stores in VA and MD have been great. However, the Martinsburg store has gone downhill very fast. When it first opened, there were lines after 6:00 for dinner all the time. Then all of a sudden there was nobody taking names and giving out buzzers. They would say, “just find a table.” The empty tables were overly abundant. I experienced the following four times. I would go in, sit down and wait. I waited and waited and waited. No service. Three times I just got up, left and went to Outback or somewhere else (places that still have waiting lines – even though I hate that, I think it’s an indication). The fourth time, I had enough. I complained to who I thought might be the manager and he didn’t seem to care that I’d been there sitting over 15 minutes, in an almost empty restaurant and still had not been even asked what I’d like to drink. I don’t like that the service sucks, but I also don’t like that in the near future, if this place doesn’t change the way it does business, we’ll lose what could be a great restaurant in my small town (we don’t have many cool places to go). I tried to complain to the main buffalo wild wings website, but there isn’t a link to communicate. There is a survey link, but you need a receipt and since they won’t serve me in a timely manner, I don’t have one.

  90. amp1138 says:

    That’s stupid. I’ve worked at Bw3’s in the kitchen for 3 years, and I don’t think we’re supposed to do certain substitutions, mainly with the sampler platters, but we do anyway.

    I agree that the servers suck. It’s gotten to the point where food would be sitting in the window untouched because the cashiers are tired of running the server’s food. By the time the food is ran, it’s cold and we have to re-make it. So I taught myself to run food, and actually gotten tips, whereas their servers didn’t get tipped.

  91. 310Drew says:

    All I have to say on this matter is BW3 or Buffalo Wild Wings or whatever name they go by now is overpriced and the wings suck.

    If you want good wings, come to Cleveland, Ohio and go to Cleats, they are 10x better and cheaper.

  92. RhodyDave says:

    Yes, as most people have already said – that’s stupid. But it’s symptomatic of the corporate dumbing-down everywhere. Most likely, the company has a no-substitutions policy, much like those zero-tolerance things, which really only nullify any common sense. So rather than have a situation where they can make a customer happy, they have the policy spell out for them that substitutions are not allowed, and that’s all they care about.

    My advice to everyone who is bothered by these types of things is to patronize independent establishments. Usually, if there’s an owner in the premises, or at least locally, you can expect better service and customer relations.

  93. Kimbeegrin says:

    Being the devil’s advocate, after a day’s worth of annoying needy orders, subbing something as simple as even wings can be pretty aggravating. Although if placed in this situation, I would’ve friggen substituted it.

  94. crowquill says:

    Are you sure the server could hear you? I stopped going to the local BW-3 because the place was too damn loud. I liked the food so I would get it to go, but I made sure I checked everything before I left because there was about a 50% chance I was missing something in my order.

    I eventually started driving a bit farther to go to a different location. They rarely screwed up the order, but it was just as loud.

    As Keke-In-Pink mentioned I’m confused by the servers. For years I went to BW-3 without servers. You placed your order, got a number or flashing coaster, and picked up your food when it was ready from the counter. Now I’m supposed to fill my first fountain drink up myself, but a server will get me refills. I’ve yet to find another restaurant where this happens.

    Kudos to BWW for jumping into the discussion.

  95. Anonymous says:

    I am a manager at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Illinois and I would totally make that substitution. I have no idea why that particular store wouldn’t. It sounds pretty ridiculous to me.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I work at a Buffalo Wild Wings as a server. Exceptions and substitutions are frequently made. However, it is up to the discretion of the manager. If you are not part of the “clique” the manager hangs out with, or if you are a server whom the management does not like you will get attitude for asking questions about substitutions or exceptions. Sometimes it is not worth it to ask the manager. They never seem to understand what you are asking them, or they are too busy to care. All they care about is where they are going to go out and drink after their shift is over.

  97. Cach says:

    Where do I even begin? Everything that could go wrong during a dining experience went wrong lastnight at this new Buffalo Wild Wings here in town. I have eaten at one before in Green Bay Wisconsin, but this was my second time here in Dublin, California. We were there entirly way to long, most of which was waiting for things to be fixed that came out wrong, and arguing with the “Manager/Co-Owner” I found out. Our drinks came out wrong, our food came out wrong, we were charged wrong, we were rang up wrong when paying, we had a waitress switch half way through, the manager laughed at us and didn’t offer to take care of one of our meals that came out wrong twice. He was sarcastic, very disrespectful, childish (laughing constantly). Stuttered at everything, especially when I asked for the contact information of someone higher than him, which I didn’t get, only a first name, the list actually goes on and on. I am going to be filing a complaint with the BBB if after I go in there tomorrow and try and find this other guy whose name I got, doesn’t have any compassion either. I have four pages written down that my husband and I sat down and wrote when we got home of everything that went wrong, so that we wouldn’t forget. I will NEVER eat at Buffalo Wild Wings again and will make sure that this gets out, of how I was treated. I am trying to get ahold of corprate at this time.