"Waiter, There's An Industrial Bolt In My Outback Steakhouse Potato Soup"

A Florida man dining at Outback Steakhouse found a delicious treat in his potato soup: a two-inch industrial bolt that chipped his tooth.

The circumstances of the chipped tooth are especially sad: the man, James Fetters, and his wife had been at a wake, and stopped at Outback for some food on their way home. When his wife felt too upset to eat the soup she had ordered, Fetters began to eat the soup, only to chomp down on the metal bolt. Outback has offered to pay for the repairs to the man’s tooth, although Fetters says they have been uncooperative.

Man Chips Tooth on Bolt in Restaurant, Outback Plans to Pay for Dental Work [Naples News] (Thanks to Reid!)
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. consumersaur says:

    Aww “nuts!”


  2. Truvill says:

    Wow at the comments on that link.

  3. I agree with the comments posted. You didn’t see a bolt on your spoon? Please.

  4. Alex Chasick says:

    @Truvill: I hadn’t noticed them when I posted this. Definitely amazing.

  5. phate says:
  6. He says:

    Sounds like he chewed off more than he could bite.

  7. catnapped says:

    The restaurant was just adding some extra iron for your diet and you have the nerve to complain!

  8. consumersaur says:

    @phate: haha – you’re right!

  9. kaptainkk says:

    The guy is between jobs and can’t afford the initial dentist visit, but can afford to eat at Outback?!

  10. sir_pantsalot says:

    Was he drinking the soup from a beer bong? I think a two inch bolt would stick out of any spoon I have ever used.

  11. consumersaur says:

    @sir_pantsalot: Maybe he was slurping out of a ladle?

  12. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    They tried to interview the chef but he bolted…


    How do you *NOT* notice a two inch cast iron bolt in your soup. Besides the obvious weight difference on your spoon, it would have made a distinctive *Ting* inside the bowl as it moved around (not to be confused with the machine that goes PING).

  13. graymulligan says:

    OMG…there’s a human head in my french fries! Gimme some monay!

    They guy probably chipped a tooth, had no insurance,a nd decided to screw outbakc out of the money to pay for the tooth.

    How do you not see a 2 inch bolt on your spoon? Wouldn’t it feel funny lifting the spoon up?

    Free meal. Free dental work.

    Scam artist 1, Outback 0.

  14. diablodevil2 says:

    Sorry to agree with the cynics, but…a two inch bolt sticks out in an inch and a half spoon ._.; Not to mention the weight, stark contrast in color (unless it was really thick and stuck to it or something). I mean, mouths are pretty sensitive.

    But, who knows, maybe he was really, really hungry, and talking to his wife about stuff while eating, and just spaced?…really, really hard?

  15. malvones says:

    If it were a scam, the guy would’ve retained legal rep.

    Keep it stupid, Naples!

  16. graymulligan says:

    I can’t even begin to fix the spelling errors in my previous post. Can you tell people like that rile me up a bit?

  17. diablodevil2 says:


    Hmm, on further reflection, I’d like to replace ‘cynics’ with ‘aggressive realists’ >.>;

  18. exkon says:

    2-inch industrial bolt…

    Was he eating his soup with a large ladle?

  19. mgy says:

    I’m with you guys – can’t really see how this guy actually put the bolt into his mouth. Can we do a year-end consumerist round up and bring these people in for interviews?

  20. EnBuenOra says:

    I picked up a pizza from a national chain and there was a rock baked into it, or maybe a piece of asphalt. When I took it back, they had no idea how it might have gotten in there, of course, so they asked me a bunch of questions as if maybe I had put it in there in order to waste my time getting my money back (yeah, no, I didn’t want another of their special gravel-lovers’ pizza).

  21. meadandale says:

    “There was a rat in my soup and now it’s gnawing a hole through my stomach wall. Pay up pleeze.”


  22. jojobreckinridge says:

    My husband once discovered glass shards in the bottom of his beer mug at Outback.

    The manager’s response? “Let me buy you another beer, sir.”

    We haven’t been back since. I can eat a heavily buttered steak at home for a lot less $$$ (and without all the stupid up-selling), thank you very much.

  23. FangDoc says:

    “Since he doesn’t have insurance, Fetters said a dentist’s initial consultation would cost between $300 and $500, not counting the cost of repairing the tooth.”

    Even knowing we’re talking about Florida, that sounds outrageously high. At my office, the initial consultation (limited exam, problem focused, CDT code D00140) would be $79. Throw in another $30 for a radiograph, and you’re still a long way from $300.

    If you don’t have dental insurance, go to a fee-for-service practice that does not participate in any dental insurance plans. A lot of participating providers artificially hike up their fees to make uninsured patients subsidize the underreimbursed procedures on the insured patients. It’s wrong, but it’s virtually endemic.

    And yeah, @exkon: what you said.

  24. TheKingBoar says:

    This is insanity. I’m agreeing with the critics on this one, how do you not notice a 2 inch bolt in your soup? I’d like to see the guys past litigation history, like the woman who sued Wendy’s for the finger in the chili that turned out to be a total scam.

  25. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Maybe it was so dark that the man didn’t see the bolt. Many restaurants these days are so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

  26. spinachdip says:

    There was a bolt in my soup, and such small portions!
    /Converting to Judaism for the jokes.

  27. mfischer1 says:

    Reminds me of family guy…

    “Excuse me waiter, there’s a dead guy in my soup.”

  28. The farking bolt weighs more than a spoon. It is bigger than the laddle portion of a soup spoon. 2″ in size (assuming length) has a head that is about 3/4″ in diameter. And the darn thing would clank against the bottom of the bowl and against the spoon.

    Something smells about this entire claim.

  29. Breach says:

    …How the hell do you miss a giant industrial bolt in your soup? I actually look at what I eat before I eat it

  30. akede2001 says:

    @cedarpointfan: Yeah, that’s what I came here to say.

    Who the hell doesn’t see a 2in ANYTHING on their spoon?!

    Sounds like he just needed some dental work. My guess is that his tooth was already chipped. This just screams scam.

  31. katylostherart says:

    as has been said before, how do you miss something as long as your pinky? i mean i could see it being hidden IN the bowl, but as soon as it’s on the spoon a finger length hunk of metal should be kinda visible.

  32. donkeyjote says:

    They screwed him. He should have gotten the scorpion fruit salad.

  33. induscreed says:

    This was a creamy soup, the bolt was rusted brown so not shiny, and covered in soup. Outbacks tend to be noisy and dark. So if you are distracted, thinking about the departed its fairly easy to not hear the clink of the spoon hitting the bolt moreso in a noisy restaurant. It doesnt sound very different from the spoon hitting the bowl. So very mechanically the guy mustve been shovelling spoonfuls of food into his mouth and may have even wondered wow what a big brown piece of potato. And then crunch/screetch….

    It can happen

  34. joellevand says:

    I don’t get it. A 2″ bolt is unnoticed and he bit into it? WTF? I don’t know about you all, but I usually don’t bite down on my soup spoon, at least not without looking to see what I’m biting into first. And yes, wouldn’t it have made some noise?

    Something just doesn’t make sense here.

  35. elc32955 says:

    I had a problem last year at a local Outback as well. I ordered the dinner Chop Steak (really a glorified hamburger without the bun), it comes with brown gravy and sauteed mushrooms, etc…. Anyway, my meal didn’t look quite right when I received it so I cut into one large gravy-covered lump and I got quite a shock! The lump was a wad of cellophane wrap with some kind of food debris on the underside. I called a manager and it turned out after they looked at it in the kitchen that it was the cellophane off a large serving plate of the Ahi Tuna. The cook thought he tossed the cellophane in the garbage, somehow it missed and went onto my plate. And they served it! OUTRAGEOUS!! I should have took pics & called the health department, but I ended up just getting my and my wife’s dinner comp’ed. Another friend of mine had to sue for damages when his wife had a slip & fall at the same local Outback. They ended up settling out of court.

  36. My girl always complains about the 2 inch bolt.


    Also, SCAM! Although…don’t know why he isn’t trying for mo’ money…hmmm…maybe just needed that tooth fixed, and wants Outback to cover it.

  37. graymulligan says:


    The act of eating soup isn’t like taking a bite of steak…it’s not on the end of a fork, it’s in a spoon. Which means you’ve got to put the spoon into your mouth, and pull the spoon out, using your teeth/lips/tongue. He never felt a 2 inch thing in his mouth before he bit down on it?

    (hehe…2 inch thing in his mouth…hehe. wait..what am I, 12 years old?)

  38. TechnoDestructo says:


    Yeah, that’s got to be some damn thick soup.

  39. Lambasted says:

    Fraud Alert!! How could anyone not see a bolt sitting in a soup bowl? It’s not like he was eating eating soup out of a big tourine with a ladle. Not to mention the bolt would have been sitting on the spoon clear as day.

    This scam artist wants us to believe that between the chef who prepared the soup; the assistant who spoon it into the bowl; the waiter who carried it to the table, no one noticed a 2 inch bolt in the soup. Additionally, bolts don’t float so it wouldn’t have been inadvertently scooped up with the spoon as he was eating the soup. A counterforce is necessary to aid in pushing the bolt onto the spoon as he scooped. Otherwise the spoon would just roll the bolt around in the bowl.

    This is so obviously a scam it’s laughable. I am amazed how quick Outback was to agree to pay, though it sounds like they are having second thoughts about that decision.

  40. APFPilot says:

    Pretty sweet that my tip got posted. My favorite part was the picture of the guy.

  41. emt888 says:

    It sounds fraudish to me too, but after my mom’s wake, I could have had a human head on my spoon and not noticed it, that’s how out of it I was. Could be fraud, could be true.

  42. drjayphd says:

    @elc32955: I shoulda done that. One time when we were at the A&W in… I forget the mall, but it was in Stamford, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, and got a bonus screw. As I was seven at the time, I didn’t bother asking for a refund, thinking “hey, let’s call Inside Edition!” (new toy, we just got it on our CBS affiliate).

    Needless to say, we haven’t been back since. Then again, that location doesn’t exist any more. COINCIDENCE? ;)

  43. silencedotcom says:

    Most places you have to pay extra for industrial bolts in your soup. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us!

  44. macinjosh says:

    I’m gonna write this in to Mythbusters

  45. Coder4Life says:

    This exact thing happened to me at Old Chicago a screw just like that one.. The manager came out made a joke, I didn’t chip my tooth or anything. He gave us our $50 meal for free, but he didn’t offer us anything after that. Dammit I wanted to sit there and drink some more..

  46. katylostherart says:

    @drjayphd: i miss that a&w. no one does decent rootbeer floats anymore.

  47. chutch says:

    I’m usually the last to jump on the blame the consumer train when it pulls through – but this is a scam. No matter how dark or noisy the restaurant, distracted the man is, creamy/chunky the soup, or large the spoon is – there’s no chance you wouldn’t notice a gigantic bolt weighing down the spoon you are eating from.

    While I won’t join your average blame the consumer express, I call things as I see them. SCAM!

  48. Scoobatz says:

    I noticed in the video the Florida man indicated he bit into a “large” industrial bolt, not a 2-inch industrial bolt. Just curious if the media helped embellish the story to the point of inadvertantly destroying its plausibility.

  49. ClankBoomSteam says:

    So… Outback is now serving Bullshit Soup?

  50. Jesse in Japan says:

    How the hell did he not notice something that big while eating soup? He was eating with a spoon, right? How did he not see that in the spoon while bringing it towards his face?

  51. jojobreckinridge says:

    After going back and reading the article, I’ve come to the conclusion that the industrial bolt in fact fell out of Mr. Fetters’ own industrial-sized head.

    Dude is unemployed and can’t pay for dental work, but has no problem eating at a restaurant where patrons regularly plunk down the equivalent of a car payment for a giant fried onion and 7 ounces of beef.

  52. Scoobatz says:

    OK. Let’s say it was a 2 inch industrial bolt and, for the sake of argument, that it is somehow possible to not see it on the spoon under the guise of thick potato soup.

    But, how can you balance a bolt that big on a soup spoon and manage to maneuver it from the bowl to your mouth without dropping it on the table? I bet this guy always won the egg drop race at summer camp.

  53. dakotad555 says:

    How dare all of you question this man. He was clearly in a state of greif when eating the soup(take a look at his photo in the article, there are still tears in his eye), having just come from the wake of his brother, who passed away after chocking on a railroad spike that was in his pizza. When you’re in intense emotional pain, sometimes you miss somethign like a massive iron bolt in your soup. It could happen to anyone.

  54. ironchef says:

    keep your fingers away from that man’s mouth…he might eat it!

  55. thalia says:

    I was going to ask how on earth this guy didn’t see the bolt before he ate it, but then I saw his picture…yeah, he doesn’t look like the type who actually watches what he eats, if you know what I mean.

  56. RvLeshrac says:


    2″ industrial-grade steel bolts weigh something on the order of 1/4lb.

    You’re telling me he didn’t feel the massive weight on his spoon?


    I’m sure they got a look at it, and even a 1″ bolt would have some heft. It would certainly weigh more than the potatoes.

    As others have written, it would likely roll off the spoon.

  57. RvLeshrac says:


    What’s that saying?

    Oh yeah, “shit happens.”

    They definitely should have comped your meal, but people make mistakes.

    Unless you’re saying that you’ve never made a mistake at your job, ever?

  58. nedzeppelin says:

    i never eat at outback anymore.
    i ate at the outback near purdue university 5 years ago, it was the only thing i ate all day (other than a snickers bar), and the only time i’ve gotten food poisoning! i was up all night puking every single hour on the hour. and guess what… i had the potato soup.

    i called the manager the next day, he didn’t care. he asked what i had to eat and if anyone i was with got sick. well.. they didn’t, but we all ordered different things! he must not have believed me or something, he offered no compensation and never called me back. i didn’t get to digest any of the food i paid for, it all wound up in the sewer, and on top of my miserable night of intense vomiting you’d think he might be a little sympathetic


  59. CyGuy says:

    One plausible idea?

    The article says it was a “cup” of soup. And that it was wife’s and was going to be left uneaten otherwise. As the guy known among my friends and family as the human garbage disposal when it comes to leftover food at a restaurant, I could definitely see the guy (who also looks like he has a ‘healthy appetite’) grabbing the whole cup and drinking it from the cup. Typical restaurant soup cups are heavy stoneware so the weight wouldn’t have been noticed, and the bolt could have hit his teeth when started drinking it.

    I don’t 100% buy this myself as an explanation, but it would seem like a plausible one given what facts we are given. Also, another point in his favor is that there were four people in the dining party, I could see a guy pulling this with only his wife there, but it said they were eating with another couple. I can’t see many people going along with getting a comp’d meal from Outback when they knew their ‘friend’ had slipped the bolt into his own food.

  60. I think it’s a mixture of truth and lies….

    I suspect:

    Man already had chipped tooth.

    The bolt REALLY WAS in the bowl of soup.


    the man found bolt BEFORE biting into it


    He figured he might as well say he DID bite it and had chipped his tooth on it, in order to get his tooth fixed.

  61. Baron Von Crogs says:

    They’ll pay for the dental work but I doubt they’ll pay for any pain and suffering ‘damages’. This is just too fishy and smells of scam. Where did the bolt come from? Chances are it’s not even soup thats PREPARED at Outback, but rather just heated up there so you’d have to go after the distributor.

  62. chutch says:

    Now I have my proof. I just found the “copycat” recipe on another site. This is such a scam.

    * 5-6 large potato, 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk, 1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed, salt, pepper, garlic

    * sour cream, bacon bit, shredded cheese, green onion top, 1/4″ bolts

    1. Wash, peel, cut potatoes in small pieces.
    2. In medium size pot, barely cover with water, boil until cooked but still firm; drain.
    3. Add milk and cheese to potatoes; cook on low stirring constantly until cheese melts. Season to taste. Do not boil.
    4. Ladle into serving bowls and add toppings of sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese, 1/4″ bolts and green onion tops.

    It’s not even the right sized bolts!

  63. unravel says:

    @CyGuy: Bravo! That’s definitely plausible (and I know this because I was thinking the same thing. And I’m always right, even when I’m not)

    Couple of questions for the “This has to be a scam! I mean, he’s unemployed, and doesn’t have the $300-$500 for a dentist, but he’s eating at Outback?!!!1” brigade.

    – Have we established he was paying? I mean, it’s not unheard of for people to buy other people meals, especially when they know that person’s going through rough financial times, or something bad has happened and they desire company.

    – If you were unemployed, and weren’t *broke* but still had to watch your money, would you be willing to pour $300-$500 of your ‘cushion’ into a dental visit, which was needed through no fault of your own? Putting your faith in an *insurance company* to reimburse you down the line? I’d be like “Hi! You need to pay for this upfront because I can’t” – even if I could. Just so I knew that it was done, that I wouldn’t have to fight to be reimbursed, that they couldn’t weasel out of denying my claim, so that they couldn’t try to dick me around to the point where I had to hire a lawyer, or go after them in small claims court.

  64. Regardless of whether or not this is true, i don’t care. The potato soup at outback is one of my favorite foods of all time! i’ll still eat it!

  65. spinachdip says:

    @unravel: I think there’s a tendency in teh internets communities, not just Consumerist but anywhere with commenting (YouTube comes to mind), where people are so eager to call “Fake!” that they’ll ignore perfectly plausible explanations.

    Not saying I buy this story, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility either. Yeah, it takes a lot of coincidences for this story to come together, but that’s why it’s made its round in the first place.

  66. Never order anything at a restaurant that says “High in Iron” on the menu.

  67. legwork says:

    “How do you *NOT* notice a two inch cast iron bolt in your soup.”

    Ah, cast iron you say. Good to know.

    “2” industrial-grade steel bolts weigh something on the order of 1/4lb.”

    Ah, yes, 1/4lb. Because there is only one diameter, type, and composition of 2″ bolt. Yep. Mmm Hmm.

    Is the victim some kind of fastener god who can convey precise specs with so few words? Give me his number. I could use his assistance on some BOMs.

    Given the near limitless variety of threaded fasteners, yes, a 2″ “bolt” could be very difficult to notice, especially if the guy were slurping/spooning from his cup.

  68. ironchef says:

    He’s going to show up in court with a neck brace for the sympathy vote.

  69. SomeoneGNU says:


    “Given the near limitless variety of threaded fasteners, yes, a 2” “bolt” could be very difficult to notice, especially if the guy were slurping/spooning from his cup.”

    Let’s go on the assumption he didn’t notice it in the soup, which I find hard to believe. So he puts it on his spoon, let’s assume he didn’t notice the fact that something larger than his spoon was now on his spoon. Surely, once he put that two inch bolt in his mouth he HAD to notice something? As soon as the bolt hit his tongue he should have known something was up.

    Or, if he was slurping as you suggested wouldn’t he notice this 2″ bolt being slurped in? Go ahead and try.

    There are parts of this story that don’t make sense both for and against him. Like having another couple there or the lack of lawsuit would lead me to believe this is real but the “physics” of it make it hard to believe it’s not a fake. However, in the end, I’m saying fake. A 2″ bolt is hard to miss, even more so when it’s larger than the average spoon. Without being there and actually witnessing it we can only go by the two sides which both seem to disagree already.

  70. Coles_Law says:

    If this isn’t a scam, at the least, they grossly exaggerated “industrial bolt”. I have a feeling “machine screw” is more appropriate. A No. 8 or No. 10 machine screw 2 in. long wouldn’t weigh a whole lot.

    Still very unlikely though.

  71. skizmal says:

    I had a similar experience at a local restaurant. Place is called McGurks in O’fallon, Mo. Was eating a pretty expensive steak and when I was almost finished with the meal my wife looks at my plate and responds, “what’s that on your plate?”. Turns out it was about a 1 1/2 ” bolt. Called the manager over to show her. She seemed a little apprehensive when she took my plate back to the kitchen but came back and apologized. She said it came from their salamader (some type of broiler).

    Was comped rather well. They cooked me another steak and all the sides (didn’t ask for it, hell I was almost finished with my original meal, had them box it up to take home) gave us both desserts. Told us everything was on the house. Then the manager came back when we were getting up to leave and gave us a $50.00 gift certificate. Above and beyond in my opinion.

  72. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I was thinking the same thing.

    On the other hand, it says the restaurant has been uncooperative. I don’t blame them. Its a coin flip, some will use it as evidence against them to try to hit the lawsuit jackpot, while other genuine people will be happy and persuaded not to sue by the cooperation.

  73. Walter Sobchek says:

    I’m from Naples, and I know a lot of people who used to work at that Outback. That’s why I don’t ever eat there.

  74. Walter Sobchek says:

    @Walter Sobchek:
    I take it back, the GUY was from Naples, the Restaurant was up north somewhere. I’ll still pass.

  75. The Porkchop Express says:

    @che_leo: Not if he thought he could pull it off without getting a lawyer.

    He may have just wanted to get his tooth fixed for free, but it may have been chipped somehow else.

  76. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Happened to me in a chicken soft taco in a newly opened Chili’s. They explained that the lettuce chopping machine probably hadn’t had all its parts tightened on arrival, making the screw vibrate out of the works. Had I actually bitten the thing, I’d have been plenty pissed. Seeing as how they merely took my food away, offered me anything on the menu plus a boatload of free meals, I chalked it up to opening jitters. Hey, it was a reasonable explanation. Things happened. If I’d actually bitten the thing, I’m sure their insurance would have paid for any damage, anyway.

  77. I call shenanigans.

  78. mariospants says:

    There’s speculation that the guy is scamming Outback.

  79. mathew says:

    See, this is why you should never bolt your food.

    I’ll be here all week.

  80. kimshot says:

    I once found a screw in a mushroom swiss burger at Ruby Tuesday. It must have been sauteed with the mushrooms, because it was melted under the swiss, and looked like a mushroom. Fortunately, I noticed it before I bit into it. Unfortunately, I had finished almost the entire burger before I noticed it. The manager paid for my meal, offered another free meal, and comped my drinks and my friend’s drinks.

    On another note, I also once found a toy ring in my movie theatre nachos. The kind of ring with an adjustable band that you’d buy from a gumball machine. It was dark in the theatre, I thought it was a piece of chip that had fallen in the cheese, and it was in my mouth before I realized what it was. This happened at a small, locally-owned “dollar theatre”. The manager’s first question was, “Are you sure it’s not your ring?” I’m 30–I don’t buy rings from toy machines. Then she tried to defend herself by saying that she had no idea how it could have gotten in there, because the cheese comes from a cheese machine. I said I didn’t know, but I almost swallowed it. She asked me what I wanted her to do. I was totally caught off guard that she was trying to blame it on me and I said that I should at least get a refund of the $4.50 I spent on the nachos. She very reluctantly handed over the money and glared at me as I walked out.

  81. joebobfunguy says:

    I still think it’s amazing these chains don’t actually make the soup from scratch. They just open a plastic bag, pour it in a pot, and heat it. You gotta remember, this is the news, so it was probably a small screw.