Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

4 Ways to Complain in a Restaurant in English

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 07:46 AM

how to complain in a restaurant in EnglishDo you know how to complain in a restaurant if something goes wrong?

What if your food is cold?

What if it's taking a long time for your food to come out of the kitchen?

What if the waitress brings you a dish that you did not order?

You have to complain!

But in order to do that, you need the right words and phrases.

In today's article, I will give you four scenarios and a few ways to complain in each situation.






Scenario #1: Your food is cold

  • plate of food"I'm sorry to bother you, but the food is quite cold."
  • "Excuse me, but my food is cold. Could you warm it up for me?"
  • "Sorry, is this generally served cold?"
  • "Sorry, I am not sure why, but my food is cold. Could you take care of it for me please?"




Scenario #2: You got the wrong order


  • "I'm sorry, but this isn't what I ordered"
  • "Hi, is this the ____ that I ordered?"
  • "Sorry, but I think I got the wrong order."




Scenario #3: The food is taking too long


  • "I am so sorry to bother you, but we have somewhere to be. Could you check on our order?"
  • "Any idea how much longer it will be?"
  • "We're running late. Do you know how soon we'll be able to get our food?"
  • "Is there any way that the chef could speed up our orders?"





Scenario #4: You don't like or can't eat your meal


  • "Sorry, but I ordered a mild version of this dish and this is quite spicy."
  • "Excuse me, this isn't what I was expecting at all. Could I try something else?"
  •  "I apologize, but I thought this dish was something different. Could I try something else instead?"


Do you want to learn more about this topic and practice using these phrases with a native speaker? If so, try our conversation program by clicking the button below. See you soon!



Schedule your free trial session now!



 Photo credit: Rob Boudon,

Topics: English Lessons, Vocabulary Workshop, Cultural Competence

Speak with Confidence

practice English now with native English speakers

Monthly Newsletter


English Podcast


American English conversation listening podcast

Nominated Top 100

Top 100 Language Lovers 2012

1. Top Language Lovers   Top 100 Final

Business English


Subscribe to this Blog

Free Trial Lesson



"Every day I read the English and Culture blog and I love it."

-Student of English and Culture

Connect with Us

Free Practice Guide


Latest Posts

Resources for You


Student Testimonial

business English student Boston

"My classes with English and Culture have been awesome. I have been taking the classes for almost two months, twice a week and I am really happy about my improvement. Now I feel more comfortable and secure when speaking English and more fluent, too."

-Elkin, Colombia