For restaurants, allergies and other food restrictions are serious business. A sloppy approach in that area could spell disaster for reputation.
But is it possible for a restaurant to avoid every possible oversight?
In a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit, one person offered a more complicated example.
The Original Poster (OP), who has since deleted their account, shed light on some key details in the title for the post.
“AITA for refusing to refund a muslim woman because she unknowingly ate pork?”
OP kicked with some context about her experience level.
“For context, I work as a waitress for an italian restaurant.”
“I am fairly new, so I don’t fully know the ins-and-outs of the menu just yet, and all the dishes have italian names.”
Nonetheless, she felt pretty comfortable on a recent occasion.
“One afternoon, a woman comes in on her own, and I take her table.”
“She points to a pizza on the menu called ‘Pollo e Pancetta’ and asks for it, which I reply no problem and send her order to the kitchen.”
But that didn’t last long.
“About twenty minutes later her pizza has been made and she’s eating it, seemingly content, until, when half the pizza is ingested, she suddenly calls me over to the table looking stricken.”
“She points to some bacon on the pizza and asks me if it’s pork. I smile nervously and say yes, it’s Bacon.”
“Then she starts getting angry and raising her voice. ‘Why did you serve me pork?! I didn’t order pork but you give me pork!’ ”
“I try to explain to the woman that her order does in fact contain pork, and that ‘Pancetta’ means bacon.”
OP then gave her side of the story.
“Now, bear in mind, and I don’t know how to say this in a way that isn’t blunt, but she didn’t visibly look Muslim i.e. she wasn’t wearing a hijab, have a strong accent, and she did not specify no pork either…”
“…(because I normally would send tickets specifying no pork even when people don’t ask, if I can tell that they are Muslim) so I assumed she would want the pizza with no modifications.”
“She started getting visibly frustrated and upset, and wanted her money back, but at the time I decided the fault was hers, not mine, and told her it wouldn’t be possible.”
Nonetheless, it’s remained on OP’s mind.
“She told me I was unfair and didn’t realise the gravity of what i’ve done to her, but she paid her bill and left after that.”
“My supervisor backed my call but i’ve been thinking about it for a few days now. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most people assured OP she wasn’t the a**hole. For them, the responsibility was obviously on one person in particular.
“NTA When you have whatever reason (ethical, religious, allergies, diet etc.) to not eat certain things, it’s on you to make sure and ASK whether the food you’re ordering contains any of these things, ESPECIALLY if the name of the dish is in a language you don’t understand fully.” — Sinjury
“NTA. You did your job as a waitress, you are not obligated to ask every customer about what they eat or what they don’t.. How can you possibly know what she doesn’t eat. It’s her fault for just ordering and not asking.” — IWantToblerone
“NTA I’m Muslim and Muslims usually inquire/ask if the meat is halal or not when they order any food containing meat in a restaurant that serves pork dishes as well. It’s on her for not asking beforehand.” — Amytiss
On a side note, people did challenge one of the supplemental details OP offered.
“NTA. If you have a dietary restriction it is YOUR job to make sure the dish you are eating doesn’t contain it, not the waitress’s.”
“On a related note, even if someone ‘looks’ Muslim, I would tactfully find a way to ask if they have any dietary restrictions before assuming to put their order in as no pork. Some people don’t follow every rule of their religion.” — MandaDian
“You’re making an awful lot of assumptions there and you need to be careful, maybe check with people first rather than just doing it.”
“You can’t tell by accents or looks that someone is a certain religion, and sometimes just because they’re wearing something that denotes their religion – doesn’t mean they follow everything in it.” — RowRow1990
“NTA, as a Muslim, I ask when I don’t understand a word, and make sure with the employees.
“But. As a matter of fact, don’t assume people’s religion even if it’s kind. Make sure you always ask first (eg repeat pizza pancetta with chicken and pork)” — JustOne_Girl
“You know what, YTA. Not for this instance, though. For automatically taking pork off of people’s orders when you assume they look muslim. You should always ask.” — knitmyproblem
Others had some relevant personal experience to share.
“I was a waitress for over 30 years and a common scam people used was to order something and eat until they were full and then suddenly ‘something’ is wrong with it and they want it off the bill so they just eat out for free” — Angelkitty914
“NTA. If she has dietary requirements, she has to state them. It’s what I do in restaurants and ask what would be safe. They normally have to get the ingredients menu out but it means I can be safe. She should have asked what was on it if she wasn’t sure, like the rest of us would do” — onesecondatatime01
“NTA. How was you supposed to know she was Muslim and didn’t eat pork. I’d be “racist” if you made assumptions about her which you didn’t. Her own fault for not specifying that there can’t be any pork.”
“I have a Muslim friend that whenever he goes out he make sure to ask if there’s any pork and stuff even when the dish obviously don’t have pork in it” — jimoboicee
Looks like OP has plenty to take away from her post: a solid amount of assurance and some suggestions about when and when not to assume.