To be enormously disappointed in Pizza Express?

(95 Posts)
Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 17:45:09

Please don't flame me...I'm still quite upset and trying to figure out whether I'm over-reacting!

I went to Pizza Express for a celebratory lunch with some work colleagues last Wednesday: they took me out and chose it because I'm vegetarian (for religious reasons).

In fact we all ordered vegetarian options (by chance) and I went for the new 'calzone verde'. I double checked (as I always do) that the waiter had written down the veggie option (they had).

Half way through my lunch, I realised that what I had thought was the base of the pizza (bear in mind it is folded over and full of gubbins, so hard to tell) was actually a bloody enormous slice of pig shock shock.

Opened up the remains to discover this wasn't an 'accidental' piece of meat, but was in fact a meat pizza...totally full of stuff that I would never ever ever eat sad sad

Spoke to the waiter (politely!), who called over the manager, who didn't say anything, just walked off with my plate. Left everyone else finishing their lunch, unsure of what was going to happen.

Eventually (about 10 mins later) he came back to the table to apologise, said he didn't know what had happened but wasn't the real manager so could only report to head office. He took my contact details and told us he wouldn't charge for lunch, then quickly cleared the table and said goodbye to us.

Didn't offer me a replacement meal, or a drink, or a dessert or anything, and pretty much hustled us out of the restaurant.

Bit weird? We thought so... We ended up going somewhere else for dessert, which felt very odd!

Pizza Express phoned me the next day. Apologised for the error (fair enough), said they were investigating process with the kitchen (fair enough) and offered me a single free pizza for my trouble. I thought that was a bit mean, but life is short, so I accepted (nicely!). The guy on the phone made a big fuss of how he wanted me to get in touch when I had been for my 'free' pizza to let him know how I found the service hmm, and said he would email me a voucher immediately.

AIBU to be quite pissed off that a) a week later he hasn't emailed me any blinking voucher and b) that I was only offered a single pizza after a major kitchen cock-up?

I'm holding off on phoning them up to complain until I get sanity checked by the MN crew grin !

WereTricksPotter Wed 30-Oct-13 17:48:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ZangelbertBingeldac Wed 30-Oct-13 17:48:52

No YANBU, that's really bad!

And it's not even a 'free' pizza!! Surely it's just a replacement for the pizza you couldn't eat!

Did they charge you for the meat pizza?

SaucyJack Wed 30-Oct-13 17:50:47


I'm also veggie and I too would've been upset, but I fail to see how any number of free pizzas would make up for the fact that you'd accidentally been given meat.

Coconutty Wed 30-Oct-13 17:51:12

I wouldn't accept a single free pizza. I would be emailing someone higher up to tell them how disgusted I was.

I don't think it is an over reaction. As far as what I would do, I would send a letter to HQ detailing what happened and never darken another PE door.

azzbiscuit Wed 30-Oct-13 17:51:18

Some restuarants are shit. Even if others in the chain are good some individuals ones are not. Best thing is to vote with your feet and not go back. No point starting a vendetta against them.

Sirzy Wed 30-Oct-13 17:54:01

I think giving you a free meal (for a group of you) and a voucher for a free pizza is just about acceptable. Not ideal and it wouldn't have me rushing back there but they have apologised and accepted they were at fault.

CatAmongThePigeons Wed 30-Oct-13 17:56:17

YANBU. I once sliced my hand open on a soap dispenser in one of their stores, I had to kick up a fuss to get the correct treatment and put it in the accident book, but my whole three course plus coffee and soft drinks meal was free on the spot.

I am amazed that they didn't know what was in the bloody pizza or that they didn't give a flying fuck.

CatAmongThePigeons Wed 30-Oct-13 17:56:48

YANBU. I once sliced my hand open on a soap dispenser in one of their stores, I had to kick up a fuss to get the correct treatment and put it in the accident book, but my three course plus coffee and soft drinks meal was free on the spot.

I am amazed that they didn't know what was in the bloody pizza or that they didn't give a flying fuck.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 17:56:48

Thanks all....its a relief not to feel like the madwoman in the attic!

Obviously I was very fairly upset at the time to have been fed a meat pizza, but I accept that accidents happen...(I also accept that if I wanted to be 100% certain my food was vegetarian then I should only eat in veggie restaurants (and I would have preferred that, but there's none near my office!)).

I'm more upset that this was the Customer Experience team from HQ who followed up with me, gave me a crap offer and then haven't delivered on the crap offer!

I completely accept a single branch, with an acting manager, might cock up occasionally....but HQ?! shock I mean, where do I go from here?!

FannyMcNally Wed 30-Oct-13 17:58:04

To me it sounds like they are taking it seriously. Ok, I'm not sure why they didn't offer you an alternative but maybe they couldn't be sure at that point of the authenticity of their vegetarian options! They gave you all a free meal, followed it up with a phone call from higher up the chain and promised you a free pizza. I would follow up why it hasn't materialised. Apart from that what more do you want them to do?

Snargaluff Wed 30-Oct-13 17:59:17

I would post on their Facebook page. See how quickly they send your poxy voucher then! I'm really surprised as I've always had such good service from PE

CoffeeTea103 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:00:05

Apart from them not giving you the vouchers I think they appropriately dealt with the problem.

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 18:01:08

Did they not charge any of the group for anything they had for lunch (presumably pizzas and drinks at that point)? And did he tell you at the point that he came back that your meal that day would be free? If so they probably rushed you out to avoid the awkward question of whether you then just had carte blanch to order a load more stuff on the free tab!! grin

I think it was a terrible mistake, but I do think free meals all round, including for yourself albeit at a later date is resonable recompense.

What do you feel would have been reasonable?

Mintyy Wed 30-Oct-13 18:02:43

I think this has been badly handled. It was a HUGE mistake, the manager at the time and everyone else at Pizza Express should have made more of it.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:03:30

Thing is, it didn't feel like a free meal...4 of us had a main course each (although I only got half of mine) and drank tap water. We had planned on having coffee and dessert but weren't even offered the option.

At that point, I feel like PE owe me a proper meal with my colleagues, or at least some coffees and desserts or something- it felt very odd leaving the restaurant and then having to work out where on earth we were going to go to finish our meal....!

FannyMcNally Wed 30-Oct-13 18:03:53

Like what mintyy?

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 18:04:44

That is a really horrible thing to have happened and I don't blame you at all for being upset. I don't really think their response was lacking generosity in principle though. If I read this right you all got lunch free (albeit I don't understand why no replacement was offered to you then and there) and they have now called you and offered you a voucher for a free pizza. Obviously if they don't send the voucher it's not generous at all!! I wouldn't have expected them to offer you a whole group meal free the 2nd time.

ivykaty44 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:04:55

I would email the head office and let them now that it was bad enough that you had awful unmeat free food - but what is worse is that you have been offered a pizza voucher straight away and it has not arrived so you can't work out whether they just don't care or are incapable of looking after customers

Thats the email address for the CEO

Sirzy Wed 30-Oct-13 18:05:36

Why did you leave before you had all finished? Surely one of you could have said "we haven't finished yet and would like...."

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 18:06:58

You could have said 'no thank you, just replace my pizza free of charge and we will continue our meal'.

I think YAB a little U to expect them to provide everything you wanted for free. You could have asked them to bring up the 25 yo port next I realise that is unlikely but you know what I mean?

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:09:12

Sirzy in retrospect, you're right. But it was all a bit odd - the manager had disappeared with my plate of food for 10 minutes, without anyone telling us what was going on. The others had finished eating. We just sat there waiting for someone to come back...when he did, it was basically to tell me that he couldn't do anything except tell HQ.

Then he said 'and of course we won't charge you'. And I said "well, of course you won't charge us". And there was a moment when he looked a bit confused, then said 'absolutely. sorry again. HQ will be in touch. goodbye' and walked off. So we looked at each other and decided that since we weren't being given the option to order dessert (and didn't feel comfortable asking in the situation) we should just leave. All other waiting staff completely ignored us during the entire process, from the moment I told them what I had found in my pizza....

TEErickOrTEEreat Wed 30-Oct-13 18:10:42

Tweet and Facebook. At least get your voucher.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:13:00

Your initial post says he said he won't charge you, cleared the table and said goodbye to yourll. But now you say he said no charge, then walked away?

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 18:13:32

I think at the point where you and the manager agreed the meal was free you had to leave. They couldn't really be expected to have a group of customers on an endless free tab.

I'm not making light of their error- just looking at it from the business' point of view.

HaPPy8 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:14:48

I think YABU. You didn't have to pay for your meal and nor did your colleagues. What exactly do you want from them? They can't change that they made it mistake. Have you never made a mistake? Yes it was a biggy if you are vegetarian, but still, in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that big a deal. Sometimes things go wrong. They apologised. That should be end of it really.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:01

Um, sorry...I can't remember whether he cleared the table or didn't at that point. It was all quite fast...bear in mind there were only 3 plates to clear, so I'm not certain whether he walked straight off or whether he said that, then took the plates with him.

I think there were still plates on the table when we left, but I really can't recall accurately. Does it matter? I'm really not drip feeding!

Mintyy Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:33

Like provide her with a replacement meal for a start! And perhaps a complimentary round of drinks for her party?

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 18:15:43

I do think that you can judge a restaurant or shop for that matter on how they deal with complaints. It sounds like it was the manner of the way it was dealt with that was so weird. Rather than coming over and apologising profusely and then saying "what else can we get you free of charge?" they just didn't speak to you. That would make me feel weird and annoyed too. However, your pals did end up with a free lunch which isn't too bad!

silvermantella Wed 30-Oct-13 18:19:29

On one hand getting four free meals, and a voucher for another, is actually quite a good deal for one messed up meal. It's also not really their fault you were drinking tap water rather than soft drinks or wine, don't really see how you can complain about that! Also, like others have said, I don't see how they physically made you leave the restaurant, surely you could have said if you wanted to stay and have coffee etc, even if you ended up paying for that part??? They probably wanted to rush you out so other diners didn't hear what was going on, but you could have stood up for yourselves if you didn't want to leave!

On the other hand, it does seem like you personally got the raw end of the deal, as your friends all got their meals free, even though there wasn't anything wrong with them, and you were the one who only had half a meal, had to do the complaining, and had the upset of having unexpected meat as a vegetarian. I think their overall response was quite generous but understand how it doesn't seem so to you, who is only really getting one pizza out of it.Personally I think your work mates should have paid for your dessert and coffee in the next place as a thank you for their free meals!

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:20:30

In answer to the other points: at the point when you've fed a meat meal (not a stray bit of meat, but a properly cooked meat meal) to a vegetarian, I do think you should offer a) a free meal (and to the rest of the very small group - not if there had been 12 people!) b) a free dessert or coffee "as a gesture of goodwill" (again, there were only 4 women on a work lunch : it wasn't going to be a huge tab) and c) not make them feel uncomfortable.

Leaving that aside, once HQ have been informed and got in touch they should make certain that any offer they do make (regardless of whether its a free lunch for 100 people or a free pizza for 1) is followed up on. And in this instance, I think lunch for 2 would have more 'authenticity', since I'm hardly going to go for a pizza on my own and right now I have no desire to encourage any of my colleagues to pay for a meal there....!

MegBusset Wed 30-Oct-13 18:20:47

Pizza Express service is really hit and miss - of the two near me, one is great and one is rubbish. Their Twitter feed is basically spent responding to the constant stream of complaints!

Anyway, I think in the situation you could have been more forthright and asked for a replacement pizza (free of charge) and to continue your meal. But it sounds like the manager was really crap at handling it too. I think head office's offer of a free pizza is fine though tbh.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 30-Oct-13 18:21:59

Yes it does matter, because if he cleared the plates out and 'hustled' you out then that was bad service. But if he walked away, he didn't hustle you out and you are making a bigger issue than it is. I don't see how at any point you or your friends couldn't have asked for he dessert menu.

californiaburrito Wed 30-Oct-13 18:25:51

Filly I don't have any advice for you but I can sympathize. Pizza Express once served my DS a bowl of pasta sauce (yep, no pasta, just the sauce). Apparently, the waiter explained to me that they had no pasta hmm and I explicitly stated that I still wanted the sauce hmm hmm. The manager also said that "of course, they wouldn't be charging me for the meal" and offered no replacement. Some people are just idiots.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Wed 30-Oct-13 18:25:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:27:20

We were definitely made to feel that we should we left, my colleagues were all commenting on how weird the whole thing had been!

Not that it matters, but they were taking me out for lunch, as it was my last day managing the team grin They would have been happy to pay for my meal as well as their own, and of course they paid for dessert elsewhere... no-one was particularly excited at the outcome of having a special lunch spoilt but saving a tenner.

FourAndDone Wed 30-Oct-13 18:30:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:08

Thanks for all the comments - it's been helpful to get a feel for what everyone else thinks. I'm aware that I'm a little sensitive about it!

I'll drop them a line by email tomorrow and see what comes back. Shan't be holding my breath though grin

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 18:38:23

Do you think it was because he didn't mean the whole thing was on the house and then when you said that he felt he ought to agree but felt strange about it?! Not sure if that's making sense but perhaps he agreed to not charging for any of the meal when perhaps he just meant your meal but once he had agreed he didn't want the tab to get any bigger?

orangepudding Wed 30-Oct-13 18:45:51

I think its a pretty big deal.

Many people have special dietary requirements. A chain like pizza express is transparent about what goes in the food. It's very poor of them to make such a mistake.

arethereanyleftatall Wed 30-Oct-13 18:46:39

How did you get half way through a full meat pizza before realizing it had meat in it. I would stop the second I had something odd in my mouth.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 18:51:43

arethereanyleftatall I know! blush To be fair we were nattering away, not really looking at the food, and it was a calzone pizza, so folded in half and sealed, like a pasty, and full of cheese, veg and pizza sauce. Very runny and messy, and you're cutting through crust top and bottom, so don't really see what's on the inside. So it was only when I was about half way through (at the middle) and could see the innards that I realised what I was eating...

lila possibly. Didn't occur to me at the time - in my mind, it would be odd not to charge me for something I didn't get to eat, hadn't ordered and was upset about having been served, so I assumed that wasn't what he meant! At no point did anyone suggest a replacement, but I wouldn't have accepted a new pizza anyway, as everyone else had finished eating. I know I've said it before, but we were left sitting and waiting for what felt like a very long time!

toffeesponge Wed 30-Oct-13 18:59:43

What if you were allergic to meat?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 30-Oct-13 19:06:48

I had this in Pizza Express, you weren't in that huge shopping mall in East London were you?

Halfway through my vegi pizza and thought it was an odd taste on one mouthful. Spat out a slice of pepperoni/salami that had been hidden under some spinach.

I politely complained and the waiter said "well what do you want me to do about it". hmm

They didn't charge me for the meat infected pizza in the end but no apology or voucher.

Inclusionist Wed 30-Oct-13 19:08:56

A friend of mine has a problem with sugar (not diabetes and I don't really undersatnd it) but a full sugar coke could basically kill her.

She gets a friend to check every coke she is brought in a restaurant, explains to the waiter how serious it is and if she is even a tiny bit worried she sends a drink back and will ask to watch it be poured.

Maybe you need to take this kind of responsibility for your food. Worng, but in a big mass market chain I think errors will happen.

Jan49 Wed 30-Oct-13 19:12:06

I think it's odd that they didn't offer to make a vegi pizza for you on the spot to replace the one that wasn't suitable. It sounds like they wanted you all out in case you made a fuss in front of other customers. Very odd.

I am vegetarian and was once given chicken soup in a restaurant even though I'd ordered entirely from a page of vegetarian options and I ate it all before realising. They just apologised and that was it. I can't remember if I paid. I was in an obliging mood on that particular day.confused

Lagoonablue Wed 30-Oct-13 19:13:03

Poor service. Should have offered to replace your meal there and then. E mail head office.

BurlyShassey Wed 30-Oct-13 19:29:31

I haven't stepped back to PE since the (very nice) waiter at the end of the meal, when we were paying the bill, said something like ''oh you want to add a tip because service is not included, the tip is £whatever he said''.

we sat there shock that he said that, wasnt his fault, hteyd been told by management to actually ask for a tip,

I called manager over and said , loudly for all to hear '' do you honestly think ay customer here WOULDNT give a tip to your lovely staff? why are you saying they have to ask for one? that's embarrassing''.

we DID give waiter a tip, wasn't his fault, and he was lovely, but never been back.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 19:36:56

I've been in a similar situation where something went wrong with an individual's meal, and the manager waived the bill for the whole group. We ordered more, and ate too much finished our meal.

The problem here is not the 'compensation' offered, but the manner in which it was offered. The manager should have apologised immediately, said what he was going to do, and offered an alternative. The staff should not have ignored you, but the waiter who took your order should also have come and apologised. A bottle of wine should have appeared on your table - unopened, so that you could refuse it easily, if it was imappropriate. Basically, you should have been made to feel still welcomed and appreciated as customers.

friday16 Wed 30-Oct-13 19:38:56

What if you were allergic to meat?

Then being a human being is going to be a bit of a challenge, isn't it?

I had a very similar experience - pizza express head office offered us a free family meal after a new chef got confused and put spicy peppers on DS(2)'s pizza rather than tomato slices. I didn't notice blush until DS started retching from the spicyness.

I'm still waiting for the voucher two years on .... I wish they'd not offered us the voucher then forgot tbh, it feels worse than if they'd just apologised nicely.

mumteedum Wed 30-Oct-13 20:19:02

You have just reminded me of meal at PE earlier this year. Was enjoying lovely lunch, they'd Bern great with ds, all my usual experience I have to say, when there was a kerfuffle at nearby table.

We were wondering what the matter was (manager had been called over, staff looking worried talking at back of restaurant), when ladies explained that they'd found the word FUCK written in their lettuce in biro, half way through eating salad!

NuggetofPurestGreen Wed 30-Oct-13 20:21:42

friday I think the point the pp was making was what if the restaurant made a similar mistake with an allergen which exactly what I was thinking about. Not to belittle the OP's experience which a horrible thing to happen but at least it wasn't likely to kill her. I know someone that's allergic to fish and seafood and was given crabcakes by accident rather than tofu cakes.

NuggetofPurestGreen Wed 30-Oct-13 20:23:26

And I think you can be allergic to meat anyway!

WilsonFrickett Wed 30-Oct-13 20:33:29

This happened to a friend of mine at a similar chain restaurant.

She got:

A profuse apology from the manager, both their meals comped, a free desert platter. They paid for their drinks, not sure if alcoholic or not. She was assured if she ever felt confident enough in trying the restaurant again, there would be a free bottle of prosecco for her. The restaurant automatically got in touch near her birthday with an automated email offering a free bottle with a booking for 4 people or more, so she booked. She got the birthday bottle free, the make-up bottle free, a platter of free starters and 20% off the bill.

THAT is how you do things.

honestpointofview Wed 30-Oct-13 20:33:29

I think Lila is right . He said I won't charge "you". You said of of course you won't charge "us". He was rightly was saying he would not charge you for your meal but you said not charge for all your group. That's the most likely reason for him looking confused. Why did you think the whole group should not have paid?

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 20:46:46

Because, as happened to WilsonFrickett and me, the customer then ends up returning to the restaurant and probably recommending it to their friends, rather than starting a justifiedly aggrieved thread on a huge website, putting other potential customers off, and probably never giving them their custom again.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 20:48:34

Oh, and it's not just a netter of bringing one person the wrong dish. That sort of thing puts a damper on the whole meal for everyone in the group, and possibly makes them wonder what is in their food...

friday16 Wed 30-Oct-13 20:49:06

I think the point the pp was making was what if the restaurant made a similar mistake with an allergen

Given the preparation methods in a Pizza Express, with all the ingredients kept in open bowls and the cooking all done in a single oven, with a single wooden paddle used to handle all the pizzas, anyone who actually had an allergy to one of the ingredients they used would be taking something of a risk if they just ordered without telling them.

I think in this case, that the OP is a vegetarian isn't the restaurant's problem. She ordered a pizza. They made a mistake, which she didn't notice. She's hardly the first person where a restaurant has made a mistake, nor will she be the last. Someone who was allergic to an ingredient would notify the restaurant at the point of ordering, so that they were on notice that they needed to take extra precautions (or refuse the order if they didn't feel able to do that). I suppose a veggie could tell them in words of one syllable that a whiff of meat would be a disaster, but it doesn't appear she did.

I've ordered meatless pizzas on Pizza Express, just because I didn't fancy meat, and if they accidentally brought me an American Hot, I suspect I'd just eat it and then complain to get it free. That the OP happened to be a vegetarian, and therefore being brought meat by accident is a bigger deal, is something they can't possibly know, so I don't see why they should make any bigger fuss about it than they would for a non-veggie who just got the wrong pizza.

Spikeytree Wed 30-Oct-13 20:56:49

I've been a veggie for 17 years and eating meat makes me throw up (which I found out when an ex-friend 'accidently' gave me a meat burger instead of a quorn one because she couldn't be bothered catering for me, I suspect she regretted that when she was cleaning her carpet later). They'd have been clearing a lot more than the plates from the tables if they'd given me meat.

YANBU OP, and thanks for sharing - I'll know to avoid them now.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 20:56:59

I've had the wrong dish brought to me in a restaurant. Reactions have ranged from a belligerent "What do you want me to do about it?" to "I'm so sorry, I'll check what happened in the kitchen" followed by "Would you like a complimentary glass of wine while your dish is being prepared?"

Which restaurant do you think continued to receive my custom?

I've twice had the food bill waived for the whole group (once in PE!) when the food was not wrong but contaminated. IMO, when a vegetarian dish is ordered, and the customer double-checks that the waiter noted it down correctly, and a meat version is served instead, that is contamination.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 20:59:20

Actually, no, the PE incident was not contamination, they simply forgot to bring my food, despite being reminded. Eventually it was too late for me to start eating, because the others had finished.

Fillybuster Wed 30-Oct-13 21:00:54

Um Friday I don't mind posters disagreeing with me (this is AIBU, right? grin) but just to be clear:

a) I told them I was a vegetarian when I ordered the food

b) I double checked that they had captured the vegetarian nature of my order (ie "you've got 'calzone verde - the vegetarian one - down haven't you? great"

c) I never drew a link between food allergies and being a vegetarian. Someone else did. Obviously there's a world of difference. BUT if you advertise specific dishes on a menu as vegetarian (as PE do), and if you make a point about being vegetarian friendly (as PE do), then it is not unreasonable to expect them to produce a vegetarian pizza (without standing in the kitchen watching as Inclusionist suggests wink)

More to the point: I accept accidents happen - see my original post, what I question is whether Pizza Express handled the situation, or the follow up, particularly well.

In answer to those posters querying whether those with me should have had a free meal - if PE had instantly said something along the lines of 'oh gosh, we'll bring you another one' or 'can we get you something else instead' or, actually, pretty much anything at all, then the meal wouldn't have been spoilt. Instead, we sat there, all of us, trying to figure out what was going on..they weren't sure whether to carry on eating, or wait for someone to bring me something etc etc....As a result, a fun meal became a bit of a weird, let's just sit here and wait for someone to tell us what to do experience. So yes, their meal was definitely spoilt as well, and it would have been odd for them to be charged at that point. Again, there were only 4 of us, we only had a fairly cheap main course each, and no drinks - it wasn't a windfall for anyone smile

maddening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:04:34

no coffee it really doesn't matter - he dismissed them when he said goodbye and walked off - regardless of whether he cleared the plates the restaurant had made a big food faux pas, dismissed the customer unceremoniously and have since offered a shite apology and failed to actually apply said shite offer.

Lomaamina Wed 30-Oct-13 21:05:17

OP I am enormously sympathic with what you've been through. I'm also a veggie for religious reasons and if that had happened to me* I would have felt awful and it would have ruined my meal and that of my companions to see me as upset as I'd be in those circumstances.

I suppose there are people reading this saying that you shouldn't eat in a non-vegetarian restaurant, but what do you do if you go out to work?

I think you should have been offered at least a meal for two in compensation and indeed that you should have had the voucher by now. I also sympathise with your embarrasment at pushing for the voucher now. And if you feel you're making too much of a fuss. NO YOU'RE NOT.

* actually it has happened to me with a work conference. The platter labelled vegetarian had sandwiches decorated with bacon bits. I thought they were sun-dried tomatoes. Took one bite and retched as soon as I tasted the meat. When I wrote a letter of (mild) complaint, my then boss told me not to make such a fuss as 'you know, we have to use this catering company and we don't want them to be offended'. hmm thanks mate for the support. Swine. (No pun intended) grin.

Write your email and don't hold back on how you feel.

maddening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:10:39

Friday - why is it ok to dismiss someone being vegetarian ? Just as you eat meat and wouldn't mind accidentally being offered a meat pizza doesn't mean that is the same as giving someone who has stated that they are vegetarian a meat pizza.

yes mistakes happen - the op didn't go ballistic and was very polite - you'd think pe would be better at dealing with mistakes when they do happen- it seems that here they have failed.

AchyFox Wed 30-Oct-13 21:16:21

Sounds like they'd run out of veg calzone and couldn't be arsed to change your order.

ie it was a deliberate action not a mix-up.

They didn't want to offer you a non-veg-calzone-other-meal for it would dawn on you that they had deliberately and wittingly given you the wrong meal.

Hence the 10 minutes of umming and erring and booting you out without the offer of a free meal.grin

Wonderful, eh ?

maddening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:17:28

and Friday -re the allergic to meat / difficult being a human being comment - there are humans allergic to water - more water in humans than meat so I reckon it would be possible to be allergic to meat products.

WilsonFrickett Wed 30-Oct-13 21:18:00

Friday I don't often say this on MN because I accept that everyone has their own pov but on this you are just plain wrong, sorry.

The OP is a veggie. PE sells veggie food. If she orders a veggie dish then she has a perfect right to expect it to be veggie. If they make a mistake then she has the right to expect that to be put right. PE also make a big thing about having gluten free options, weight watchers options etc, etc - their positioning is very much mid-market brand, they're not just slopping out pre-prepped bulk cooked slop where no-one knows what's really in the sauce.

She also did check he had written it down correctly.

I am not a veggie btw. I just think a restaurant should serve the food it promotes and sells correctly and make amends when that goes wrong.

friday16 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:31:26

and make amends when that goes wrong.

Like, for example, not charging for the meal at all? As happened?

maddening Wed 30-Oct-13 21:32:41

and doing so graciously - which didn't

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 21:41:38

Does sound like they had completely the wrong attituse Filly which spoilt the lunch beyond the mistaken pizza. I once sent back a pizza in some horrible travel.lodge we were staying in because it was still frozen!! The waitress reacted like I'd done something wrong myself and whisked it off me in an annoyed manner. I complained (much to my Dp's embarrassment, as she hates "fuss") and they couldn't give a monkeys!

You sound like a very reasonable person, I think they handled this poorly and I hope you get your voucher.

Lilacroses Wed 30-Oct-13 21:43:15

Still find it odd that they didn't offer you a replacement and just left you sat there!

Pennyacrossthehall Wed 30-Oct-13 21:51:19

So you got a free meal for everyone, several apologies and another free pizza you're still fuming?

I'm not a vegetarian. If I ordered a pizza with meat and got one without, I'd tell the waiter, they'd give me another one and that would be it. If I asked for a free meal for all my friends, they'd laugh at me (with reason).

I accept that you feel more aggrieved but the mistake is the same, and quite an easy one to make in a busy kitchen deciphering a waitresses scribbles.

bimbabirba Wed 30-Oct-13 22:17:47

you got much more than most people get for a mistake or bad service in a restaurant. You got 4 free main courses, apologies and a voucher. What more do you want?
You could have just ordered desserts and offered to pay for those or did you expect those for free as well just because they got your order wrong?
Unbelievable really.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Wed 30-Oct-13 22:33:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Workberk Wed 30-Oct-13 22:47:58

Sorry but I think YAB a bit U.

They could have handled it better/quicker but so could you TBH.

I've been served meaty things by accident before and so have friends, we've either left without paying/got a refund or got a veggie replacement. I wouldn't expect anything else.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 30-Oct-13 22:50:22

The problem is not so much in the mistake as in the way the restaurant handled it. They made the customer feel uncomfortable, when what the customer is paying for is to feel comfortable.

Pennyacrossthehall Wed 30-Oct-13 23:00:32

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Penny, the mistake is absolutely not the same. Eating vegetables accidentally is not the same as eating meat accidentally, especially when its for religious reasons. I'm surprised you can't see that...

No, the mistake - which is preparing the wrong item and serving it (especially when it is impossible for the waitress to see what it is) - is exactly the same.

I accept that people feel strongly about eating meat, but that was not my point.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Wed 30-Oct-13 23:35:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fillybuster Tue 05-Nov-13 14:29:46

Quick update: PE were alerted to this thread by MNHQ and got in touch via MN messaging to apologise for the cock up confusion and sort out the customer service issue.

They have generously offered to send me a voucher for a meal for 2 (for which many thanks) and, more importantly, have explained that they have reviewed the processes for order capture and management at that branch of PE - so hopefully it won't happen again.

This is all great because, as a life-long PE fan, I really didn't want to have to boycott their pizzas for the rest of my life for the next few weeks grin

kerala Tue 05-Nov-13 14:34:20

I had worse with JAMIE OLIVER! I got dreadful food poisoning from mussels at his restaurant. Walked in the picture of health, ate the mussels, a few hours later was very very ill and stayed ill all weekend. They didnt want to know, wouldnt take calls, never apologised and were actually quite rude. Put me right off Jamie I used to be a fan not any more. Also a friend of a friend had had mussels at another one of his restaurants around the same time and also got very ill...

bimbabirba Tue 05-Nov-13 14:45:15

PE were alerted to this thread by MNHQ
OP you're sounding pathetic now. Just let it go ffs!

Shonajoy Tue 05-Nov-13 14:52:27

Phone them, this is totally unacceptable. My dd (19) has been vegetarian for nine years and would be utterly beside herself if this happened. This could also have been an allergy issue, or a religious issue and its completely unacceptable. Do not let it lie.

I haven't read the entire thread so apologies if this has been said already, but due to the enclosed nature of calzone, it was probably just a case of the waiter picking up someone else's meat calzone instead of your veggie one and not realising the mistake.

Still not great, and you should still be entitled to your money back and any other recompense they promise you, but it's a pretty easy mistake and not the kind of conspiracy some are alluding to!

Regardless of people's view on vegetarianism, you should've received the pizza you ordered exactly as it was advertised.

lastnightopenedmyeyes Tue 05-Nov-13 15:14:06

How awful it must have been for you OP. I'm glad they have sorted it out.

I'm vegetarian and a few weeks back in the Milton Keynes restaurant I found chunks of pizza scattered on my vegetarian pizza. It was clearly marked as vegetarian on the menu and I (obviously) did not request chicken to be added, and additional chicken was not an option.

Because I don't like to make a scene I just left the pizza and didn't say anything but I should have done really, for their sake if not mine.

Obviously your situation was very different as you were served a very meaty dish whereas mine was just a few chunks of chicken randomly thrown on the pizza. Not good though...

MaidOfStars Tue 05-Nov-13 15:26:20

I'm a vegetarian who has accidentally been fed meat-containing dishes at restaurants. I expect my meal to be free, no quibbles. This should have been offered immediately, but in the absence of a proper manager, i can imagine that more junior staff need to check/double-check what's appropriate.

I do not expect the rest of my party to eat for free. I also wouldn't have hung around for coffee/dessert - why would I give them any more of my cash?

ScrabbledEggs Tue 05-Nov-13 15:40:48

YABU to go to PE in the first place - overpriced, pretentious and food not that great IMO!

But YANBU in terms of your OP.

mitchsta Tue 05-Nov-13 16:18:11

"I don't see why they should make any bigger fuss about it than they would for a non-veggie who just got the wrong pizza."

She is a vegetarian for religious reasons. And you can't see why bringing her a pizza containing meat is any worse than someone else getting the wrong dish? Of course it's worse! Just like giving peanuts to someone with a nut allergy is worse than giving peanuts to someone who dislikes nuts.

WilsonFrickett I love your example of good customer service. Definitely the best attitude in the long-run.

OP, I'm vegetarian too and I'd be mightily peeved if I were you. But forget about the voucher. Just don't go back.

Pinupgirl Tue 05-Nov-13 16:38:58

Why were you at pizza express and drinking tap water? That is the bit of the story I find[confusing]

CaptainTripps Tue 05-Nov-13 19:21:20

Pinup - have you seen the rip off prices of bottled water?

Tap water all the way baby!

Mylovelyboy Tue 05-Nov-13 20:36:12

yabu. Sounds like they have tried to do what they thought was right. Ok not what you wanted. At the end of the day it was a mistake. No one was harmed. I went to a restaurant recently and ordered an apple pie for desert. I asked if there was saltanas in it and was told by waitress there was not. Upon taking a mouthful i was confronted with a load of saltanas which make me gag......I sent it back.........Job done. No harm done. I dont like the fact you left and had not eaten. Thats not right. Mistakes happen. I know you said you dont eat meat for certain reasons but it didnt hurt you. Dont worry about it. Just dont go there again. All the best.

GatoradeMeBitch Tue 05-Nov-13 21:24:43

That's great OP! I'm glad they came through for you smile

Lomaamina Fri 08-Nov-13 10:28:11

bimbabirba Your comment is uncalled for, if I may say.

OP: I'm delighted for you.

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