I’m an etiquette expert – 3 times it is acceptable to send back your food and the one time you absolutely MUST NOT | The Sun

AN elegance coach has revealed the three times it is acceptable to send back your food at the restaurant and the mistakes you should absolutely avoid.

Coming across as a person with class and allure is all about making sure you follow the right rules – especially when dining out.

Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, explained how to send your food back.

"When you order an item from the menu, and it comes to the table undercooked, overcooked, over-spiced or is completely the wrong item, you may certainly ask for another without hesitation," she said.

The expert said there are three situations when it would be appropriate to send your food back.

First, if you have asked the restaurant staff to omit a certain element or ingredient from your dish but that it turns up on your plate, or if your dish is missing something that was written out on the menu, you can send your food back.

This is especially important if you have a food allergy or intolerance or follow a specific diet such as keto, Atkins or veganism.

To avoid any issues, ask staff to check with the chef if they are able to modify your dish.

Secondly, you can send your food back if it is lukewarm or cold – depending on what type of establishment this is, it is also worth checking your food has been cooked thoroughly before eating it – if the plate comes cold.

Finally, you can also send your food back if your plate is dirty – the same goes for glasses or cutlery. Your safety could be at risk.

So, how do you tell the waiter or kitchen staff you'd like to send your food back?

You can call them over and discretely let them know. Remember to be polite and thank them for assisting you.

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If you suspect kitchen staff have forgotten to take an ingredient out of your dish as requested, remind them of your order, and calmly explain why it is a problem. It is a teachable moment for the both of you.

Remember not to attack staff or snap at them – it is not be their fault if the dish comes a certain way.

"When you send a food or drink item back, it's important to remain pleasant and nonconfrontational. Remember that the server who brought the food was not responsible for cooking the food," Gottsman said. 

"The bartender may have been heavy-handed, or it simply may be a recipe you do not care for, but asking kindly if they can try again, in a friendly tone of voice, goes a long way in keeping the conversation polite."

There are a number of times when it is not OK to send your food back.

This includes when you have already eaten most of your plate, if you don't have a particular reason or are lying or if you have ordered the wrong menu item or have had a mix-up.

This includes physical restaurants and mobile aps.

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Even if the dinner is in a less formal setting and more casual, there's still a proper way to conduct yourself, especially at a dinner table.

This week, TikTok's etiquette queen Imani Bailiee posted a video discussing what you should and should not do when attending a dinner party.

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