Yesterday evening, I went to the local Steak and Shake with my fiance to grab some burgers. We noticed it was busy on the way in and this place tends to be a little slow, but we didn't mind as we were used to it. After we were seated and our drink orders were placed, everything just went downhill.
We ordered waters and I ordered a Banana Split Milkshake. It's a banana milkshake with hot fudge, strawberry chunks, whipped cream and nuts. I'm allergic to nuts and let my server know this while requesting the nuts to be left off my shake. She said 'no problem' and told us she would be back in a minute with our drinks and to take our food order. A few minutes turned into about 10 or more and she came back with just the waters and said the milkshake was still being made. It's happened at multiple S&S locations before that the shake takes a little longer, so I didn't mind. We place our food orders. He gets a Frisco melt with a side of chili, I order a double bacon cheddar burger with tomato, frisco sauce, fries and a side of ranch.
Another 10 minutes or so pass and in this time, we see our server bring out the food of a table that was seated after we were, shakes for another table seated after us and still no shake for me. She finally brings the shake out about a minute before the food comes and I notice right away that the shake had been sitting for awhile. The hot fudge that's supposed to be on the top is settled in the middle, the whipped cream is melted and there's nuts on top. I quickly tell her that I'm allergic and ask if she could have it remade. If I didn't have the allergy but just didn't like nuts, I would've picked them out and put them aside, but I couldn't do that. At this point, she starts to argue a bit with me. "Oh, are those nuts?".. Yes.. yes they are. "Well, I put 'no nuts' on the order"... That's fine and I trust that you did, but they're in the shake now and I really wouldn't ask for a remake if I wasn't allergic. She reluctantly takes the shake back to have it 'remade' and returns with, what looks like the same shake with new whipped cream and the nuts scraped off the top. My fiance tells me that maybe she remade it herself in a rush and I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
So, our food comes out and we start eating and as I'm sipping my shake, I find a big 'ol chunk of nut in my straw. I pick it out and keep drinking my water. At this point, we're irritated because of how long it's taken to get refills (none until she checked on us after the food came),never getting my side of ranch for the fries, having to argue to have my shake remade, the huge gaps in time it takes for our server to come to our table (she had two other tables along with ours, each were two-tops)and now I start to suspect that she didn't remake the shake, just scraped the nuts from the top and replaced the whipped cream. It became evident that it was exactly what she did when she came back to the table to ask specifically about the shake. She had a sheepish, guilty look on her face and kept asking if it was ok, asking if there were still nuts in it and 'how it tasted'. I asked for a to-go cup for it since we were done. As I was scraping the shake into the cup, I find that the ENTIRE BOTTOM of the glass is filled with nuts. They had all settled down in there with the hot fudge when she left it sitting for that long period of time before she initially delivered it to us.
At this point, I was frustrated with the entire situation and I went to a manager. He was very nice, apologized and comped half of our bill. I told him that I wouldn't complain if I didn't have the allergy because I know that being a server is hard work, but this is something people shouldn't take lightly. I never let her know the severity of my allergy (I don't have to carry an epi-pen or anything, but if I would've finished the shake and consumed the huge amount of nuts in there, I would've been very sick) and I feel that if a customer expresses concern over an allergy that it should be treated as if it IS severe. Why roll the dice with that sort of thing? 'Oh, hopefully she's not THAT allergic that I can get away with scraping the nuts off the top. Sucks if the nuts just being IN the shake is enough to generate a reaction...' No! I felt guilty complaining, but it was just blatant that the server was ignoring a request that wasn't made just to be difficult. I'm sure I'll go back to the restaurant again since I love the food, but I think next time, I'll just get a shake that doesn't have any nuts in it to avoid this mistake from even starting all over again, but at the same time, I've never had any problems in the past with a topping being left out.
ETA: We looked at our bill that had all of the side requests and stuff listed. No where on the bill for my shake did it say 'no nuts'. Every other time, it's been listed.
tl;dr- Server gives crappy service and ignores a request due to food allergies twice.