Since there were over 20 of us, I asked the manager for a soft copy of the menu and I had people email me their name and their order which I emailed to them 2 days before hand so that they could prepare.
The list had each person's name, order and drink.
Seems pretty clear to me.
The restaurant emails me back the list all copied on their their business spreadsheet template and asks me to confirm. It was a bit weird that they did that but I checked everything and gave the OK for it and print out a copy for myself.
Since I am Hindu and I don't eat beef,I had ordered the fish and chips. What turned up was a steak sandwich. I knew the plate was for me because they called out my name and placed it in front of me.
After waiting about 15 minutes for a waiter, I explained that I didn't order the steak sandwich and I pulled out the print out of the spreadsheet to confirm. Steak sandwich gets taken back in.
10 minutes later, brought back out again and I'm told that it's too late to change my mind. I explain to the waiter again, that I never ordered it in the first place, again, I point to where it says fish and chips next to my name. This time I explain that I am Hindu therefore I never would have ordered anything with beef in it. At this point, I'm feeling bad as well since my co-workers on my table have decided to wait till I get my food to start eating and their food is getting cold.
Another 10 minutes elapses. This time the manager comes out and tells me that I can't change my mind. Spreadsheet comes out again and the whole I'm Hindu, I don't eat beef and so on. He goes into the kitchen and comes back telling me that there is no fish left. No apologies or anything, in fact he was very impatient with me. My boss takes my side and that seems to settle the matter. My co-workers start eating.
I get that it was busy time but they were given plenty of time to stock up and prepare, then the continued implication that I had ordered something like this for myself instead of them making a mistake was starting to annoy me.
I ordered a chicken burger instead and when it finally came out (almost an hour later), we were in middle of speeches which the waiter rudely interrupted by calling my name really loudly. More embarrassment for me. The burger was extremely cold but I decided not to say anything about it. Cutting it open however, I saw that the meat was still pink. The thing is undercooked. Gross. I call for the waiter and show him, he agrees that it's undercooked and takes it back inside- only to have him come back to me later and tell me that someone had thrown my burger out and there would be a delay in making a new one. What kind of delay I have no idea. My boss has also been looking out for me and asking periodically for my food which was nice of him and only added to my embarrassment. Luckily we were all able to joke about it with my co-workers.
So finally my co-workers are finished eating, people are starting to leave for meetings and what not and still no sign of my food. Finally, just as we are getting up to pay the bill, a fresh burger comes out. I'm so angry at this point that I asked for the manager and told him that it's been over an hour, my order has been messed up and now it's too late for me to eat it. Again, no apology, just a "things are really busy" and then offers to box it up for me. I'm furious and hungry at this point so I agree given that I won't have time to go elsewhere and get more lunch, I have a meeting in 30 minutes and we still have to walk back to work.
I look over the bill before paying it and what do you know, we've been charged for the steak sandwich, the fish and chips AND the chicken burger. Again, the manager has to be called, this time I let my boss handle it. Bill is adjusted and I'm not charged for any food or drink. Doesn't matter to me I put it on the company credit card so I don't have to pay a cent anyway.
The annoying thing is, out of all the other 20+ people in our group got excellent food, excellent service. Trust me, the organiser to have gotten the bad experience but given that I generally plan most team events, I'm never taking us back there again. At least the new burger was really nice.
Cliffnotes version: Team lunch woes: I get wrong order, new order arrives when we are about to leave.