Ways to Respectfully Complain in Spanish to your Waiter or Other Service Professionals (And Get Good Service)

How to Respectfully Complain in Spanish (And Get Amazing Service) ✅

So, you’re at a restaurant, you’ve ordered some delicious tacos… but it takes them ages to arrive. Then, your food finally arrives… and it’s half cold. And the worst part: there’s ONION in your food! If there’s one thing I hate on my tacos is ONION! 

That’s it, ¡basta! Time to tell your waiter what you think of their service… solo que hay un problemita (there is only a little problem): he only speaks Spanish… What now?

¡No te preocupes! (Don’t worry!) Spanish is an excellent language for passionately complaining… and I, Cory from Spring Spanish, will give you all the Spanish chunks you need to complain to your waiter or anybody else in the Spanish-speaking world… That way, you will be able to express your frustration, be heard, and get the service you deserve.

1. At a restaurant

Sometimes, at a restaurant es necesario quejarse si, por ejemplo (it is necessary to complain if, for example), el servicio está lento (the service is slow) or your food is not what you expected:

Disculpe, pedí mi comida sin cebolla. ¿Podría cambiarme el plato, por favor? 
(Sorry, I ordered my food without onion. Could you change my dish, please?) 

Enseguida, señorita.
(Right away, Miss.)

¡Es la segunda vez que mi café está frío en este restaurante!
Mesero, ¡tráigame otro, por favor!

 (This is the second time that my coffee is cold in this restaurant!
Waiter, bring me another one, please!)

Disculpe, señorita. Ahorita le traigo otro.
(I am sorry, Miss. I will bring it right away.)


If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “mi café ES frío”, I would be rich! The way we natives say it is “Mi café está frío”. Learn it by heart as a chunk. 

By the way, now you know you have to say mi café está frío, it won’t surprise you we also say…

  • Mi café está caliente (My coffee is hot)
  • El día está frío (The day is cold)

See how this works? Easy, right? If you’d like to learn more chunks like this, you must download our free Essential Spanish chunking kit! It contains lists full of the most frequently used Spanish chunks that’ll help you speak Spanish without thinking about grammar all the time.

2. At the airport

¿Quién no ama viajar? (Who doesn’t like traveling?), but unfortunately, sometimes airports might be stressful. Overall, when they’ve lost your baggage or you find out your flight is delayed:

El vuelo tiene seis horas de retraso.
¡Qué pésimo servicio! Exijo una compensación.

(The flight is delayed 6 hours.
What a bad service! I demand compensation.)

Sí, de hecho, existe una compensación por cada hora de retraso.
Pase por aquí, por favor.

(Yes, as a matter of fact, there is a compensation for each hour your flight is delayed.
This way, please.)

Señorita, creo que mi maleta está extraviada. Vengo del vuelo AM026. 
(Miss, I think my suitcase is missing. My flight was AM026.)

Lo lamentamos. Por favor llene este formulario.
(We are very sorry. Please fill out this form.)

3. At the hotel

Nice, you’ve made it, and you are finally about to have some rest at your hotel, but you might encounter some issues, so you should know the basics: 

El baño no tiene agua caliente. 
(There's no hot water in the shower.)

¡Una disculpa! ¡En este momento llamo al fontanero! 
(Apologies! I’ll call the plumber right away!)

¿Cómo que no está nuestra reservación? ¡Tiene un mes que la hicimos! 
(How come you can’t find our reservation? We made it a month ago!)

No se preocupe; respetaremos su reserva.
(Don’t worry! We’ll respect your booking.)

La habitación que reservamos tiene vista al mar, pero la que nos dieron da a la calle; queremos un cambio de habitación. 
(The room we booked had a sea view, but the one we got has a street view.
We want a change of room.) 

¡Qué pena! En un momento le asigno una habitación con vista al mar.
(We’re sorry! I’ll assign you a sea view room in no time.)

El clima no sirve, y hace mucho calor.
(The A/C doesn’t work, and it’s really hot.)

No se preocupe. Mantenimiento ya va para allá.
(Don’t worry. Maintenance is on its way.)


El clima no sirve (The air conditioning doesn’t work) is another excellent example of a good chunk to learn. It’s small, but very useful. Learning that will help you say: 

  • La tele no sirve (The TV doesn’t work)
  • Mi teléfono no sirve (My phone doesn’t work) 

…and many other sentences.

4. In daily life

Of course we don’t need to be having leisure time for things to go not so smoothly. Every day we can be in situations where it is necessary to complain. Don’t you hate when people try to jump the line en el súper (at the grocery store)?

¡Hey! ¡No se meta en la fila! Allá está la cola. 
(Hey! Don’t try to jump in the line! You have to wait.)

¡Oh, lo siento! No me di cuenta de que había una fila.
(Oops! I didn’t realize there was a line. Apologies!)

…or when you go around and around on a parking lot: 

  • Este es un enorme problema de la plaza: ¡nunca hay donde estacionarse! (This is a huge problem at the mall: there's nowhere to park!)

What about when you have noisy neighbors? 

Oiga, yo trabajo mañana muy temprano. Bájele a su música o ¡voy a llamar a la policía! (Hey, I have to work very early tomorrow. Turn the music down or else I’m calling the police!)

¡Perdón! No nos dimos cuenta. Ya le bajamos.
(We’re sorry! We didn’t realize how loud it was. We’ll turn it down.)

But what to do if you get great service, though? In a restaurant or hotel or anywhere else? Or what if you just don’t know how to order or how to get by when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country?

We have a whole playlist of videos for you with all the chunks you need to order in a restaurant, check into a hotel, take a taxi, and much more!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *