IELTS General Writing Task 1 Sample 5

Write a letter to the restaurant manager complaining about the substandard quality of their ready-to-eat meals. (About 150 words)

State that:

  • You had a grueling day at work and so decided to eat outside before returning home;

  • You had ordered a vegetarian pasta combo meal with wine and a dessert;

  • Outline what went wrong and the measures you expect the management to take in order to ensure a proper remedy.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Sir/Madam,


Sample Answer

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing this letter to lodge a formal complaint regarding my experience at your restaurant last night.

I am pretty regular at your outlet and it has been one of my most dependable favorites for a long time now. And this makes me regret having to write and report a matter of poor quality and poor service at the place. I visited the restaurant last night for dinner after spending a hectic day at work and having left with no energy to cook a meal at home.

I had arrived more than 45 minutes before your closing time and had ordered a vegetarian pasta combo meal along with some white wine and a dessert. I have had this meal many times before so I am totally familiar with it. However, to my utter surprise, I was served a cold meal in a much lesser quantity than usual. This happened despite the order arriving at my table after the standard serving time of 20 minutes. Not only that the overall quantity had been compromised, but even the quality of individual ingredients was not up to standards. None of your staff had an answer and what is even worse, they did not even replace the plate.

I was left with little option, as I could not move into another outlet at that hour since they are far off and would be closed by the time I reached them. I was forced to consume whatever I could, and finally, the dessert took forever to come. I have all the pictures to prove my point but I believe that you will have the gentility not to require them.

I agree that sometimes such errors may happen, but there can be no excuse for not admitting it and making the customer pay for it. There can be no excuse for not replacing a poorly served meal with the right one. I am sure you will look into the matter and do the needful.

Thanks & Regards




Coherence and Cohesion

  • There is a strong start to this letter, with a concise reason for the communication. Remember that this allows the recipient to determine who should deal with the contents of the letter, as well as assigning a priority level to it.

  • Some sentences could be tighter, or more ‘efficient’. This is known as ‘economy of language’. Here is an example:

    • Written: I visited the restaurant last night for dinner after spending a hectic day at work and having left with no energy to cook a meal at home.

    • Suggested: I had dinner at the/your restaurant last night, following/after a hectic day at work and with no energy left to cook a meal at home.


  • The Present Continuous “I am writing…” gives a sense of immediacy, suggesting that as the recipient is reading, the sender is writing. Other tenses used are Past Simple (e.g. ‘I visited’, ‘I was left'); Past Perfect (e.g. ‘I had arrived’); Present Simple (e.g. ‘I agree’, ‘I have’) Future Simple (e.g. '…you will look into it…’).

  • In the second paragraph, the second line starts with ‘And’. While this is strictly incorrect grammar, it has become popular to use it in less formal writing, and also in creative fiction. Don’t do this in academic or professional (formal) writing.

Lexical Resource

  • pretty regular - ‘pretty’ here means ‘an amount worth considering’. In this context, when the candidate says they are ‘pretty regular’, it means that they attend the restaurant regularly (or ‘on a regular basis’ or ‘frequently’). Alternatives are ‘fairly regular’ or ‘quite regular’.

  • utter surprise - a nice collocation here, which adds a further level of emotion to the ‘surprise’. For more ways to use the word ‘surprise’, and for lots of synonyms, visit our Synonyms for Surprise page.

  • gentility - in the case meaning ‘decency’ (i.e. the good grace to do the right thing)

  • do the needful - a decidedly ‘Indian English’ term; native English speakers might say ‘do what is needed’ or ‘what is expected’ (or even ‘do the right thing’). It can be worth researching what terms are specific to your cultural adaptation of English, and how they might be received (or even misunderstood) by native English speakers.

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