6.legal facts about your rights in restaurants


by Bauer Xcel |
Published on
  1. If, having booked a table for a specific time, you arrive at the restaurant to find no table available, there is little you can do about this - unless you have paid a deposit, which may be interpreted as having entered into a contract with the restaurant. In these circumstances you may have grounds for a claim for breach of contract.
  1. If you are unhappy with the quality of the food, do not eat any more of the meal and bring it to the staff's attention immediately. This strengthens your position if arguing for a reduction in price. Asking for money off due to poor food is a negotiation; it is not a legal right as it can be very difficult to prove that a meal did not meet expectations.
  1. If service during the evening is poor, you may have a case for a price reduction under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as it could constitute a breach of contract. You can find out more about the Consumer Rights Act here.
  1. A diner has no legal obligation to pay a tip unless it is stipulated at the point of ordering - ie the diner agrees a pay a tip. However, a diner does have the right to request for a service charge included on the bill to be removed if not satisfied with the service.
  1. If the meal is booked for a fixed-time sitting - for example, between 6pm and 8pm - the restaurant does have the right to ask you to vacate your table at 8pm.
  1. If you cannot pay, the restaurant has no right to insist you do the washing up. However, non-payment could be considered theft and the police called.

Hannah Parsons, solicitor with DAS Lawsays: "Restaurants can be quite a grey area legally. A steak that one diner claims is too tough could be perfect for another. This subjectivity means that, if you want to get your bill reduced, you'll probably have to negotiate."

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