Dining - Left property in restaurant
Who is your issue with?
Explains your rights to you
You'll find no legal jargon in our simple, comprehensive consumer rights sections. Our guidance is tailored specifically for every type of issue.
Helps you prepare your emails
We provide a wide range of flexible email templates for you to adapt to your needs – just slot in the specific details for your case, and in a few short clicks your issue will be ready to go.
Creates a case file for you
Your case file is a secure online location for all important documents regarding your issue. You can upload photos, tickets, copies of receipts or external emails from before you raised your issue with Resolver.
Lets you record all your communications
One of the most important aspects of a complicated issue is keeping a record of all your correspondence regarding the complaint – Resolver does this for you automatically.
Lets you know when to escalate your complaint
If you’re not satisfied with the initial response from the organisation you have an issue with, our escalation process will let you know when you can raise your complaint to the next level of seniority and, ultimately to an ombudsman or regulator, where appropriate.
Restaurants aren't actually liable for damaged personal items unless it is due to negligence on the part of the restaurant (e.g. while your coat or bag is left in the cloakroom or on a coat hook). Any notices limiting the restaurant's responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged items must be prominently displayed.You should know
- Always try to resolve your issue while you're still at the restaurant
- Notices limiting the restaurant's liability must be prominently displayed
- The food should be of a ‘satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described’
- Service must be carried out with ‘reasonable care and skill’ and ‘within a reasonable time’
- Restaurants are only responsible for damage to personal items if it is due to negligence on the part of the restaurant
The food was bad, do I still have to pay for it?
When eating at a restaurant, you are entitled to the same rights as with any other goods and services, including the requirement that the food should be ‘fit for purpose’ (i.e safe to eat), “as described” (no hidden or missing ingredients) and “of reasonable quality”. Once you’ve realised that there is something wrong with your food you should stop eating it and complain to a member of staff. How your complaint is handled is at the discretion of the restaurant. They may choose to offer you a replacement, free drinks, a refund etc.
The service was terrible, do I still have to pay service charge?
The restaurant must carry out the service ‘with reasonable care and skill’ and ‘within a reasonable time’. This covers problems such as being treated poorly by staff or long waits for your food. If you feel you have received poor service you should complain directly to a member of staff. If they don’t offer any solutions you could refuse to pay service charge; you must still pay for the remainder of the bill though. If a discretionary service charge is applied to your bill, it is not required that you pay it. However, if a restaurant charges a compulsory service charge then it must have been obviously displayed in the menu or communicated to you. If you’ve received poor service then you can refuse to pay a compulsory service charge.
I had a reservation, but the restaurant had given my table to someone else!
If you’ve booked a table at a restaurant you have created a contract. So if the restaurant fails to honour that booking you are entitled to claim compensation for your travel costs and other expenses incurred. However, in theory, if you fail to turn up for a reservation the restaurant could also make a claim for compensation against you, but this is very unlikely to happen.
Do restaurants have to have toilets available for customers?
If a restaurant serves alcohol they are required to have toilets available to customers. Any restaurant that is open past 11pm must also have toilets. Other restaurants are not required by law to have toilets available for customers, although some local authorities do require toilets to be available in any restaurant.
Do restaurants have to provide free tap water?
Not all restaurants have to provide water free of charge. However, if a restaurant serves alcohol then they must provide tap water for free.
Issue not addressed
If the restaurant does not respond to your issue, then you should raise your case to the next level. The resolver system knows the next steps to take to escalate your issue and will remind you what to do and when, so that your voice is heard and hopefully your issue is addressed.
Certified third-party mediators, called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers, are available to all businesses to help when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer. The system offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going via the courts. Once the internal complaint process is exhausted, businesses must give the consumer details of a certified ADR provider and tell the consumer if it is willing to use them. However, businesses do not have to use ADR unless they operate in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory, such as in financial services.
Find the best rights for you
We have 4,184 pages of rights advice for you covering 7,094 companies and organisations across 17 public & private sectors. Feel free to browse companies for this specific issue - they're all listed below - but the quickest way to find the best rights for you is by using our unique Rights Finder to access our extensive database of advice.
Start by telling us the name of the company or organisation you have an issue with.