This article will cover whether or not restaurants give free water. There are certain things that you need to know about this subject, as it isn’t the same at every restaurant. Restaurants aren’t required to give people free water, if that is what you are asking. However, restaurants do certainly give free water, and sometimes will even give individuals free soft drinks.
If restaurants do offer free water, it is usually given to people in the form of tap water, not bottled water. Depending on where you live, the tap water at the restaraunt could be filtered tap water. It is best to not try and take bottled water from the restaurant for free, even if it is offered to you for free. If a cashier offers you “free” bottled water or a shift manager, usually they are doing so out of the companies wallet, not their own. Restaurants most of the time have to pay other companies to have bottled water in their establishments.
Usually if the owner sees a cashier giving away free bottled water, or the corporate is there, they aren’t going to let this fly. It will just make you and the cashier doing this look bad. At the end of the day, someone has to pay for that bottled water. However, it can be pretty easy sometimes to get a restaurant to give you free water in a cheap cup. Our advice to you if you want free water, is to go to a fast food restaurant, as many dine-in restaurants may not give you free water, since the only cups they have may be glass or reusable non-disposable cups (dishes that they have to wash).
Fast food restaurants usually have disposable cups, so getting them to give you free water will be easier. It is better to go inside and ask for water, than to go through the drive-thru, just to get free water. Restaurants that have drive-thru service, aren’t always going to be happy about someone going through their drive-thru line just to get free water. Depending on the cashier, they may charge you for it if you do, because you are holding up their line. It may also seem unnatural to them that you went through the drive-thru just for free water, so by instinct they may charge you.
Most restaurants do have a charge button on their cash registers just so you know.
Go inside the restaurant and just ask if you can have some water and see what they say. Getting free water from a restaurant shouldn’t be thought as a must or a privilege, since you are getting it from their fountains and not your own. If you approach them with irritation, expecting that all water should be free in restaraunts, then they may never give you free water, even if they do charge you for it at that time. It is the restaurant’s water and it is their cup that they are putting the water in, if you didn’t bring your own cup.
From our experience, being sensible can possibly get you free water when in some situations they would sometimes charge for it. If they can’t give you free water, they may just charge you a few cents just to pay for the cup. Don’t blame the cashiers for doing their job at the restaraunt if/when they do charge for the water. The cashiers are obligated to do the job that they are told to do by the owners or the corporate of that restaraunt.
It is not really the cashiers’ position to make the decision to give anything free from the restaurant to the customers that the customers are supposed to pay for. They do not own the restaraunt, neither do they buy any of the equipment in the restaurant that makes the water. The managers or the general manager may give away free stuff sometimes, but most of the time they are not authorized to do so by their superiors, even though they may try to act as if they have this right.
We are saying all this, because restaurants sometimes have to be very strict about charging everyone for everything. This may be because the employees are abusing the system and stealing from the restaurant by taking bottled waters that the restaurant pays for and drinking them without paying for them (which we have seen happen many times). Employees also often cut into the restaurants funds by snacking on the food that the restaurant serves, for free.
For some restaurants this is ok, but all of them have boundaries when it comes to this stuff. Employees often eat away the profit that the restaurant is trying to make, by abusing these privileges on a daily basis. This is why restaurants often will try to make their profit through nickel and diming their customers to help balance things out.
Restaurants have to watch their costs, so they may have to charge everyone for water along with everything else. They may just have to do this just to help their business make a profit and keep them out of the hole. Paying for the water if they do charge you for it, could be helping the employees keep their privileges, even if it seems like a small amount.
Also, some restaurants based off of how they do their business, may only have bottled water available to give to their guests. This may be because they do not have any form of cups available. A small restaurant for example that is located on the streets or in a food truck, may only have bottled drinks to give to their customers that the customerswould have to pay for. All restaurants are required to have running clean water, but they aren’t required to get cups to give that running water to their guests if they want free water.
For restaurants that prosper pretty well, they usually are able to provide free water with a cup for the water, free of charge. Somtimes they will also provide free water with their meals if a customer buys a meal and doesn’t want to pay for a drink. Their prosperity should be seen as an individual restaurant trying to make a living, not as a whole based off of their international or national popularity. Many restaurants work off of the profit that their building can make, and use that to determine what they can and can’t give out for free (water in this case).