Here we will discuss what restaurants do with lost items that they may find in their restaurant. It isn’t too rare for an individual to end up losing or forgetting something that they may believe that they left at a restaurant. It happens all the time, and usually it is more than just a penny or a nickel that slipped out of their hand.
People have left their cell phones in the bathroom, their credit cards at the payment counter, their wallets on the dining table, their keys, and even drove off from the restaurant leaving their debit cards with the cashier. In cases like this, the restaurant usually has a place where they will store these items, which people outside the restaurant will call a “lost and found”. The restaurant itself usually won’t call it this, as they don’t usually have a designated area for lost items that is pre-planned. It just ends up happening when employees and guests at the restaraunt lose their stuff.
When items from their guests are left behind, they are usually spotted first by the individuals cleaning the dining room or the bathrooms, which are usually the cashiers of the restaurant. Once an employee finds whatever has been left behind by their guests, they will often take it straight to the managers on duty. From there, the manager will store the item in their office until the person that lost the item returns to pick it up.
If it is an item that is of extreme value, then it will be kept in the office. In the restaurant office, there is usually a safe, meaning that this is a secure place to store it. Some restaurants have even went as far as to store valuable items in the office right in the safe too. The office usually has a lock and requires a key to open it. The manager that acquires the item will also inform all the other managers, including the general manager or the owner of the restaurant about the lost item and where it is being kept. This ensures that the item is returned, even when the guest that lost the item returns to retrieve it when they aren’t on duty but another manager is.
If a wallet or purse was left, they may search through the wallet to try and find an identification card or a driver’s license, so that they can use the information to try and contact the person that lost it.
Retrieving the lost item, if you think that you may have lost it at a restaurant, is actually pretty easy. The restaurant’s phone number can be called and you can ask them if they have an item that they recently found that you may have lost there. A smart restaurant will ask what that item is and have the person to describe it, just to be sure, before giving it to the person.
Items of high value are always picked back up at a restaurant by the guests that lost the item(s). There has only been a few rare cases where valuable items like a debit card or an identification card hasn’t been returned to the guest. This is because those guests never called the restaurant to check and see if they left the item at the restaraunt, or because they never returned back to the restaurant to claim the item.
When this happens, a restaurant will just continue to hold the item securely in the office, sometimes indefinitely. Restaurants even go as far as to try and use clever methods to contact the person that lost their item if they can, just to get it back to whoever it belongs to. For instance, if it is a mobile phone, they may open the phone to see who it belongs to or if there is any way for them to contact the person that lost it. If they can’t find a phone number to call a relative or a close friend, then they may try to reach that person through social media to notify them that they have a valuable item that they lost at the restaraunt.
Less Valuable Items
Less valuable items, like a jacket or sunglasses, are also usually kept by the restaurant in an area that they may use as a temporary lost and found. This area could be in the office or outside the office. They may keep it in their lockers (if they have them) temporarily, where the employees store their items. There has been more than one occasion where guests have left sunglasses at our establishments.
Usually people don’t return to pick up these items again, which are usually kept for a long time before the restaurant decides to throw them away, because of lack of sufficient space, or give them to an employee. Either way, a restaurant will still hold on to these items if they can, even if they aren’t of high value. They usually assume that a guest will call them and ask about it, so they store it in a designated “lost and found”. They may even do the same thing for children toys.
If an individual thinks that they lost an item at a restaurant that isn’t actually there, then what will happen is, the restaurant will just tell them that they have not found the so called item in the restaurant. If the individual calls the restaurant to ask, the restaurant will usually stay on the phone with the person until they ensure that they could not find the lost item in the restaurant. They will check the areas where the person states that they may have lost the item before telling them that it is not there. This includes the bathroom too of course, if the item happens to be there in the facility.
Usually when a restaurant says that they didn’t find the lost item in the restaurant, it is usually not there if hours have past since the item was lost. Restaurants usually clean up pretty often enough that they would have discovered the lost item during the cleaning within a very short time.
We would like to hope that this isn’t the case, but it is also possible for other guests in the restaurant to find these lost items and take them for themselves. However, many of the guests at a restaurant also find these lost items in the restaurant and take them to the managers of the restaurant to have them returned to their rightful owner.
It is also possible for people to assume that they left what ever they lost at a restaurant, at the restaurant. This isn’t always the case of course, as sometimes these items weren’t lost at the restaurant, but in other establishments that the person visited that day/night, as reported by guests that have been in this situation. The guests sometimes end up finding their lost item in their car, at their friend’s house, or right under their nose after thanking the restaurant for the help.