Here we will discuss what actions you should take if a restaurant throws away your unfinished meal after you have payed for it. First, it should be noted that a restaurant’s goal isn’t to take your money without serving you food. This means that most restaurants do want you to pay for the food and sit and enjoy it too. This means that if a restaurant does happen to throw away food that wasn’t finished, it is because the person throwing it away probably assumed that the guest eating the dish was finished.
So, if this happened to you, then we will cover what you should do about it, whether or not you should pay for the food, and how to prevent it from happening again. This isn’t the first time that we have heard of this, as we have actually done this to our guests before in the past in our early days.
Typically if a guest receives their food after paying for it, leaves the table, and we assume that they have left the building, then a waiter/cashier will go to the table and clean the table up and dispose of the food. However, there are some sure signs, when a cashier or waiter comes to that table to throw away the food, that the guest hasn’t left or isn’t finished yet.
If an employee of the restaurant approaches a table that appears to be left by a guest that didn’t finish their food and sees something that the guest owns still at the table (sunglasses, a coat, or some other belonging), then they may assume that the guest will return. In this case, they may not throw away the food or clean the table. They will probably assume that the guest went to the bathroom or something and will return again.
If the table was left with food on it and looks abandoned, then the employees of the restaurant will assume that the guests were finished. One sure sign when leaving your dining table that you may not return, is taking a used napkin, balling it up, and placing it in the plate. This is one thing that many guests do whenever they are finished eating their food. Placing a used napkin over the food is what guests do when they are gathering their trash into one plate for to make their mess easier to clean up after they are done.
Even if only one plate looks this way, but the rest don’t, it can still appear to the employees of the restaurant that the guests have finished eating their food. It isn’t uncommon for people to eat some of their food but not finished the rest before leaving. I personally have always been taught by my mother to always finish all of my food, but that isn’t going to be how everyone was/is raised.
Some people just tag along with other people to go to a restaurant and eat together, just so that they can socialize and hang out. They eat because they are really hungry, or just somewhat hungry. Restaurants already do not expect everyone at the table to completely finish their food. Actually, many of the guests that I have served have left food on their plates after they have finished eating quite often. This has occurred in various types of restaurants that I have worked in. However, it has been rare for us to see someone leave most of their food untouched.
What to do if your food is thrown away that wasn’t finished.
In the case where your unfinished food was thrown away by a restaurant that you payed for, and you weren’t done eating, inform the restaurant that they threw away your food. You will have more of a case if plenty of the food was still on the plate, then if it was just a few pieces with majority of the food eaten. Most restaurants will cover for the misunderstanding and would be welcomed to remake the thrown away food items.
Don’t try to cheat or scam the restaurant by lying about food items that were thrown away that you actually did eat, just to get more food. The host that cleaned the table knows what was on the table that they cleaned before they threw away the food. Competent managers at a restaurant can assess the situation through communication with the host and find out what really happened. Even if they allow it to slide and remake the already eaten food, it will probably mess up anything you get from them again in the future. Be honest about what happened and the restaurant is usually happy to fix the problem at their own cost.
Restaurants wouldn’t go through the effort of making the food for their guests, just to intentionally throw it away later.
Most restaurants aren’t expecting you to pay for half of your food or a small portion of it. Usually the restaurant will take the fault if one of their employees assumed that the guests at a table were done eating when they weren’t actually done eating. New employees working at a restaurant can easily make this mistake of throwing away someone’s food before they were finished.
How to prevent your unfinished food from being thrown away by the restaurant.
Communication is one of the best ways to prevent your unfinished food that you payed for at a restaurant from being thrown away. The employees at a restaurant will usually ask the guests if they are finished eating before picking up plates and throwing anything away.
If you know that you are leaving your table to talk to a friend that you spotted in the restaurant and haven’t seen in awhile, then make sure that you let the managers at the restaraunt know. This will ensure that your food won’t get mistaken as finished food, and prevent it from being thrown away by accident. It will also ensure that it will be replaced without commotion later on if it is still thrown away somehow. Now you will be able to let the restaurant know that your food was thrown away if it happens, with an employee that you told beforehand to vouch for you.
Leaving a coat, jacket, or a piece of clothing hanging on the seat in plain view is also a sign to the employees of the restaurant that the guest left the table, but will return again. This way the restaurant will not throw away your food without guilt, if you have to leave the table to go to the restroom or do something else in the middle of eating your food that you payed for.