(WYTV) – What happens when you can’t pay your bill in a restaurant? If your credit card is rejected and you carry no cash, what does the management do?
Restaurant owners say that 99 percent of the time, another diner at your table will cover the bill. The manager and owner will try to work with you, but the conversation may still be awkward.
Cookbook author and restaurant owner Shawn Bucher said often if a customer really can’t pay, the restaurant will eat the bill and swallow the cost. The restaurant will move the customer along rather than get into an argument or try to mail the customer a bill, especially if it’s small.
Every restaurant has complimentary meals built into its budget for the staff, for friends and for VIPS. But how about a more expensive meal, say $75?
If it’s a regular customer, the manager may say, “Come back and pay me as soon as you can.” A first-time customer who can’t pay a large bill may be asked to leave some collateral, like a cell phone or an Apple Watch.
But calling the police is what restaurant owners call the nuclear option to be avoided at nearly any cost.
Finally, can the restaurant make you wash dishes if you can’t pay up? Absolutely not, because the Food and Drug Administration says no way. No one’s allowed in the kitchen who doesn’t belong there. Untrained people at a sink invite accidents and lawsuits.
But can you get arrested for not paying a restaurant bill?
A judge put an Illinois man in jail for three years for skipping out on a $70 tab. He was a professional thief, arrested 13 times.