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Money Moral Dilemma: Should we return to the restaurant to pay after being evacuated from it?



  • Zabadak!
    Zabadak! Forumite Posts: 1
    Sixth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    I worked in a now defunct department store with a cafe & food was paid for when ordered. In the event of a fire alarm evacuation any customers returning later to finish off their food would be given a fresh meal free of charge.
  • NotAnExpert74
    NotAnExpert74 Forumite Posts: 2
    First Post
    Go back and offer to pay for what you'd eaten before the evacuation. 
  • CapeTown
    CapeTown Forumite Posts: 80
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 13 September at 4:31AM
    One of you has morals. 
  • jacquifef
    jacquifef Forumite Posts: 4
    First Anniversary First Post
    It’s a matter of conscience. If it is weighing on you then it probably won’t go away and you should contact the restaurant. It may well be that they have claimed on insurance and won’t ask you for any payment, or they may say thank you for your money, but either way you will know and probably feel better. I am hoping that this wasn’t such an expensive meal that you can’t afford to take the loss on paying for it.
  • Joskat
    Joskat Forumite Posts: 55
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Poor service or not, you ate part of a meal that needs to be paid for. If your husband doesn’t want to pay, but you think you should then just pay it yourself. 
  • Bribar1949
    Bribar1949 Forumite Posts: 3
    Second Anniversary First Post
    Was it a false alarm or a test? If it was a test then nobody should pay! If the false alarm was the fault of staff then nobody should pay! These two situations come under bad service! If I was only just into the meal I would walk away but if I had nearly finished maybe I would offer to pay a minimal amount.
  • Alex_71787
    Alex_71787 Forumite Posts: 4
    Fourth Anniversary First Post
    When a fire alarm sounds the priority of staff is to evacuate customers and then report to their designated assembly point so they can inform the fire brigade that the building is clear. It is not for them to investigate whether the alarm is a false one or to phaff around asking for payment.
    Once the dust has settled - and assuming it took too long to go back to finish the meal - the reasonable thing would be to return to the restaurant or phone them and offer to pay for what you had already consumed. Chances are they will say thanks but no thanks if they have business interruption cover or similar, but it might make all the difference.
    As for poor service, while that might be a reason for not leaving a tip, it is never justification for not paying if you went ahead and consumed the food and drinks. And if you don't tell them about it, how will they know and be able to take steps to improve?
  • retired19
    retired19 Forumite Posts: 16
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts
    The staff may not lose their tips money (your choice) but in these tight times for businesses they may lose their livelihoods if everyone like you walked away without paying . It's not a consequence free decision.
  • confusedgranny
    confusedgranny Forumite Posts: 26
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts
    I wonder if their insurance covers the loss? Some have exclusion clauses.
    If you'd gone back to finish your meal they would still have losses, any courses you'd ordered but hadn't been served they might have cooked but had to cook again, any half eaten courses they might have offered to cook fresh for you.
    I suspect if you went back they might think about customer relations and say you didn't owe anything, unless they were struggling and insurance didn't cover that.

    Nice scam if someone organised a false alarm to avoid paying their bill, hard luck for restaurant or insurance co. though (not suggesting you did that).
  • 65Freddie
    65Freddie Forumite Posts: 2
    First Post
    Definitely you should call the restaurant to discuss the situation.  I am sure they won't expect anyone to pay for anything they didn't consume and may even say you owe nothing, but it is your moral duty to ask what, if anything, you owe them, not your right to choose if you pay or not.  
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