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Your restaurant rights


Find out what you could be entitled to in the event of losing a booking, the wrong dish being served, food poisoning and more.

Restaurant table with food and drink

Get the service you deserve

  • Complain about any problem immediately, so the restaurant has a chance to sort it out.
  • Don't continue to eat a meal if you wish to complain about it.

I didn’t get what I ordered. What can I do?

  • If the food you receive isn’t what you ordered or is unsatisfactory, you can either send it back or ask for a substitute. If the replacement isn’t satisfactory, you can refuse to pay for it. You may be asked to leave your name and address with the owner of the restaurant.
  • If you would prefer to pay the full amount upfront, be sure to make it noted that you are paying 'under protest' so that you can claim compensation later.

Do I have to pay a service charge?

  • If the service charge is clearly stated (for example: on the menu or at the front door) you must pay it, unless the service or food was unreasonably poor.
  • If the service charge isn't clearly stated, you don't have to pay it.

I lost a booking, how much money can I get?

  • If you've lost a booking, you could recover the costs you incur, such as travel expenses. There's a possibility you could claim for more to compensate for distress, disappointment and inconvenience in particular cases, such as a wedding.
  • If you fail to turn up to a booking, the restaurant can potentially claim expenses from you.

What happens if I get food poisoning?

  • The source of food poisoning is difficult to prove. It helps if more than one person has it and if you take a sample to your local environmental health department.
  • If you can prove that the kitchen caused your illness, you could recover compensation for pain, suffering, any loss of earnings and other expenses.