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Food Spill

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We dined at a new hot spot in NYC this past weekend. The waiter was so rushed to clear our table he spilled all over my cousin. This was a Sat night, with us all dressed up for dancing later.

What's the consensus on how the restaurant should handle that? And how you as a customer should handle as well?

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  1. Profuse apologies, to start with. A serious offer, backed up with action, to pay any cleaning bills that may result. They can't really undo the mess, or provide a change of clothing, but they definitely ought to pay for any cleaning that's needed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: revsharkie

      Yep, they should pay for the dry cleaning (and your cousin should be willing to provide a receipt, too). I'm sure many will argue that the whole meal should have been comped, but I think that's an optional thing for the restaurant. If I were the manager, a gift certificate or some sort of gesture to get you to come back is what I'd do, because I'm not sure it warrants comping the whole bill...but it'd be hard to know where to draw the line on comping a part of it.

      As a customer, a healthy dose of "these things happen" will help you keep your sanity. Being upset is totally justified, but it sounds like it was clearly a mistake, not anything malicious, so trying to deal with it as best you can is always a good way to go. You should definitely make it clear that the restaurant is paying for the cleaning, though and tell them you'll send a copy of the receipt.

    2. i agree with the other posters. pay for the cleaning or for the replacement if the clothing is not cleanable. a free drink (or something) is a nice gesture.

      accidents happen to the best of us. that's life.

      1 Reply
      1. re: excuse me miss

        Good call on the replacement if the clothes can't be satisfactorily cleaned.

      2. I was out with a large group with plans to go out after. The waitress dropped a bottle of ketchup that spilled all over my friend. She brought over a manager without us saying anything. Brought the whole table a round of drinks (there were around 10 of us) and comped the meal of the person the food was spilled on. The waitress left her contact information with a promise to pay for a new shirt. We felt this was way more than generous. My friend did not take the waitress up on her offer for a new shirt since he felt it was an accident.

        1. Many years ago while dining in a German restaurant in Cincinnati, I had a bowl of green beans with bacon and lots of drippings dropped on my head and silk dress. The waitress was profusely apologetic and started to help clear off the beans off of me; the owner immediately came over with a business card so I could send them the cleaning bill. When I explained I was from out of state and on a business visit, she arranged for my garment to be picked up from my hotel that evening, cleaned, and returned to me the next business day. Plus, she comped my entire meal!

          A month later I was in town again and returned with a couple associates for dinner. She recognized me and thanked me for returning to her establishment. I replied that I couldn't stay away from the good food and great service. Too bad that after 25 years, I can't remember the name of the restaurant to give her full credit for a gracious and fast response to a messy accident.