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May 4, 2011 09:47 AM

Handbag ruined after food spills on it - What should restaurant do?


We went to a very upscale steakhouse in NNJ, had reservations, were seated at a 4 top. I put my bag on a spare seat. The next morning, I noticed 2 large stains on the front of it - basically meat juices and tiny green specks.

A few days later, I took it to a specialty dry cleaner, who said it's about $175 to start and he made it very clear to me that there was very little hope in getting the stain out completely. I was shocked! I had him write up an estimate and took it to the restaurant that day and spoke with the manager in the afternoon between lunch & dinner service.

He was very polite, remembered me (we had spoken briefly) and copied the estimate and promised to get back to me after speaking to the owner and pulling our check. He stated that the $175 was close to the purchase price ($300) and that it made sense to just get a new bag.

He hasn't called me back, it's been 2 weeks, and I stopped in one day and he wasn't in. I am really surprised he hasn't called me, he was SO NICE and understanding in person.

What is fair to expect from the restaurant???? What should I do next?

FYI - Our check total was maybe $225, and we've only dined there a few times (others paid).

  1. If you didn't notice the stains until the next morning, how do you know it was the restaurant's fault? Now if the waiter spilled something in clear view of your party, then the resto should offer at least to pay the cleaning bill, but if no one saw who did the spilling, why do think they should compensate you?

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      I completely agree. There's no evidence it was anyone at the restaurant's fault.

      1. He should have called you back if he said he was going to. That being said, how do we know you or one of your companions didn't drop meat on the purse? How is this the restaurants fault?

        1. Restaurant should not do anything, no proof the stains came from there. The chair seats and backs would be all splattered if this sort of thing happened on any regular basis. (Alternately, that particular chair would be all messy yet nobody at the table or serving noticed it happening when it did.)

          If you did not notice stains at night/until you saw it again in daylight, nobody else will notice when you use the bag again.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Snorkelvik

              It has two sides. If it cost $300 or more, both sides should be beautiful. Keep the 'dirty' side toward yourself.

              1. re: Cathy

                Well, it has a front side and a back side, and the stains are on the FRONT.

          1. I don't think the restaurant owes you anything.

            1. It's poor form for the manager to not return a promised callback, but it's poor form of you to expect the restaurant to help you purchase a new bag when you have no way of knowing that the restaurant is at fault here.