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Refills To Go at Sit Down Restaurants

I want to get some feedback from my fellow ‘hounds on something. I regularly have lunch with co-workers. I really enjoy their company, and we are great about trying new places as a group, but there are a couple of them that do something that I find a little embarrassing.

At the end of the meal in sit down restaurants after we have paid the bill, they will often ask for an additional soda in a to-go cup. We are a very open with each other as a group and joke with each other all the time. I have called them out for doing this (in fact, I told the group today I was going to post here about it), but they see nothing wrong with it, reasoning that they have paid for a soda with free refills. They usually have at least one refill while we are there; sometimes they have several. In my mind, asking for a refill on the way out the door is inappropriate. Am I right to be embarrassed by this, or do I need to lighten up?

Thanks in advance for your input. We are all looking forward to seeing the responses.

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  1. I think it is fine. We own a restaurant and see plenty of people ask for to go cups and we specifically ask people if they want a to go cup or a refill if they are buying take out before they leave.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vttp926

      We don't ask (and I hardly ever accept if offered) but some places offer. My wife is a fountain soda junkie so it thrills her. I can imagine the cost is way offset by the goodwill it creates.

      1. re: vttp926

        I like it when a server offers me a to-go drink at the end of my meal, but I rarely take advantage of it. It's pretty common where I live.

      2. Well, if I were to get all Emily-Post about it, I'd say that the free refills are intended to apply while dining. Same idea as all-you-can-eat shrimp; but no one's going to let you out the door with a to-go container of that, eh? Fountain soda is cheap enough that the place can shrug it off.

        I wouldn't do it, myself. Seems chintzy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DuchessNukem

          Agree with DuchessNukem...and others here.

        2. Do they think they're entitled to an endless amount of refills?

          The markup on fountain soda is ridiculous but that isn't the point.
          My feeling is that when the bill has been paid, you're ready to go, then a 'to go' cup and its contents need to be paid for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: latindancer

            That's the way I've always looked at it as well.
            If the server offers it, that's a different story.

          2. I would find something else to worry about or be embarassed about (dining partner flatulance for example)... let the restaurant tell them 'no' if they want to. I actually think it's a win-win. The person is happy feeling they got something extra and the restaurant has a likely repreat customer.
            BTW... I seldom drink soda either out or at home.

            1. My opinion is that asking for somethong so clearly inappropriate lacks class. It is inappropriate because the free refills are normally going into a reusable glass which is already dirty, so there is no extra cost there. And the service is obviously intended to ensure that a diner will have enough to drink with the meal, not to provide for a snack later. I'm surprised a restaurant would go for it. It costs them extra for the to-go cup and lid, and requires extra service. (The cost of the soda itself is a pittance.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: GH1618

                Agree with GH1618

                I thought I had seen it all (at least most) but I have never seen a customer ask for a to go drink cup for a non-alcoholic drink.

                1. re: GH1618

                  I have a favorite lunch spot down the street from my workplace. From the outset when dining there, I will order my diet Pepsi in a to-go cup with lemon, just so I don't have to ask for one later and they don't need to dirty a glass cup on my behalf. They always ask if I'd like a refill before I leave, but I'd never dream of asking them for one. It would make me feel like a total cheapskate.