If you can’t pay the restaurant bill, will you go to jail?

Have you ever gotten into the awkward situation of not being able to pay for your restaurant shop for some reason? How did you react? Or what’s even more interesting is that the particular restaurant responded to the situation?

Everything was very delicious, you had a great time in the restaurant, and the cloud of stress that was still hovering over your head when you arrived was already gone by the time you packed your belly full. Just like your wallet, which contained all your important documents, some cash, and of course your credit card. With a smile, you signal to the waiter that you want to pay by the time he arrives in front of you earlier than expected, and when you take out your credit card to settle the bill, you find out that you don’t have your wallet. 

You feel embarrassed along with the waiter and apologize, but you don’t give up looking for that damn wallet. The minutes go by, the waiter just looks at you and neither of you knows what to say. Of course, these few minutes seem like hours to you, and you’re sweating heavily, but you’re starting to realize that you really don’t have your card or wallet.

What can the restaurant do then?

But of course, you may have a very good card, but for some reason, you can’t pay with it. There are a number of horrors that can pop into your head. They’ll take it to the sink and work it out for you,


None of that sounds too promising, does it? But what is the reality?

In practice,  in the event that a guest consumes insolvently, the outcome of things largely depends on the restaurant. However, in practice, it is also worth distinguishing between the price categories of restaurants here. If we are talking about a more elite category restaurant, it is possible to book in advance only if you provide your details in advance or ask for a deposit, but even a table reservation is only possible if you have agreed to the mandatory consumption per table set by the restaurant. On the other hand, restaurants, where these criteria are not mandatory, are also much more likely to have such “pay-as-you-go accidents”. 

Whether this is intentional or accidental is another matter, but such cases sometimes occur. We asked two restaurants what to do in this situation according to the protocol and what happens to the guest who doesn’t pay. 

Domestic proceedings

András, the restaurant manager, reveals that fortunately, such a guest is not typical of them, but there has been an example of it. In the case, for example, if someone makes an invoice for HUF 15,000 and you do not pay, the police action, the location, and other official things hinder the restaurant’s turnover and turnover, and the loss of revenue may be a bigger cut, like a piece of an unpaid bill.

“To say two mineral glasses of water remain unpaid is not such a big tragedy for the restaurant. But when it comes to consuming a 10-person company without pay, we get to know it better. ”

The restaurant manager added that there is more mummy for restaurants when they book a table in advance for a corporate event, for example, for 25 people, but only 7 of those 25 people come. This kind of dropout is also a kind of loss for restaurants, because fictitious people who book in advance take away their seats from those who actually show up and want to consume it in the restaurant, but there is no more room for them because of the reserved chairs.

Is it allowed to do the dishes?

Nothing special

We just talking about what happens if one of their guests can’t pay. 

“The practice of working does not work in Hungary, the Hungarian laws would not allow it very much. No form of physical violence is allowed, so we cannot touch the guest, even during maturation. However, if this happens, we may ask him for his ID as a form of security so that he can settle the bill in some way. If the guest is also recorded by cameras, a report can be made afterward, but in many cases, it is not really worth it. Fortunately, our customer base shows a very small proportion of “free people”, so this problem hardly occurs in Hungary. “

In domestic practice, forced washing is also an impassable path because you have to meet strict standards in these places, even if you work “only” as a sink there. Thus, the chances of an insolvent civilian guest being allowed to do the dishes in the kitchen are roughly zero. The method, on the other hand, can be a viable option if the guest is honest and really didn’t intentionally have such a financial buck with him or her to call an acquaintance to help settle the bill. 

It is gratifying that both places have an experience with their guests that 


So it seems that honesty is still not extinct in the world. But it’s no coincidence that the waiters, although they meet a lot of people every day, usually note the more suspicious faces, so they don’t really return to the “scene of the deed”. 

Interestingly, however, the procedure may be different for different locations. One of my acquaintances told me that when he got into an insolvent situation due to a mistake, he and his girlfriend were released on the condition that they stop packing a little chair on the terrace so they could process their consumption. 

What is the situation abroad?

In America, however, the system is a little different. There, the number of thefts varies from state to state. Even if the ubiquitous cameras and security people are not a deterrent, the consequences of a restaurant theft could be greater, as you could even go to jail for it.

The most common way to secure your return for payment is to that you will be asked for a pledge,  which could be your person, your phone, or any of your documents. You’re also interested in getting it back, so you’ll most likely pay, even if later. However, the more exclusive restaurants in the US can even hold you back physically if you can’t pay or ban you from the place forever

By no means do you want to be wary of paying attention to how you pay for your consumption at home or abroad?  So always check to make sure you have your wallet before entering such a place. 

What are the signs that someone is nervous because they know they are in a predicament?

If you find that paying for your dinner will be impossible for you, then although you would like to become invisible, we, unfortunately, have bad news. This is when, due to nervousness, your body starts to show signs to the outside world that something is wrong with you from afar. According to body language experts, signs may include you starting to look nervously back and forth, sweating harder, taking extra steps like babbling your hair, chewing your nails, and drumming with your feet. Otherwise, these tiny signs of body language may indicate anxiety, but in this situation, it is clear that you already know there is a problem, your conscience will of course not allow you to step out of the scene, but you would also avoid the embarrassment of the case by heart.

When the waiter approaches and asks if everything is okay, the best you can do is to admit the problem, and then when you tell your supervisor, you politely and calmly explain to him that you can’t even believe that this could have happened, but your wallet remained at home. In such cases, restaurants reward cooperation for much more than panic and sudden departure and let’s not forget the all-seeing cameras. 


I'm a content writer and writing for 5 years for multinational companies.

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