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Ethics of Walking Out on a Restaurant Bill.

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I was out to dinner a few weeks ago and an interesting situation arose. It was mother's day so my family and I dined at a restaurant. It took about an hour and a half to get seated and just as we ordered the fire alarm went off :glare: (apparently there was a fire in the kitchen).

Everyone was directed to leave the building and it took about 30-45 minutes until we could go back and eat. When we came back into the restaurant, we noticed that the family of 7 next to us, who had just finished their meal before the alarm went off, left without paying for their food.

Note: they would not have been able to pay until after the fire department inspected the place so they would have had to wait about 30 minutes.

What is proper in this situation? I do not believe that they should have to wait 30 minutes so they can pay for their food, but it does bother me a bit that they can just walk out without paying for anything.

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What is proper in this situation? I do not believe that they should have to wait 30 minutes so they can pay for their food, but it does bother me a bit that they can just walk out without paying for anything.

Maybe they’re regulars and went back to settle up later. Can the restaurant demand people stick around? By what means? What means that wouldn’t amount to false imprisonment and/or kidnapping?

What if these people had theater tickets or otherwise had to go somewhere?

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I think it would be possible to get money to the manager. Based on your information, I don't think skipping the bill as the only option.

Not exactly the same, but we went out for sushi once, and after getting our drinks and ordering appetizers, we sat for an hour without receiving anything, or even being checked on by the waitress. Everyone in our group decided to leave, but we still left cash on the table for the drinks and appetizers (which we never even got).

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