Author Topic: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?  (Read 20034 times)

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lowspark

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #60 on: January 03, 2014, 02:45:30 PM »
I've never seen a restaurant which has a liquor license allow you to bring in your own. I think it may be against the liquor laws around here but don't quote me on that.

I live in Houston and there are actually dry pockets of the city where restaurants aren't allowed to sell liquor. I know it's crazy but that's what comes of all the annexing of bits & pieces over the years and the accompanying laws of the annexed parcels. Anyway, in my experience, most of the restaurants who can't serve it will charge a corking fee. But yeah, not all of them.

It makes sense to me not to charge it in order to attract people but on the other hand, even with the fee, it's still often cheaper to bring your own.

tinkytinky

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #61 on: January 03, 2014, 03:08:13 PM »
It also has to do with the image that the restaurant is trying to portray. I remember witnessing a family one time that brought their two preschool children to a very fancy restaurant (late '80s) all dressed up, carrying their happy meals in the box. The Maitre D' told them they couldn't allow the boxes in the dining room, but would take them to the kitchen to be plated. When they ordered and the food was brought out, the staff had taken extra care to plate the kids food to look like something ordered from the restaurant. They had lined up the french fries in a design, had parsley decorating and even put the decorative picks thru the burgers. The plates looked like very high priced meals, but the mother threw a fit because "all they really want are the toy and the box".....


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Hmmmmm

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #62 on: January 03, 2014, 03:18:16 PM »
I've never seen a restaurant which has a liquor license allow you to bring in your own. I think it may be against the liquor laws around here but don't quote me on that.

I live in Houston and there are actually dry pockets of the city where restaurants aren't allowed to sell liquor. I know it's crazy but that's what comes of all the annexing of bits & pieces over the years and the accompanying laws of the annexed parcels. Anyway, in my experience, most of the restaurants who can't serve it will charge a corking fee. But yeah, not all of them.

It makes sense to me not to charge it in order to attract people but on the other hand, even with the fee, it's still often cheaper to bring your own.

I live in Houston too and there are a few restaurants with liquor licenses that allow you to BYOB too. Underbelly, La Vista,
Jonathan's the Rub, Palazzo's. But I'm not sure if they have a full license or just beer and wine. All of them charge a corking fee either by the bottle or by the person but all very reasonable. But other's that don't do any liquor don't charge a corking fee at all like Pizaro Pizza or Himalaya.  But all of them are locally owned.

With the cakes, I find the same with taking in desserts. More small, non-chain restaurants seem to have more relaxed rules. We were at a brunch with a large group at El Tiempo about 6 months ago and one of the guys had been perfecting his fried chicken recipe. He brought in samples for us to try and the waiter even  brought out small plates without any prompting. Of course we were a table of 12 ordering lots of food so they weren't concerned with loosing any business.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #63 on: January 03, 2014, 04:12:11 PM »
The cruise line Royal Carribean lets you take wine aboard the ship, but if you want to have it in the dining room with your dinner or any public area they charge corkage. This doesn't count if you purchased the wine from them as part of a gift package in your room.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 04:15:22 PM by Katana_Geldar »

Library Dragon

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #64 on: January 03, 2014, 06:26:40 PM »
Corkage fees will vary.  BIL is a regular at one restaurant in NJ and never gets charged a fee.  But, we tend to have all family gatherings at that restaurant, so it's in their interest. 

Some wine towns, such as Livermore, Califormia, will not charge a corkage fee if you bring in a Livermore wine.  Smart idea that encourages diners to buy locally produced wines. 

I've only refused to pay an outrageous corkage fee once.  I bought a bottle from a wine store and was going to have it in their cafe section, ordering for friends and I a full meal to go with it.  They wanted to charge as much as the bottle cost for the corkage.  Uh, no.  The waitress and owner snappishly told me that I couldn't buy the wine at that price at LaTiDa Ristorante across town.  No, but for a few dollars more I would also have white table cloth service, real wine glasses, and a very nice menu at the same food prices. 

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onikenbai

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #65 on: January 04, 2014, 09:37:50 PM »
Of course, these were also in very different locations, so there may or may not have been health code differences.

I don't want to veer into legal territory, but FYI, I just asked my Chef, and he says the health department here does not really approve of outside food.

Toronto is very much a no outside food allowed place and it is strictly enforced.  I see people get kicked out of cafes all the time for bringing in their own cookies to go with their coffee, or at least get told to put the cookies away and to enjoy them off the property.  Same goes for fast food places.  Bringing your own cake to a restaurant would definitely not go well here without clearing it with the manager first and, even then, the restaurant might not accept home made cakes, just professional bakery ones, if they allow you to do it at all.  The theory behind it is that if you get food poisoning from something you ate, was it the restaurant food or was it the cake?  By accepting the cake into the restaurant, they're accepting liability by allowing it to be served and blah, blah legal stuff.

The only times I've ever been to a restaurant party where we provided our own cake was when I was living in Japan.  The restaurants were very small and the Japanese are generally not eaters of dessert so the restaurants were not physically able to provide an appropriate alternative.  The average North American restaurant has a fine dessert menu and if you tell the waiter it's somebody's birthday they usually make an effort to produce something pretty.  There really is no need to bring cake from outside.  In essence, you're telling the restaurant that what they serve just isn't up to your birthday standard, which is a tad rude.  Unless you have a party of 100 or something, then you're back into the need category and you should order a cake.  With sprinkles.  I love sprinkles.

ladyknight1

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #66 on: January 04, 2014, 09:47:10 PM »
The teens should have contacted the restaurant first to confirm they were fine with the cakes being brought. I'm suprised none of their parents suggested this. When they called they would be told of the cutting fee that is to cover labor cost of providing utensils. We've had some restaurants charge a fee and others not.

I don't believe your dad should intervene.

I agree. However, I would like to mention that I bake birthday cakes for people all the time and they are usually eaten at a restaurant after we have a meal. I always ask if the restaurant minds before bringing the cake in and I always offer slices to the server, manager, etc. I have never been refused and have never been charged for plates and cutlery.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #67 on: January 04, 2014, 09:50:19 PM »
I've taken a cake to a restaurant before, in a suburb of Toronto.  I called first and inquired; they even offered to take the cake into the kitchen and bring it out after the meal.

It was for my mother's 65th birthday; I had a cake decorating class later in the evening in the same plaza so I had an excuse to be brining a cake in with me.  The plan was that Dad was supposed to go in ahead with Mom and sit down while I parked over by the store I would be at later.  But when I came in with the cake, intending to hand it off to the hostess, Mom and Dad were still standing there!  Mom didn't want to sit down without me.  I quickly covered, saying that I was worried the cake would melt in the car and just took it with us to the table.  I had made lily of the valley on the cake, which was a favourite of my Mom's.

So after dinner, I pulled out the cake; the server brought us plates and a knife and I served the cake.  There was no charge for this but we did tip extra for the extra service.  Since Mom and Dad were heading home, 2.5 hours away, after the meal while I went to my class, there was no way to have the cake with her favourite flower at home later, which is what I would normally have done.

So I do think this is one of those occasions where it is OK to ask, as long as you accept the restaurant's answer.
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CityGirlInCowboyBoots

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #68 on: January 05, 2014, 11:42:57 AM »
One of the restaurants I worked in did allow for you to bring your own cake for things like birthdays/bridal showers/etc. We had a 50cent fee per plate *or* you could bring your own plates. All the situations I knew of, the people asked in advance if it was okay so were told in advance of the fee. This restaurant though while we had dessert it was for the most part limited to a few pie choices and ice cream desserts, no cake (with the exception of the occasional dessert special).

m2kbug

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #69 on: January 05, 2014, 12:12:08 PM »
It's been YEARS since I have encountered any type of "slicing fee."  Back in high school would be the last time.  Some people have never heard of this at all.  It wouldn't even OCCUR to me to mention this possibility to my kids...at least not until this thread popped up.  I would also have to know that the kids were planning to bring their own cake before I could ask if they called the restaurant to be sure it was okay to do so.  If one of the other teens was planning to bring the cake, this might not even come up.  So while I agree, parents should be on top of teaching their kids about this phenomenon, it may be impossible to do so.  Hopefully if met with this fee, they manage it politely. 

baglady

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #70 on: January 05, 2014, 04:54:36 PM »
I actually had a restaurant's owners *tell* me that if we wanted a cake for the party we were planning there, we had to bring our own since they don't do cake (this is a neighborhood pub with great food but a very limited dessert menu -- usually just one or two daily specials). They even arranged it so I could bring the cake over in advance of party time, although they weren't open yet. We did raid their supply of (disposable) plates and forks, since the co-planner, who was supposed to bring them, had a brain fart and forgot. We sliced and served the cake ourselves. There was no fee.

It's quite possible that this same place would charge a party of strangers a fee for an outside cake on, say, a busy Friday night, but GoH, co-planner and I are regulars, and they were thrilled to host this party for their good friend GoH and his buds on a Sunday afternoon, when they otherwise wouldn't have 50 or 60 people in there. They made out very well that day!

Bottom line: Slicing or "forkage" (love that!) fees are not universal. Calling ahead to find out whether bringing an outside cake is allowed/incurs a fee is the smart thing to do, but I wouldn't expect a bunch of teenagers inexperienced with this situation to know that.

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AnnaJ

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #71 on: January 05, 2014, 05:02:20 PM »
I don't think it's surprising that the kids didn't know about the fee, it's certainly not universal knowledge.  What I find disturbing is that they would sulk about it after being informed that it was restaurant policy.  Obviously the OP doesn't know, but I am curious about what sort of a tip they left the server.

peaches

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #72 on: January 05, 2014, 05:59:45 PM »
The teens should have contacted the restaurant first to confirm they were fine with the cakes being brought. I'm suprised none of their parents suggested this. When they called they would be told of the cutting fee that is to cover labor cost of providing utensils. We've had some restaurants charge a fee and others not.

I don't believe your dad should intervene.

I agree. However, I would like to mention that I bake birthday cakes for people all the time and they are usually eaten at a restaurant after we have a meal. I always ask if the restaurant minds before bringing the cake in and I always offer slices to the server, manager, etc. I have never been refused and have never been charged for plates and cutlery.

This has been my experience, although I have often brought paper or Styrofoam plates and forks along to save trouble for the restaurant (as well as checking in advance about their policies).

I don't think it's necessary to point out to strangers that their expectations are unreasonable. They likely learned from the experience - or were given a heads up when they went home and complained to their parents, and were told "Why didn't you check with the restaurant ahead of time? Not every restaurant will accommodate food being brought in." 

jmarvellous

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #73 on: January 05, 2014, 06:24:25 PM »
I would think to check in advance (as a teen) but I would not be surprised, if I had forgotten to check ahead (which is equally likely), to be told I couldn't serve my cake.

Even today, I would not be happy with a $3-$5 per slice fee for bringing in a cake; it would affect whether I chose to celebrate there, if I wanted to serve my own cake. Fortunately or not, this hasn't come up because I have never wanted to bring a cake to a restaurant.

Two years ago, for my then-BF's birthday, I brought in a Tupperware of peanut butter sandwich cookies to share to a bar that didn't have any food on the menu, but did have food carts nearby, from which patrons were free to order food and bring it into the bar courtyard. I did not expect any interference, and received none. That's as close as I've come.

learningtofly

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Re: Bringing your own food to the restaurant? Really?
« Reply #74 on: January 06, 2014, 12:45:21 PM »
A few years back I went out to a wonderful restaurant for a friend's birthday.  We had a large party (small restaurant and 12 of us) and I didn't know anyone other than the birthday girl.  This restaurant has a fabulous pastry chef.  Sometimes people come just for dessert.  At dessert time someone produced a cake.  The restaurant told us it would be $4 per slice to cut and plate it.  They did a very nice job of plating it, but I was rather annoyed that I wasn't given a choice.  I would rather have paid $7 for a fabulous dessert than $4 for what turned out to be mediocre store bought cake.  Not to mention I was embarassed that this had been done in a restaurant with a fabulous pastry chef!