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Right in the restaurant: guests don't have to swallow everything

First you wait for an hour for food with a growling stomach. Then the carelessly served french fries are only lukewarm, the vegetables are limp instead of firm to the bite and the steak anything but "medium"? And the waitress doesn't even react to "the bill please"? When it comes to catering in the restaurant, you as a guest do not have to accept everything. We tell you what to look out for when visiting a restaurant.

Is a table reservation in the restaurant binding?

If you have reserved a table in a restaurant, you should also appear at the agreed time. Because if you do not show up despite having reserved a table, the landlord can theoretically demand compensation from you. In practice, however, this almost never happens, because the innkeeper does not know your address - at least when making a reservation by telephone.

It looks different, however, if the innkeeper reserves a table for you and you do not consume anything on site. If you do not fulfill your obligation to order when reserving a table, you can be prosecuted.

Are information on the menu binding?

If you have found what you are looking for on the menu and place an order, don't look too early. Because announcements are on menus non-binding offers. The landlord only needs to fulfill the request if he has the ordered food and drinks in stock. If, for example, the fresh oysters advertised on the menu are sold out, you have to accept that.

How long do guests have to wait for the meal?

As a guest, you don't have to put up with long waiting times. If the food is served too late, you can reduce the price. According to a judgment of the LG Karlsruhe, restaurant visitors were allowed to be delayed by more than 1.5 hours the bill 30 percentt shorten (judgment of May 12, 1993, Az. 1 S 196/92). However, you usually have to wait 30 minutes.

What can guests do with bad food or bad service?

Food and drinks must be of impeccable quality and preparation. Food gone bad like moldy cheese or salad with rancid oil, you can and should complain. You can also object to anything that is unusual, such as almost raw pasta, over-salted fish or a cold soup - if it is not gazpacho.

If there is something else on the plate than what was ordered, you don't need to swallow it either. For example, you don't have to eat cauliflower if you have ordered broccoli vegetables or chew on a half-raw steak if you wanted a well-cooked one.

Even with far too small portions or one bad service you don't have to be satisfied. A rough service may still be acceptable for a pub, but a price reduction in a three-star restaurant could be justified. Conversely, you will probably have to reckon with smaller amounts of food in an upscale restaurant than in a good bourgeois restaurant.

Can guests pay less for bad food?

In the event of a complaint, the landlord must first Fix deficiency or exchange the food for a perfect dish. The cook has to fry the still raw steak and replace the wrinkled salad from the previous day with a freshly prepared one. If that doesn't work - because, for example, there is no more fresh greens - or if the host refuses, you can lower the price as the next step, if you want to continue eating at all. If you have finally lost your appetite, you can Decrease food without pay to let.

It is still possible to return the food if the shortage shows up later. If, for example, a caterpillar appears in the side salad or a piece of glass in the compote in the half-empty bowl, you can return the rest. The landlord can then theoretically demand that you have to pay the price for the perfect part of the dish that has already been consumed.

How long do guests have to wait for the bill in the restaurant?

You don't have to wait indefinitely in the restaurant for the bill. If the waiter does not respond despite repeated loud requests, it is best to pay at the counter. Attention: If you leave the restaurant furiously without paying, you should at least leave your name and address so that the landlord can send you the bill. If you just go, this can be chalked up as a criminal "dodging".

Who is liable if the jacket is stolen in the restaurant?

Even after paying, restaurant guests can still experience a nasty surprise. The landlord is not liable for a stolen coat, for example, if the guest could see the cloakroom from his table. If, on the other hand, you are unable to take a look at the discarded item of clothing, the landlord must vouch for the loss. This also applies if he has excluded his liability with a sign that reads "We are not liable for cloakroom".

Is the landlord liable in the event of a fall in the restaurant?

If you stumble on the door or slip, you are usually unlucky and cannot blame the owner for it. However, the landlord must warn of particular dangers, such as a threshold at the door or a floor that is too smoothly polished. If he does not do this, he makes himself liable for damages.

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center for the network of consumer centers in Germany.