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Do Restaurants Allow Someone to Wash Dishes as Compensation If They Cannot Pay?

You better have my money or go wash my dishes, Sounds good to me

It’s funny how some people sort of just veered off and answered it differently.

Here’s the exact answer to this question: NO.

If you noticed people mentioned here in Quora, you’ll form the same conclusion in that

  • For fast food joints or small cafe, people who works there will feel sympathy and give out the free food or comp the bill. Why? Probably it’s not worth it for them to make a fuss. Also, many times they will probably throw away any mis-ordered dishes or in some cases having food that is easily marked as “promotional free food” on their ledger. If it’s sympathetic, no need to judge and they will willingly handed out easily. Of course, the story is always about the less fortunate in these situations.
  • You get the middle of the road restaurants, a little higher scale in terms of maybe Denny’s or even Olive Garden. Majority of the people will chuck this up as the person forgot to bring their wallet after receiving a meal or having a bill coming their way. What the answer will always be in that they jot down the phone numbers of the person and let the person go if they promised to pay. Holding them or having them do chores is again probably not worth it like in the first situation. If they were less fortunate and people feel sorry for them, again, probably people will hand out the food with no qualms.

Now, we get in to the interesting part. What about high end restaurants or bills that comes out to be large amount? Can you barter service in exchange for the bill to be forgiven?

I worked in restaurant as a kid. Let’s just say that washing dishes are NOT the only assignment you will get if you got dish washing duties. You will need to come in early to prep the ingredients, clean the glass on windows and doors, mop/sweep the floor, be a buser for the tables, and clean the restrooms as well. All those are part of the job along with washing dishes.

Oh, did I mentioned that majority of those guys who do those jobs are very desperate and often took less pay than usual? That’s the secret about a job like this no one wants to talk about, it’s one of the ways restaurants do to hire to save the costs as the labor force in each state varies and eat up the small margins they tend to have.

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Let’s say you went into this restaurant that probably is about $$ on TravelAdvisor. You ordered a cocktail drink ($14 in my area these days), an app ($10), a main ($15-$20), and a dessert ($8). You gulp this in delight and wants to beg off from paying that big amount and see if you can worked the kitchen to wash dishes.

More likely it’s going to happen is that the restaurant will want you to call someone up and asked if they can come in to square the bill for you. More likely they want cash. No way they want to take a credit card over the phone if your friend/family will reverse it later. You can put something down as a collateral and go out get your wallet to pay for if you were missing a wallet. But if you didn’t have the means to pay and wants to barter, then it’s a moot point for that instance.

If you looked like a less fortunate, the staff would have spotted you and be cautious with you before you are shown to the table. Profiling at its worst.

If you looked like you can pay, but just don’t want to, the restaurant would just want to call the cops if you racked up a bill that is in high amount for a per person average.

Here’s a story of a guy who skipped paying restaurant bills and left his date to pay for it. LA's Infamous Dine-And-Dash Dater Sentenced to 120 Days

The last resort is always calling a cop to give you a citation. Once they record you for non-payment, restaurant will attempt to recoup in either an invoice in the mail to you or filing a small claim based on the info you gave to the police. Either way, a restitution would need to be made if the charges are ever filed.

Most restaurant already have a guy that is willing to do a lot more and get paid way less than your meal. No way they want to give you the service for that night and you want to do only a portion of a job for that.

You are in better luck to try the first two examples I put above. According to many users who posted up their answers in Quora…. you’ll get free food as they will feel your pain. As in for the higher end restaurants, if you are lucky to get in on a table, no way will they settled. They want their money.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Hasan Erekat

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