Bring Your Own? Please Don’t.

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Manners / Gratitude

Posted: 09/27/2010

Back in March, I posted 64 Suggestions for Bar Customers. Number 36 declares, Bringing in beverages from outside of the restaurant is a no-no. My long-standing conviction about this practice led to a spirited discussion on Yelp Talk (Boston) recently when I posted the following:

I’ll never understand how adults can walk into brunch at an upscale, sit-down, full service restaurant with large Starbucks cups with no shame. They didn’t try to hide them, didn’t apologize, didn’t ask for a barrel to dispose of them, and never asked their server if it was ok if they finished their drinks. They put them on their table in plain view and finished them during brunch. In case anyone is wondering, these people were 35-50 years old, not hungover college kids.

For those of you unfamiliar with Yelp Talk, the topics and commentary range from hilarious to high-brow, and everything in-between. If you sift through the banality, insanity and white noise, you can learn a lot.

Here is a sampling of the Yelp responses to my post:

Josh W.Why would someone be ashamed of that?

Shane K. – yeah, what exactly is the big deal if they ate and paid for their food?

Therein lies part of the problem….

Mary M.Maybe they just stopped to get a coffee on their way to brunch – a lot of coffee-drinkers don’t like to wait until 11 or noon or whenever brunch starts to have their first cup of the day. They weren’t finished, so they brought it along and will probably order (and drink) more at brunch. Anyway, do most brunches charge separately for coffee?

Jason B.most restaurants, unless they have some kind of genius management, have coffee that is absolute shit. Most large-scale coffee machines are made out of metal and plastic that rarely, if ever, gets properly cleaned… Also, most places buy their coffee in bulk, which does absolutely no good for freshness. Result: restaurant coffee, by and large, is disgusting…Bottom line: if restaurant coffee didn’t suck so hard, I would come down on the side of “don’t bring outside coffee into a restaurant”, but it does, so I can’t really complain. I’m a coffee snob.

Michael N.The point is that the restaurant probably also sells coffee. So by bringing in your own you are depriving them of a sale. It’s equivalent to sneaking in your own popcorn to a movie theater. Except that you’re kinda rubbing it in the restaurant’s face.

Laura D.…bringing in a beverage does not automatically deprive the restaurant of business. Possibly alienating a group of diners by making them throw away their drinks would lose far more business.

Sarah D.I don’t bring outside food/drink into restaurants, I feel weird about it.

Geoff M. - I’m really, really surprised that people think this is OK…It’s just not appropriate to bring your own.

MC slim JB, (One of Boston’s most knowledgeable restaurant critics and food/drinks writers)- The argument against allowing outside drinks from a business perspective is that you establish a precedent, effectively encouraging other customers to bring coffee in from a competitor. I don’t see that as a good business strategy, myself. I certainly see people that do it without asking as rude and disrespectful to the business. Not wanting to serve rude and disrespectful people is reason enough not to want to allow it.

The comment about it being disrespectful to the business cuts to the core of my message. While every situation is unique and should be judged on its own merits, it’s insulting to the restaurant when people bring drinks in from a competitor and don’t, at a minimum, ask for permission.

Coren D., linked the Yelp discussion to a similar post by Frank Bruni, The New York Times’ former chief restaurant critic and author of his best-selling memoir, Born Round. Bruni relates the story of a friend who entered an establishment with a Starbucks coffee and the hostess who told him to throw it away. His friend challenged the hostess, but she stood her ground. Bruni dismissed his friend’s indignation stating, “While coffee-purchased-elsewhere wasn’t going to make a huge economic impact on the place’s business in that particular situation, on that particular morning, it strikes me as a measure of disrespect. As bad form.”

Readers also commented on Bruni’s piece:

BrieCS – … I think that unless a sign is posted (no outside foods or beverages), they should not claim you cannot have it with you or have to throw it away.

Signs like that, especially in an upscale joint, are tacky. Do we really need such explicitness? On second thought, maybe we do…

Annabelle - Starbucks coffee is in a container that says “Starbucks” – bad advertising for any other coffee shop. To save his coffee, (Bruni’s friend) should have asked for a cup and poured his leftovers into that. Maybe the coffee shop could even hand out mugs to everyone waiting for a seat-that would be good relations and calm the situation.

Annabelle gets it and realizes that you can make your point, maintain good business practice and keep your customers. These situations require finesse, flexibility and empathy from all involved.

KatharineI think it depends on the formality of the restaurant. At McDonald’s, almost anything goes. At a white tablecloth restaurant, I’d be appalled to see someone bring in Starbucks.

ReneeI am definitely guilty of carrying a Starbucks into a diner here and there, BUT only if they serve flavored coffees. I have a severe tree nut allergy and can not drink coffee that has been ground in the same grinder or brewed in the same pot as a “nut” flavored coffee (almond, hazelnut etc…). Most have understood and allow me my caffeine from another source! In return, I must say, I have been extremely loyal to those that are gracious and understanding.

Adam W.Unless the diner is gonna offer a decent product, they better be ready for me to bring in something more to my tastes.

Adam sounds like a real charmer…

RoseThe hostess was only trying to do her job. Think how you would feel if someone came into your office or your store (or place of employment) and tried to change the procedures that YOUR boss wants you to follow…Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for once and quit being selfish…

Amen, Rose.

No one wants to be told that they are bad customers or rude people. Some people go to great lengths to defend and/or rationalize their boorish behavior as a means of self-preservation or just plain ignorance. After all, some people just don’t know what they don’t know.

MC Slim JB: This issue strikes me as part of the whole culture of unmerited self-entitlement, folks doing something that clearly isn’t appropriate and either being oblivious to the fact or finding ways to justify being rude anyway…The question I consider in these situations is: do these people have any sense at all that what they’re doing might be rude, and have they decided to be rude anyway, or are they really clueless about it? I’m not sure which is worse…

Where do you stand on this issue?


68 Responses to “Bring Your Own? Please Don’t.”

  1. Todd Bradley says:

    My take on this is pretty simple. If it’s a product the establishment sells, I won’t take it with me, but will buy one there. If it isn’t, it’s fair game.

    Example 1: When I visit the movie theater, I know they don’t serve fresh fish tacos, so I’ll take my own if I’m watching a movie at dinner time. I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to argue that I should make a meal of popcorn.

    Example 2: When I have a half-consumed coffee from this morning and meet friends at a coffee shop, I dump the old one out and buy a new one. This is good for me and good for the coffee shop.

    Example 3: When I take my 3 month old to the sushi restaurant, I already know they don’t sell breast milk. So I take my own. They don’t get upset.

    Example 4: But when I take my 3 month old to the sushi restaurant and I haven’t finished my beer, I leave it at home. The sushi bar serves beer.

    That seems simple enough. I want my favorite businesses to succeed, or they’ll be replaced by businesses that will probably suck. So I support businesses that make it easy for me to do business with them.

    #1 lesson for any restaurant or entrepreneur: Make it easy for me to do business with you.

  2. Brian Gurry says:

    Sometimes I bring my own steak and ask if they can cook it and charge me half price…

    Some people just don’t get it. Maybe they’ll wake up if they read this blog.

  3. I hate to admit that I’ve been guilty of this, but ONLY at one particular establishment near my home. It’s a great little diner that churns out yummy breakfasts, lunches, and blue plate specials along with amazing pies, but…their coffee is swill (and I’m not even a real coffee snob, so…it’s that bad!). It’s a really casual environment, so I don’t feel awful about bringing in my ‘bucks. I mean, they don’t even provide 1/2 and 1/2 for coffee so you can’t even really cobble something decent together there. At any rate, they don’t seem to mind at all, I always tip like a champ, and if I weren’t able to bring in my coffee, I wouldn’t breakfast there.

    All that said, I would NEVER do it at my local bistro, which is certainly upscale and serves a fantastic Sunday brunch.

  4. Kellie says:

    I am guilty of bringing a starbucks drink with me if I haven’t finished it. I also will order another drink, and food at the restaurant and order drinks and food for my kids. I have been a bartender and server for 20 years and would NEVER do it otherwise.

  5. robinite says:

    You know, the restaurant also doesn’t put up a sign saying “Don’t Defecate on Our Floor,” that doesn’t mean it isn’t rude. OK, my example was extreme, but all the same, it’s rude to bring your own food/drink to a sit-down meal. If you don’t want all they have to offer, order takeout and eat it in the park or at home.

  6. robinite says:

    … what I said earlier being said, Annabelle and Renee (above) do make very good points :)

  7. Kellie says:

    Oh and one more thing. Saying that your bring your own coffee because most restaurants coffee isn’t good is like brining your own french fries from somewhere else because you like them better. You are eating / drinking at that establishment you can’t bring your own sides or beverages….

  8. Gubmint Worker says:

    I wouldn’t carry coffee into a restaurant, but I don’t exactly see a problem with people who do so, unless said coffee toting patron takes up table space and orders nothing.

    In regard to coffee – I’m guilty of this: If the restaurant claims to not have milk or cream for it, I’ll send it back. Nothing irritates me more than the server to say, “We don’t have milk” when I see a gaggle of wiggling children eating Fruit Loops in cereal from the kid’s breakfast menu. I’ll instead order water, buy my coffee elsewhere when I leave the restaurant. Oh, and also never go back to said restaurant.

  9. Arthur says:

    I’m not sure how it is elsewhere, but in Oregon I have been told it is against health laws for outside food/beverage to come into another establishment, so I can always play that card if need be. I work in a hotel bar and there is a non-restaurant seating area in the lobby I can direct people to. I will even at times ask if I may transfer their beverages to one of our cups. I personally don’t care that much, I’m a bartender and I don’t really want to pour coffee or make lattes.

  10. Lou Warren says:

    My response is…”Let me get this out of the way for you” and swoop it up, obviously to make room for the drink I am going to sell them. If there is an issue, my answer is “do you take your own coffee to a coffee shop?”. I think it is not only rude and thoughtless, it is incedibly cheap. To move on to an attached topic…when did having a cup of coffee become an event? As in, “Let’s get a coffee” and then drag it around with you everywhere you go, shopping, walking the dog, or whatever? I personally don’t have an awful lot of time for that.

  11. Stevie says:

    In NYC it is not against health laws per se, but any restaurant is responsible for all food and beverages consumed on premises. If someone chokes on or gets ill from an item brought from outside, the establishment is responsible – this is why many places prohibit consumption of products purchased off-site.
    That being said, it is not only tacky, but if you don’t like or, for whatever reason, can’t consume the products being offered, why go to the place at all? Stay at Starbucks!
    I worked at a place once that didn’t allow cakes (like for birthdays or other occasions) to be brought in, but would provide special desserts or, if arranged in advance, would make a dessert to the customer’s specifications. It was pricey, but customers loved the special birthday cakes!
    A few years ago, I had a small group of college kids eating dinner in my section, and they were joined by a friend who brought her own Chinese take-out, and proceeded to eat it! At the request of management, I asked her several times to stop, pointed out that we didn’t allow consumption of outside food, showed her our menu, until I had to have the manager intervene, who asked her to leave. The position she put me in, I felt, was ridiculous, since I was enjoying waiting on her friends, and had to enforce house policy, which kind of put a damper on the whole thing.

  12. Stevie says:

    I will also add that a friend once likened this whole subject to whether it would be appropriate for you to be invited to a acquaintance’s house for dinner and show up with your own food to eat instead of theirs. It’s just rude. If you go to a restaurant and want to be treated as a guest, act like one. Partake of what is offered, or don’t go.

  13. Peter says:

    Coffee became an event as soon as people saw spending $5 on coffee as a status symbol. As a general rule most food establishments pay hard earned money to advertise their place of business. Unless they are a Burger King or other fast food giant not named McDonald’s they do not mention their competitors in their ads. Doing so only promotes another brand. The same applies to allowing a customer to bring a competitor’s product into their establishment.

    Unfortunately with the advent of cell phones and other intrusive devices people have no common sense idea as to what is and is not appropriate. Bringing outside product into an establishment is just plain wrong. Anybody that has a problem with that just needs to get over themselves or buy a smaller cup of coffee.

  14. Cathy says:

    WOW!
    I just don’t think it is such a big deal. In the first place in my neighborhood there are some restaurants that do not serve lattes – they used to take orders for them and run a server over to Starbucks!

    In other restaurants on Sundays often there is a long line to get in for breakfast. Many people stop at a coffee place and get their latte to go and then stand in line for a restaurant experience drinking coffee waiting for an undetermined amount of time.

    I really don’t think people bring in outside drinks just to annoy the servers.

    There is only so much money to go around. If a server were to grab my cup and say,” let me get this out of the way for you”, I would be inclined to say,” never mind. I will take my cup and I shall get out of your way.” And then simply leave, denying them of my money and sale and keeping the coffee I paid for.

  15. Russ says:

    Just need to say a few things here. Young servers today take themselves way to seriously! The only thing that matters is guest satisfaction. Ive seen it all in the last 35 years of customer service. Servers should never look down at a guest for any reason. The Guests are what allows us to have jobs! Yes, people can be rude and ignorant. Comes with the territory. Learn to be nice…have a sense of humor..Quit acting like a know it all… Of course you know more than the guest. You should, but the key is to make them happy and create a wonderful experience. Not about the server in any way..Just the guest!..Get it?..If they want to bring in something from the outside?…So be it!..Does it really matter? These people pay your bills..Treat them with respect…Give them what they want and be happy with what ever gratuity you recieve, because you cannot change it…

  16. Ariane says:

    I always struggled with the parents who would go to a nice restaurant and bring a happy meal (or equivalent) for their child. If your kid wants something other than what will be available either a) get a sitter or b) go somewhere else!

    I personally will not bring in drinks or outside food to restaurants (though I am willing to sneak beer into the movies). More than once, I have sent coffee back for being terrible and switched to water, but bringing in my own would be rude.

    @#8, I also get really annoyed when I ask for a little bit of milk for my coffee (1oz is really all that I need), get a kids cup, and then get to pay $1.50.

    More and more this blog makes me appreciate that I can cook well enough that going out is not that much of an experience!

  17. mary says:

    everybody just WAIT a second: i have been in the service industry for 18 years. NEVER bring in outside food or drink. are you kidding??? and if you need to be told that, you’re an idiot. i will ALWAYS remove those items from customers hands. if i feel the person is reasonable then i MIGHT offer to put it into one our coffee cups. i don’t care if it’s your first cup of the day. have it at home OR drink it AT STARBUCKS!!! over the past decade humans have lost all sense of social decency and awareness. no one is “present” anymore. working this long in the industry, i’ve witnessed the decline of manners, common courtesy and interaction. remember, a restaurant is a business just like any other 9-5 office robot, drone like job. the difference is many humans treat us like slaves and lower life forms. trust me. i guarantee i have a better life than most people. all my days are free AND i NEVER take my work home with me.

  18. ChristineB says:

    I have to chuckle a little bit about this – this past weekend, my husband, daughter and I stopped at a McDonald’s during a road trip (not to eat, just for a bathroom break and to get coffee; they do a pretty good job with Newman’s Own). On the way in, I saw a sign posted next to the door that said something to the effect of no bringing in and eating outside food. Really? People are making their own lunches and taking them to McDonald’s for the ambiance? Or are they stopping at an upscale eatery for takeout before heading over to Mickey D’s?

    I just didn’t get it…

  19. rebecca says:

    If I know I’m going to a restaurant then I will hold off on getting/making coffee until I get to the restaurant. If I had been running errands or shopping beforehand and picked up a coffee to-go then I make sure I finish it and toss the cup before I sit down at a restaurant. It has never even crossed my mind to walk in to a restaurant for brunch with a full cup of coffee from another shop. It just feels wrong.

    With that said, having worked in the restaurant industry I have seen so much ridiculous behavior from guests that at times made me fear for the future of mankind. But those people, in the grand scheme of things, are few and far between. Most guests are very pleasant, it’s just the few crazy ones that we remember because they’re crazy. So when some guy asks for ice water, extra sugar and extra lemon slices and I then see him use all that to make his own (free) lemonade at the table (true story btw) I’m not going to get in his face about it. He’ll be gone soon, and leaving happy so it’s not worth it to make a scene. It’s also not my place to call him out on being a cheapskate or to instruct him on appropriate behavior. I’ll just give him what he wants and turn the table for the next group who will most likely be normal.

  20. Stevie says:

    So many people have asked here what’s the big deal & commented about service first – let me repeat, please, that a food service establishment is responsible for ALL food and drink consumed on their premises, not just what they provide. If you come in with a coffee made with tainted milk and you get sick from it, that restaurant is responsible. That is a VERY big deal. The only way a place can keep on top of health and safety is if they are the sole providers of what is consumed. It’s a problem that no one considers, but a major headache for people who want to provide good service, but keep getting flak from customers who think they can make up their own rules.

  21. Rebecca- I’m not one to use “LOL”, but I was literally loughing out loud when I read, “I have seen so much ridiculous behavior from guests that at times made me fear for the future of mankind.” Priceless. With your permission, that’s going in the book. Thank you-Patrick

  22. Dava says:

    It appears to me that the justification for such rude behavior is some sort of entitlement (“I paid for it” “the coffee sucks”). Such self-centered attitudes seem to rule these days, not just at restaurants, but everywhere. Kindness and respect gets run over by the bastard that must have his way.

  23. Matt Marta says:

    As one who has been a bartender for years, the outside coffee battle is one that I have given up fighting. Unless, of course, the person with the coffee sits down and doesn’t order anything. Coffee is the only exception, though. I understand that you might want a latte or mocha, and we don’t serve those here.

    Bring your own food in though, and you won’t really like me very much anymore.

    Love the entitlement of some people, though. “You don’t have a sign that says outside food and beverages are prohibited so anything goes.” Really? That’s where some people are on this? We also don’t have a sign that compels you to pay for your items, either. Are you going to leave without paying?

  24. rebecca says:

    Patrick – permission granted! Glad I could give you a chuckle :)

  25. Tom says:

    Bringing your own coffe into a restaurant is simply bad form. Would you bring your own beer because the restaurant only served, Coors, Miller, Bud & Bud Lite and you want Sam Adams? For the reastaurant crowd – why make a scene? If they insist on their own coffe give them one of your cups and ditch the container. And take the hint. If the product you’re serving isn’t as good as your competitors you need to take a close look at your product.

  26. Amira says:

    As a server in a casual dining restaurant I can attest that bringing outside LOGO’d beverages or foods inside is simply bad manners and in poor taste. There are of course exceptions, i.e. baby and toddler foods and even fast food meals for children who like the toys provided by these chains. I’m a huge Starbucks fan; my employer will not allow us to bring coffee cups from there where they will visible to the guests and we’re required to finish the coffee immediately and dispose of the cup.

    Companies logo their products for a reason – visibility. Bringing competitor food and beverages into a restaurant and advertising the product on the table is inappropriate and communicates to other patrons that the products at hand are substandard. The practice is also akin to name-dropping; “Look at me – look where I get my coffee”.

  27. MattM says:

    @RebeccaB – A friend of mine is a manager at a MacDonalds and they’ve recently had to do the same thing, the issue isn’t so much with food although it does happen. They’ve been having an increasing problem with people bringing in their own Coke etc to save buying it from the ‘restaurant’.

    I run a cocktail bar (no food service) and I see a couple of similar things quite frequently. We’re next door to a large theatre and we regularly see people coming in for a drink or two after the show bringing with them half finished bottles of water/coke/etc. They will buy a drink and finish their own beverage alongside it, I normally don’t have an issue with this as I don’t think it has an impact on my sales. Occasionally someone will buy a vodka on ice (for example) and proceed to top it up with their own mixer, in this instance I’ll ask them to either leave or pay a 75p ‘corkage’ charge. Most people will happily pay up, they don’t realise how inappropriate it is until it’s pointed out to them.

    The other more serious thing I regularly see is people coming in, ordering soft drinks, then sneakily adding their own spirits they’ve smuggled in in small bottles. If they get caught then it’s straight out of the door, only problem is in a busy bar it’s too easy to do it undetected, I’ll quite regularly find an empty miniature or two on the floor at the end of a busy Fri or Sat night. I could search everyone on the way in, but that would only serve to alienate the 99.9% of decent customers so I guess I’ll have to live with it.

    Not really coffee related but I think relevant to the discussion anyway.

    Cheers!

  28. Bren says:

    I have to say that I am “guilty” of bringing coffee into places with me on the rare occasions that I just purchased it and have made a last minute decision to sit and dine (ran into someone, etc.). BUT, that said, the FIRST thing I do when the server arrives is order a cup of coffee. Even if I ditch it, I make it clear that my bringing coffee in with me will not cost them the loss of a cup of theirs. Often the server will say “you already have one, finish that and let me know if you want more” so we’ve established with each other that neither of us is being inconsiderate.

    BTW, when a server DOES say a variation of the quote above, I add the amount of the coffee directly to their tip.

  29. carpe bliss says:

    Amira I’m so with you on your comment,”look at me…look where I get my coffee”… I really think that good old narcissistic and ignorant behavior is the premise for alot of “rude” customers by the way who simply exhibit a lack of culture, class and respect…. Would you walk into the home of a friend having you over for brunch with a cup of coffee from anywhere in your hand? … or to the home of a coworker for dinner with a glass of wine in your hand? Hardly—- if you have any decency about you!!!! Boundaries, Boundaries , Boundaries…look around us ladies and gentlemen….where are they??????

  30. Jackie says:

    So I’ve noticed that it is extremely clear who has worked in a restaurant and posted on this page and who hasn’t.

    It’s just plain not ok to bring food or beverage purchased elsewhere into another restaurant. If you do this you’re an ignorant jerk and perpetuating the already out-of-control sense of entitlement that many restaurant guests already have (except the person with the allergy).

    Regardless of the behaviour issues of this sort of clientele, it’s against the law in most places to even do this. In most cities and states bringing in outside food and beverage to a restaurant that serves its own food an beverage is prohibited by that city’s board of health. When someone does this in the restaurant by which I am employed, I always let him know that he can finish his beverage outside and then be more than welcome to come in.

  31. lukeoneil47 says:

    The degree to which restaurant owners feel they need to let customers get away with whatever they want has gotten out of control. I’ve worked in restaurants where “guests” (aka douchebags) have joined friends eating with their own take out from another restaurant, then acted offended when I told them it wasn’t allowed. I’ve seen them bring a Starbucks coffee to the bar and sit there and not order anything else because “Starbucks is too crowded.”

    I’ve seen them regularly bring in their own cake for birthdays, and then not understand why we would want to charge them a fee for plating their cakes while they take up space in a busy restaurant on a weekend night not ordering anything else. (If they complained too much they’d get to do it anyway — customer is always right!) The places in question I have worked at where this happens always sold our own cakes and desserts.

    I’ve worked at places where we find bottles of booze and beer under the tables, knowing full well what group of people it is doing it, but been unable to say anything about it next time for fear of losing their business.

    There are a lot of entitled, petty, oblivious pricks out there who get away with murder for fear of losing business.

  32. lukeoneil47 says:

    PS: to the person who brings his/her own fish tacos to the movies. Which theater is that exactly, so I can make sure I never go there again. Oooof. Talk about oblivious.

  33. James R. Olson says:

    First Rebecca has it exactly right. Although I have only limited experience in the service industry, my father managed and cooked at a well known South Shore restaurant most of his life. My mother also waitressed there for over thirty years. A restauranteur is in the business of providing a pleasurable experience to his customers. Even the clueless ones. Bringing a cup of coffee into an eating establishment is an obvious faux pas, but so what. If you make a customer self conscious about it you have failed at your job.

  34. Me, The JerBear says:

    Like most issues it all depends on the situation.

    If it’s a family of three and they bring in a happy meal for the little guy who probably won’t enjoy our sushi and Asian fusion cuisine I tend to overlook it. It’s their loss really. I hate it when I see kids with such limited tastes but customer happiness is very important.

    If a Lemonator comes in and orders ice water with ice and extree, EXTREE leemuns and plenty of Splenda I will usually ask them what all that is for, knowing all the time it’s so they can mix up glass after glass of freemonade. They will tell me it’s so they can make their own lemonade. I will almost always tell them ‘Oh no you don’t have to do that. We SELL lemonade, so I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let you make your own.’ Then I bring them out their freemonade kit because like a previous poster wrote-I just gave up the fight a long time ago.

    With my particular skill set I can get away with such seemingly snarky comments but really it’s all in fun.

    Dignity and Respect
    Me, The JerBear

  35. AJM says:

    I have read all the posts so far on this page and there are a lot of valid points and some that I feel are simply ludicrous. For instance, post 15, Russ seems to think that people in the service industry should put up with rude and ignorant customers because it “comes with territory”. Since when was being rude and ignorant ever considered “OK” in any place? As a decent human being I think it’s ignorant for any person to think that because “these people pay your bills” it gives outright justification to bring in any outside food or drink to a restaurant or to be rude to (hard working) staff and expect to be treated with the same service as a polite customer.

    And as for “young servers taking ourselves too seriously”, it is a complete contradiction!! You are saying that we should relax more yet be content with every single customer, no matter how rude or ignorant, allow them to bring in their own food and drink and put up with all of this because customers pay for my broadband and rent.

    It’s attitudes such as this that make issues of bringing cups of Starbucks into a restaurant or bottles of Coke into a bar – issues which shouldn’t be there in the first place if people were not “rude and ignorant”.

    Server not your servant, I think so too!

  36. Mr.Negroni says:

    Wow. I had no idea this behavior was prevalent outside of movie theaters. Then again, with more and more people carrying various types of beverages with them as they leave their houses like they’re on their way to run a marathon or climb Everest, this trend makes more sense to me.

    The only place I’ve ever bring in an outside beverage is when I see a new beer at a store and bring a bottle or two into my local to share with the owner and other regulars who like that sort of thing. I’m certainly not going to bring in a handle of Jim Beam Black that I bought on sale at the state liquor store and just keep ordering soda water.

    MC Slim JB said it best when he mentioned “unmerited self-entitlement”. It’s almost like whomever pioneered this behavior thought, “Gee, I still have all this coffee. I just paid $4.50 for it and would hate to dump out the rest. Let me take it in and see if anyone says anything.” When nothing happened, others took notice and thought, “Hey, they let him come in with outside coffee. I’d love to do that!”. There’s the genesis of that behavior. Allow it in one place, people will assume it’s ok everywhere.

  37. Not leaving it, Yelpers are scary says:

    As an owner I let it happen but it does set a poor business precedent.
    I have to agree with both statements from Slim.
    On another note, it is against Mass law to allow customers to bring alcoholic beverages into an establishment to be consumed on property when there is an existing liquor/wine CV license at that establishment. All alcoholic beverages consumed by patrons must be purchased by the establishment through a Mass licensed wholesaler and delivered to the restaurant with a dated and itemized invoice.

  38. LAS says:

    Oh my Gosh. I think I am guilty as charged. I love Starbucks and walk around with one everywhere I kind of don’t really think about it. It seems an extention of myself, an accessory of sorts.
    I will certainly be more aware of this in the future.

  39. Robert says:

    I guess I am guilty of the practice of carrying coffee into a restaurant occasionally, and I won’t do it any more.

    Movie theatres and sports venues are another matter though. First, they shamelessly rip you off and most of what they are hawking is unhealthy to boot. So I tuck a water into my coat, and I’ve even brought a sandwich for my Godson over at BC’s Conte forum. I don’t think his mom wants him eating 6 dollar greasy, salty popcorn. I’m guilt free on these venues…I’ve already paid good money for the tickets!

  40. Frequent Diner says:

    Honestly, and though i NEVER do it, i don’t see the big issue with walking in with a half-finished cup of coffee…

    I don’t work in your industry. I have owned (a few) and consulted with (thousands) of retail operations at Small-Medium Enterprise scale (about the $/customer volume of a typical locally-owned restaurant or local mini-chain)…

    1.
    Would you rather the person not come in at all?

    2.
    Do you think the customer is happier having to schedule the day around your belly-aching about a cup of coffee?

    3.
    I have seem some absolutely ridiculous examples of negative messaging toward customers, at retail establishments of all types. There was a time when negative messaging was pretty much confined to dive bars, punker bars, and biker bars, and I’m all for that. But when two of three signs/rules outline negatives rather that positives, and when staff are actively “enforcing” arbitrary house rules against customers, well.. you have created an unbearable atmosphere, and unless you are lucky enough to be (1) a tourist trap; (2) that noisy, sticky sports bar/chicken wing place where “everyone” goes during the playoffs… then you’re eventually going to screw yourself over if even one friendly, well-run, not-bitchy competitor appears within the service radius of your establishment. Best of all for them, no matter WHAT they do, they look really good by comparison just by not adopting your negative ruleset.

    Yeah, that’s where I stand on this, as someone who has, iirc, never carried any food or drink item into any food or drink establishment.

  41. nana says:

    We take candy to the movies because we refuse to pay $4.00 for a .99 cent bag of gummy bears. I wonder how Scarbutts likes it when you bring a coffee in from somewhere else? My favorite pizza joint doesn’t have anchovies, so I bring my own and ASK if they will put them on the pie. I have customers who come in for business meetings, tie up a table for two hours and run up a tab of $5.Plus someone usually has an outside coffee. Then I get a $2 tip for refilling their cokes three times. You tell me what’s right or wrong?
    My grandson has loved sushi since he was old enough to sit up and chew. We never brought our own anything into a restaurant, it is JUST BAD MANNERS!!!!

  42. Alex says:

    Huh. My wife sent me this link because I’m a sometime offender; consider me convinced. On the rare occasions when I just have to have my iced coffee or whatever, I’ll ask the establishment if it’s okay.

    Nana, re. movie theaters: we sneak all kinds of stuff into movie theaters, ’cause fuck ‘em.

  43. Russ says:

    I guess I need to clarify My comments to Ajm…#35…I never said it was alright to bring food and beverage into a food establishment. I simply said that if a guest brings something from the outside so be it. I never said that being rude or ignorant was accectable behavior. The point I was making was,you cannot change how another person acts or behaves. We cannot control another person. Thats a fact. This idea evades alot of people in the industry. The challange is to create a lasting impression to the guest so that they will return and tell thier friends. For example…I seen you went to starbucks,allow me to put that in one of our cups so that the table next to you will not be jealous. Problem solved.

  44. Liza says:

    i think its hilarious that some of the people in that blog that had responded to the original question thought starbucks is better coffee… actually, in general, i think its funny that people think that. lol. slightly off topic, i know, but had to put it in there.

    i work in a bar and am constantly confiscating stuff off people. cans of alcohol, beer, coke… why would you go into a bar/restaaurant with your own coke bottle?!
    on late night saturdays i generally say “uh, no” or “we dont sell it, you cant drink it” and take it off them. during service i say “uhm, can you please put that coke in your bag, you arent allowed to bring in and drink your own soft drinks here”.

  45. Pete says:

    This has been a very interesting stream for me to read. I’m the owner of a small chain of cafes. Coffee and food is our business. Recently I was at a location of ours where a man and woman walked in with a juice from an across the street competitor and a coffee from another competitor across the street. The pair walked in, sat down and started having a conversation. I approached them and asked if we could help them with a coffee, food or anything else to which they responded blankly, “No – we’re good”. I said to them politely and softly that our seating was for our customers only. The stood up and left. God bless email because the pair sent an irate barrage of emails to our corporate general inbox screaming about the Nazi tactics of our “guards” at the location and detailing how arcane our practices were. They saw absolutely nothing offside with what they were doing. I’m still pretty flabbergasted after all this time in the industry that people are this clueless. Sorry – I needed to vent.

  46. Pete says:

    I also felt it was important to jump in here since the stream was mainly talking about coffee into a resto as opposed to coffee into a cafe. I wouldn’t walk into a Starbucks with a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee nor would I walk into a Ruth’s Chris with a steak in my hand and expect to eat there in their seating without buying ANYTHING. It’s just common courtesy – we run businesses not public parks. We of course can’t control people but when a VISITOR (not a customer) enters the business – they gotta play by the rules – we aren’t doormats.

  47. Peter- No apology necessary. The more perspectives we get from readers the more we all learn. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  48. Jed Saint says:

    In all honesty, I think you harmed your own argument by targeting just Starbucks. For someone to take outside drinks into a restaurant is that person’s decision and nothing at all to do with where the drink came from in the first place.
    As I work at a Starbucks outlet myself, I do admit it is frustrating when people bring outside drinks in. Fast-food chain drinks, canned/bottles drink and even other coffee chains’ drinks (see how I’m not just taking one popular brand and demonising it?) are all brought in, and no-one seems to find it unreasonable to find they can’t consume outside beverages when asked politely.
    There will always be discourteous people who will continue to do things like this, and there will always be people who don’t really think about what they’re doing/what the correct conduct for that situation is. A little patience and manners from both parties goes a long way.
    Also, “these people were 35-50 years old, not hungover college kids” suggests that somehow there are different rules for different types of people. As I am a student myself, as well as having 2 1/2 years of retail experience, I won’t hesitate to whole-heartedly agree that there are a large quantity of students who go about things like that. I do tend to find that the 35-50 year old group are however a lot more stubborn when it comes to practices like this.

  49. Hey Jed- Thanks for commenting. I wasn’t targeting or demonising Starbucks. The folks I observed at brunch just happened to be drinking Starbucks.

    I agree with you that a little patience and manners from both parties goes a long way. -PM

  50. Brett says:

    Although I haven’t taken the time to read all these comments on this particular post, I have a question for everyone. Does Starbucks (or any other “cafe” that sells coffee as a large income stream) offer cups without labels? Meaning, can you get a cup of coffee to go without any logos? Nope. Why you ask? Because every company wants to promote itself and it’s products whenever and wherever possible. This is one of the base practices in every business on the planet, as it should be. But the flip side of that is any and every restaurant has the right to deny the promotion of those products or competing restaurants within their own establishment. Simply put – you can’t promote a competitor’s product in my restaurant. Whether we agree or disagree is a different story but just like restaurants have the ability to deny alcohol to a guest based on their own personal judgement, they can easily not allow competitor products in their location. Also, my personal opinion is that bringing in coffee (or water, etc) to another restaurant is in bad taste.

  51. Jenn says:

    I am guilty of this, but feel I need to justify :-D
    Ordinarily, I would feel like a jerk bringing my Starbucks iced tea into any restaurant –
    but there is a Thai restaurant that I really enjoy with one exception, they serve unfiltered tap water and the municipal water of the city is horrendous. They try to make it palatable by adding a lemon slice to the water but it does little to hide the taste. They also make all of their coffee, tea and soda with this water and one can taste it.
    Recent conversation when asked what I wanted to drink:
    “Do you have any bottled water?”
    no
    “Do you have any soda in a can or bottle?”
    no
    “Do you have any juice for the kids?”
    no

    “Ummm, OK, how about if I walk over to Starbucks while we’re waiting for our food?”
    OK

    If they would just put a filter on their water system, which I think all restaurants should do,
    all would be well! Sometimes, when the water is really off, it can even be tasted in the soup and
    veggies.

    A number of eateries in the city serve nasty tap water, but at least they have the option of buying a bottle.

  52. Gil says:

    Russ wrote:

    Servers should never look down at a guest for any reason. The Guests are what allows us to have jobs! Yes, people can be rude and ignorant.
    _______________________________________________________________

    And guests should have at least a modicum of respect as well. The simple fact that a guest “allows me the privelege” of having a job does not give them the right to be rude, condescending, arrogant or abusive towards me either.

  53. Katy says:

    Well, here’s another take on the “Bringing Your Own”:

    I had a customer who brought a Dunkin-D “coffee” with him to dine with his elderly tea-totaler parents. It didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t just coffee in that cup.

    By sneaking in his own booze, he transfered to ME, as his server, the legal responsibility for his progressing intoxication. Also, his action of BYOB’n jeopardized our liquor license.

    We often have customers ask if they can bring in a fish they caught, or venison for the chef to cook for them. We have to decline because WE have the liability if someone gets sick from any product that leaves our kitchen.

    It is not just about a “lost sale” of an item, when people bring outside products to consume on our premises. It is that we get stuck with the liability of what gets consumed on our premises.

  54. ryan says:

    I know it is not appropriate to bring your own soft drink to a restaurant.. but when you have kids and I feel they should be
    allow to order a soft drink or have a refil and enjoy their lunch or dinner, like anybody else.. but recently a restaurant
    we normally go to for several years, recently all of sudden they decide to charge 4.99 per soft drink, since we got to know most of teh servers, they let us know before we order, so at least taht was decent, so we order ice water in this case..

    It not a fancy restaurant, anyway next few times we just brought our own soft drinks, there was no problem with the regular staff, but one day recently teh owner walked in and saw we brought our own, as he known we been a regular customers for several years.. but he walked on over to us liek a bee line as soon as he enter the front door & very rudely say Dont bring your them again lol anyway of course my wife voice her opinion respond in a good manner through unlike the owner, and said and just todl him 4.99 is out ragious..

    I/we agree it does not look right bringing your own soft drinks, but until the laws make them regulate the price, then I think
    you should have a right to bring your own..

    It liek some pubs charge 15 dollars a pack of smokes in their machines.. and many people bring their own, there is no big deal there.. I know that a different issue..

    but when it ownly costing a restaurant pennies per soft drink, then I feel anything over 2.00 dollars is still way over priced

    when it only cost them pennies for doing nothing.. ofcourse I understaqnd they need to make some proofit to cover teh cost on
    ice and keep it cold.. but it way beyond proofits when it anywhere over even a 1.50 — of course tehy need to collect cost to pay for soft drinks n ice and keep n serve cold.. but 1.50 is still over 100% mark up

    and let say a restaurant serve easy 100 people per day they take in easy 200 to 300 dollars per day min proofits.. so in
    a sense your are paying their lease for them easy per month –

    Of course many to most will keep going to their same old restaurants n most people tend to look at the meal price..
    as the soft drink is a no brainer.. just order whateven they normally have.. and pay taht much more per person.. and end up being like paying for a extral person in your party just on soft drinks alone..

    anyway please tell me what you think

  55. Roy says:

    Honestly there is only one acceptable reason in mind to bring an outside beverage into a restaurant. If you have small children. We have all been there at least once where we were forced to bring a small child to nicer restaurant. That being said you should immediately:

    1. Apologize to your waiter and ask permission, don’t just ignore it and hope no one will notice.

    2. Recognize that the waiter is doing a favor for you. A restaurant can tell who had no choice and who just decided the rules do not apply to them. Make sure you don’t fall into the latter.

    3. If you are nice and respectable about it the waiter is going to let you off the hook with something like “Don’t tell anyone, but the Chef loves chicken nuggets too. May I bring you a coke or juice?”

    Of course you as the adult and anyone over 10 are expected to order of the menu

  56. hannah says:

    I have to agree with the restaurants usually have terrible coffee.
    If I was asked to throw away my coffee I would leave the restaurant and eat somewhere else. The assumption that I would buy a second cup of coffee is insulting when I probably just want food. Or that I am somehow obligated to buy anything really rubs me the wrong way.

  57. richard says:

    I see a lot of comments like ‘bring my own steak and charge half price’ and find this topic complete joke.

    You don’t bring in outside prepared food into a restaurant period!

    And for all of you that think its due to money on our behalf are so petty, its basic food safety. A restaurant has no idea what standards of cleanliness were about for that food product and as such are not willing to risk contamination of thier kitchens and guests. Remember you are not the only person there and I would never allow such a risk to take place in my business as the possible outcome is terrifying!

    And even if you could bring a lab sample from where you bought the food from I still would not allow it unless you also brought a temperature log showing me that the food had been kept to safe standards prior to walking through my door till you actually sat down.

  58. Jane says:

    By allowing any outside drink to be brought in to a restaurant is only asking for trouble. You have no way of knowing if it is truly coffee or a mixed drink in the cup. The restaurants liquor license could be at stake if alcohol was mixed in the drink and they only have a license for beer and wine. If they dont have a liquor license at all they could really get burned.

  59. Paul says:

    I run a restaurant and I really feel upset when someone brings a large soda or outside food into our place. I recently found a liquor bottle on the floor after closing one night. Jeopardizes out license and rude. We sell drinks. Kids and happy meals, well, ok, even though I do serve kids meals. Adults? Just plain cheap and tacky. As far as losing their business, who cares? They’ve certainly expressed the fact they don’t care enough for our offering to purchase it so what am I losing? As for a Yelp review, I would relish the prospect to kindly point out their lack of class. It’s somewhat about respect for me and the work I do, but it’s more about why they don’t have any sense of self-respect, manners or shame?

  60. Tania says:

    To be honest, I never realized this was such an issue. I’m one of those that always has a cup on me. I make my own low acidity coffee at home in the morning in a re-useable cup and then I usually tote it around with me all day re-filling it with water or cold herbal tea. It has nothing to do with being cheap or not liking the drinks when eating out, I just always have a to go cup on me. If I made a coffee in the morning, I usually finish it in the car but if not, I’ll grab it and carry it around as I run errands and yes, if I meet a friend for breakfast too. I wouldn’t take it to a fancy brunch but I have taken it to hole in the wall breakfast or lunch joints.

    I moved to Maui recently and had a dining manager be very rude to me when I walked in with a white cup filled with a latte (no logo). I also had a friend tell she would not grab my cup for me when she went to the car while we were eating brekkie. So here I am realizing I was a rude inconsiderate ass all this time and had no idea. I’m not oblivious by the way and am normally pretty polite but I’m not in the food service industry. I was living in Honolulu for a long time and it wasn’t unusual for people to grab a coffee from one place and grab an acai bowl from their neighbor. As someone else pointed out, there is often a wait for a table so people usually are sipping on their take-out coffee as they wait to be seated for Sunday morning breakfast.

    Here’s the thing, there are bigger problems in this world than people toting around coffee cups. I don’t feel entitled and I’m not selfish. I’m a kind person who gives back to my community and tries to support my local business. The dining manager who made me feel like the worst person for carring a non-descript cup? I’ll never return, I’m too uncomfortable. I now understand he had good reason for not allowing it but his approach to me was awful. If you are a server and someone walks in with a cup, please don’t assume they’re a cheapskate or don’t give a shit about you. They obviously do want to support your business if they are there eating breakfast instead of taking out or cooking their own. If it is against your policy for health code or other reasons, please kindly and softly let them know “I’m sorry but we don’t allow any outside drinks, would you like me to take care of that for you?”. Many people spoke of entitlement. It swings the other way too. I’m not in food service but I have been in retail and I would never assume the customer knew all my policies and why we had them. Living in a multi-cultural area, I would also never assume their idea of etiquette was th esame as mine. Crack down on it if you must but don’t forget not to alienate a customer who may come from a place where it’s less frowned upon.

  61. James says:

    Let me guess, you own a restaurant?

    I can understand maybe not doing it at a 5 star restaurant.

    But if coffee is a complete after thought then the consumer shouldn’t feel guilty for not paying a premium for a bad product.
    It’s much like piracy, if you don’t offer a comparable service you can’t claim it’s a lost sale.

    Since I can’t download my favorite TV shows legally I have to pirate them. If a restaurant doesn’t make good coffee they shouldn’t complain when I find it elsewhere, they should be glad I’m willing to make 2 stops to pay for the food they sell.

  62. Finn says:

    As a server, I’ve given up on the coffee thing too, unless they aren’t ordering anything else. I usually ask them to put it in a discreet place since our liquor laws are strict. With outside food I have an issue. Some people joined a party I waited on this weekend and since our kitchen was closed they brought takeout from the place next door. I tried to be nice about it, but after they started using our plates and silverware rolls to eat their outside dinner I got miffed. They even brought their own bottled water and didnt order anything. They finally did order something, after i bothered them to, but I was shocked they didn’t even ask to bring that stuff in. I felt bad saying anything because their friends were drinking, but still.

    My problem is that I’m not working to clean up messes from other establishments. I get a percentage of the bill. That includes service for bringing and bussing items to your table. If I have to pick up your to go boxes, clean our plates that weren’t used for our food and bus a ton of outside trash, ill have an issue. That’s not my job. I also hate used tissues on the table during cold season. Put it in the trash! I don’t want to get sick, I have no insurance or sick leave. Seriously. Personal responsibility is always necessary.

  63. Kevin says:

    If I’m trying to save money by buying drinks in bulk at Sam’s and I take one into a restaurant and they tell me I have to leave my drink in the car, I’m much more likely to say “thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take my business to someone who wants it.”

  64. Jeff says:

    I see a lot about Starbucks where a restaurant’s coffee is not good. My issue is Pepsi vs. Coke. I do not like Coke, I like Pepsi. If a restaurant serves Coke that doesn’t bother me as long as they let me bring in my own Pepsi. If I want their food, and want to spend money there, it should not be a problem. Now I do ask first on the way in if I may bring in my own. But if they don’t have Pepsi, and they won’t let me bring my own, I will not eat there. I was in the restaurant business for many years, and I’ve never understood why any establishment would have a problem with this. If someone is going to sneak in their own liquor (which we did have some of that), they’re going to do that anyway. There is no acceptable reason for denying my request to bring in my own Pepsi if they don’t serve Pepsi. I would say the same goes for someone wanting to bring bottled or canned of any soda if fountain is all they serve and they don’t use filtered water. Or their own tea or juice or vitamin water, etc if those items are not the same brands they serve. Or something caffeine free or diet if a the restaurant has only one (or none) such choice. The BUSINESS of a restaurant is the FOOD. No restaurant can possibly hope to serve every beverage people might want, and I always understood that if people liked my food and wanted to patronize me for it, there was no excuse for pissing them off by requiring them to limit themselves to my few soda choices. Certainly some will disagree.

  65. Hollywood Bartender says:

    Cathy, well said. Power to the woman! You take that coffee and you go. Please.

    Russ… oh Russ, Russ, Russ. Can I call you Russel? I feel I can, Russel. You see, the thing is you are not paying my bills when you bring in your own coffee. On the contrary, you are reducing my earning power and sales. And in the competitive market for servers that Los Angeles is, my manager can easily pick from a stack of resumes to replace me if he feels I’m not getting the job done. But realistically, we both know that you don’t care about me or the other people who have served you in the past. You aren’t going to care about the people who serve you in the future either, so just stop pretending like you do.

    Hannah, why don’t you try ordering your meal to go and then taking it Starbucks and eat there? See what Starbucks’ employees think of that.

    Tania, I’m sure in your retail business you point out the policies to customers when they break them (like the number of items they are allowed in the dressing room). I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but the reason you did is because you were being rude and selfish even if you were completely ignorant of that fact.

    James, from the bottom of my and every other server and restaurant owners heart, we thank you for the extra effort you put into those two stops. Keep up the thoughtless work.

    Kevin, how much business could a restaurant lose from you when you are that cheap in the first place?

    Jeff, why stop at the Pepsi? You should start going into bars with your own bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. If they only have Johnny Walker Red or Black, you would be justified to pour yourself from your own bottle, right?

    For every person that has any inkling of a notion to defend this behavior, 99.9% of you are wrong. In many states, it is simply against the law and the establishment could lose their license and/or be fined. No waiter or bartender wants to deal with this crap and when they do, all they want is to move past your indiscretion so they may provide you with service. It was rude for the customer to come in with their own food or beverage, but it is outlandish when the customer makes a scene and states, “I will never come here again.” The only time it is acceptable is when the establishment has granted permission. I applaud those of you who at least asked if it would be okay. At least you don’t have your head up your A$$ and complain about the smell.

  66. Kim Fechter says:

    If you bring outside food to a restaurant, bowling alley, or movie theater etc., that’s being dishonest. Also, that’s being unfair to the employees who do food service, because they get paid to serve. Zoos and amusement parks are somewhat different. They have picnic tables. If you’re going to a zoo or an amusement park with a group, sometimes they ask everybody to pack a lunch, and sometimes people buy lunches at food courts, food stands, or cafeterias etc. That all depends on how many people in your group are going. If a lot of people are going, then they will ask everybody to pack a lunch. But, if not very many people are going, then they will have you buy a lunch there. Of course, if you call a movie theater and ask if you can bring your own popcorn and drink, they WILL say “No, that’s NOT allowed!,” because it’s NOT. If you’re planning a birthday party at either a bowling alley or movie theater etc., you can call ahead of time and ask if you can bring in pizza and cake etc., and they will often make that acception. You may have to tell them how many people you’re expecting. I think they should invent food detectors, or even check everybody’s purses, bags or pockets etc. to see if they have food hidden.

  67. John Heppell says:

    despite having signs to say you cant consume you’re own food people still bring their own. i will ask once to put it away,if i have to ask a second time you’re out. we have a policy picnics and packed lunches are for parks mountains and the beach. not in my Cafe/restaurant.recently we had 7 people come in (we only had 7 people in the cafe) they all ordered lattes, 2 (28%)proceeded to start devouring scones from elsewhere We serve freshly baked home made scones). They refused to put them away and got really pissed when i told them i did not want their money and to leave. this reaction may seem extreme, but these people have been before they know the rules now they are barred and will be refused entry in the future. we are 16 miles from the next nearest eating place, in the middle of a hiking route. these people walked to get here. every client that comes through our door is there to use our facilities which need to be paid for by bringing you’re own we will close down depriving everyone of those facilities.

  68. James says:

    Hi, I wanted to congratulate you on the well constructed piece of writing. I liked how you wove a bunch of forum quotes in a way that told the story you wanted to tell. I also think the information you presented was pretty interesting. I can now say that after reading this post I now have an increased awareness of the thought processes that customers who think it okay to bring in their own drink vs those who think it disrespectful.

    The reason I found this post was that I had gone to Subway to use their restroom and as a thanks for use of their facilities I purchased a salad. I then walked over to the Starbucks to use their wifi. I kind of felt a bit self conscious walking in with the salad, but didn’t want walk to my car and back. Even after reading in other places that some (both customers and store supervisors) find the practice okay, while within reason, I still don’t think I will eat the salad until I am done with the wifi (I did buy a smoothie for the couple hours I plan on being here).

    Have a good day,and again good job on the post above.

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