Banning visitors and customers from certain places is nothing new. We’ve seen Japan ban foreign tourists from shrines and rowdy people during Halloween, with varying levels of controversy.
But what about banning someone from a restaurant for simply not finishing their meal?
It’s the fear that everyone has at some point: you order food, get a free helping of rice, and then find yourself unable to finish most of the grains. Is it punishment enough to have to endure the glares of the chefs, or will there be more consequences?
Here’s the question as it specifically came up on NicoNico News:
College student Kenta went to a small curry restaurant in Tokyo, where rice is given for free, no matter the size. He ordered a large rice, but couldn’t finish it. The owner got upset at him, saying: “If you weren’t going to finish it, then why did you order the large? I don’t want customers like you to come here.” He then banned Kenta from the restaurant.
Kenta wanted to know if his ban was something that could be legally upheld or not. Similar to other times legal questions have come up on NicoNico News, like about the tattoo-ban at hot springs, a Japanese lawyer named Chie Terabayashi chimed in:
“Essentially, it is up to the restaurant to freely decide who they will and will not serve. However, in this case, before the restaurant gave the customer his large order of rice, they did not give any warning in advance that he would be banned if he did not finish it.
Without such warning, such a declaration afterward can be considered unfair under the civil law of principles of good faith, and rendered legally void.”
That sounds like a sensible explanation. If the restaurant is going to ban someone for certain behavior, then customers should at least be informed what those behaviors are beforehand.
But that brings another question: Does the restaurant have to inform customers of every behavior that could get them banned? If a customer smashes a plate against the wall or pees on the floor, could they get around a banning because the restaurant didn’t have a sign telling them not to?
The lawyer had this to say about that:
“It is not the case that the restaurant has to provide a warning for any and all behavior that would result in banning. For example, fighting in the restaurant, or breaking things on purpose go against social common sense. A ban for a customer who did these things would be legally upheld.”
They also ended with an alternative course for the restaurant and some final thoughts:
“If the restaurant limits their ban to just the large rice for that customer, that may be upheld. However, no matter what they do, the restaurant should understand that serving the large rice for free will result in some amount of customers not being able to finish it. Since that offering is a way to bring customers in, it seems contradictory to then ban customers who don’t finish, and will likely result in a bad reputation.”
That all seems like it makes sense. If the store is suffering monetary damage from a customer not finishing their rice, then they should raise the price. If they’re suffering emotional damage from seeing it wasted, then they should lower their portions and have customers order seconds if they want more. Either way, taking it out on the customer does not seem like a positive decision.
Interestingly enough, most Japanese netizens seemed to side with the restaurant on this one:
“The punishment for ordering a large and not finishing it should be death.”
“Before I say anything bad about the restaurant owner, I want to know why Kenta ordered a large.”
“More than just a waste, it’s a cost for the restaurant to dispose of it.”
“Wow, not finishing food you didn’t even pay for.”
“He just didn’t care because it was free.”
“I mean, would Kenta really want to go back there again?”
Controversy aside, that is a good point. Chances are, even if it is legal for Kenta to go back, having to endure the stink-eyes of the employees would probably have an effect on the taste of his food.
Source: NicoNico News via My Game News Flash
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