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Bringing birthday cakes into restaurants


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The liability issues of the guests getting food poisoning from the food THEY BROUGHT INTO THE RESTAURANT would be enough to put most restaurants off of the idea, I'd think.:unsure:

Below you will see my initial post in this thread ... which was my very first thought .. liability: (as the daughter of a lawyer)

Jun 18 2004, 03:14 PM 

The first thing that pops into my mind is that they don't wish to be held legally accountable for any type of possible food-borne infections or food poisoning served on their property .

(to the tune of "Happy Birthday to you"

I just might sue,

I well might sue,

With lawyers on staff,

It's curtains for you. :sad:

:laugh:

Spoken like the daughter of a lawyer for sure!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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You could always have them sign a waver, in Canada it would probably save your ass, I do not know law in the States but from what I have seen, you sure do sue each other a lot more then we do???

stove

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Spoken like the daughter of a lawyer for sure!

Having a lawyer for a mom didn't give me much help in writing song lyrics as you can see :rolleyes: ... but I know enough to know that food consumed on the premises of a restaurant, irrespective of its origin, may well be considered "their liability" ...

however, she did teach me the word "irrespective" and at 5, I sounded like Judge Benjamin Cardozo, blithely reciting court decisions to my annoyed, bored kindergarten classmates ... :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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You could always have them sign a waver, in Canada it would probably save your ass, I do not know law in the States but from what I have seen, you sure do sue each other a lot more then we do???

stove

Clearly we live in the most litigious society in this galaxy. There's no doubt about that. I also have no doubt that some idiot that brought the cake might attempt to sue the restaurant anyway. I don't think the case would last long, but guaranteed some A-hole would try it. Probably the same jerks that brought the cake without asking and thrust it at the hostess expecting to be "served". 23_4_71.gif

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I never had a problem with people bringing in cakes, so long as we knew about it and they knew they would be charged a cutting fee (similar to what Steve Klc suggested above as to a corkage fee for outside wine).

What I resented was people's attempts to get the fee waived - one party brought in their own paper plates and plastic forks! Another insisted I just give them a big knife and they would do it themselves... people are fucking clueless... btw I live in L.A., not that it's any excuse, just it's own messed up mindset.. :blink:

We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

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It’s been my experience that most parties who bring in cakes do it without warning, just show up and thrust it at the host/ess, expecting the service. They are almost always larger groups of six or more. Regulars would never insult the proprietor in this way.

These people feel it’s somehow appropriate to bring their own food into a business that sells food. They are either just being cheap, or incredibly rude. I suppose “ignorant” is a better term, as they may not intend to be rude.

Also, as a restaurateur, how would you feel serving some disgusting blue and day-glo orange flowery sugar crusted square? What if the next table over looks on in disgust, thinking that it has come from your kitchen? What if there’s a media critic in the room? What do you do if the birthday party becomes seriously ill? How does all of this affect your hard-earned reputation?

If you are not happy with desserts from a certain establishment, don’t go there. If you have certain allergies or needs, ask when you call ahead. If they cannot accommodate, eat somewhere else. If your kid needs a “Sponge Bob" cake, buy it where available and eat it there or at home. If Mom always cooks a traditional cake, eat it at Mom’s. You don’t want a crowd back at your house for dessert, too bad. Guess what? We don’t want them using up valuable space in our place of income, either.

Just call ahead (a couple of days) and almost every restaurant I’ve known would be delighted to prepare something for you. That’s the business they’re in.

I completely agree and ditto your post.

It's completely insulting and I think anyone who does so or asks to do so is acting rudely to the establishment. If you don't like their products buy them else where.

It's a place of business not your own home. To ask for an exception is rather egocentric......... and if your a 'regular customer' its even more insulting in my opinion.

Even though I'm a pastry chef that doesn't influence my stand on this issue. I both enjoy special requests and not having to forfill special requests. I would never dream of bringing my own food into a restaurant and then asking them to serve it to me, please..... are you crazy. I would never dream of bringing my own wine either, there is no difference.

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It's completely insulting and I think anyone who does so or asks to do so is acting rudely to the establishment. If you don't like their products buy them else where.

the same goes for wine? how about ethnic restaurants (say, thai or vietnamese) that have a very limited dessert menu?

i agree that one should always call ahead when bringing outside food/drink to a restaurant.

edit: i see now that you feel the same about wine. fair enough. but while there may not be a big difference in your eyes, bringing one's own wine to restaurants might be considered pretty standard and accepted in some places.

Edited by tommy (log)
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Let’s see here, is this based on the fact that the pastry chef won't do a cake, or are we just talking about someone who just assumes that it is OK to bring in a cake without inquiring right!! Well if like you said in the US you would get sued then, this is what I would do if I actualy had a pastry chef; have always some different cakes in the freezer, take their cake back to the kitchen replace with one of the pasrty chefs famouse chocoltae cake, throw the candles and all the fixings into the restaurant cake and bring it out, will I get sued if I was to do this, on the way out bring the cake they brought in, back to them??

Life is full of solutions,there must be one in this situation, there is always a way out.

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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  • 2 weeks later...

I do some management consulting to a couple of restaurants and I advice that you charge a cake cutting fee $10 to off set costs (plates, silverware, and cleaning). I personally think bringing a cake to an establishment is TACKY. When we celebrate a special occasion I like the restaurant to supply the desert. Oh well it is casual Vancouver after all!!!.

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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I recently did this, and there were no hard feeling from the kitchen.

It was our first anniversary: You're *supposed* to eat the top part of the wedding cake that night. The staff all knew we had returned to the Santa Fe hotel because it had hosted our wedding dinner the year before, and we were to be guests again that night. Not only did we get lovely attention (amuse geules, a wine tasting, free champagne), but our thawed cake (slices) were beautifully plated.

'Course, we tried to help the situation by telling the staff they were welcome to the rest of the (fabulous!!) cake. I didn't get the sense that anyone's nose was out of joint.

But I doubt I'd do it for anything else other than wedding cake.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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  • 8 months later...

Rules for bringing in a Cake.

1) Phone ahead to ensure that it is okay with the restaurant

2) Be prepared to pay a plating fee - my establishment charges $1.50 per head but plates and garnishes the cake.

3) Don't bring any rude pastries - I had a Stagette try to unveil a 12" phallus on a cake and couldn't understand why we wouldn't let them

4) If you can't abide by rules 1-3 then don't bring a cake.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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It's completely insulting and I think anyone who does so or asks to do so is acting rudely to the establishment. If you don't like their products buy them else where.

the same goes for wine? how about ethnic restaurants (say, thai or vietnamese) that have a very limited dessert menu?

i agree that one should always call ahead when bringing outside food/drink to a restaurant.

edit: i see now that you feel the same about wine. fair enough. but while there may not be a big difference in your eyes, bringing one's own wine to restaurants might be considered pretty standard and accepted in some places.

From the time I was 18 or 19 until a couple of years ago, my Dad used to take me to some fancy restaurant ton my birthday that I couldn't afford then, being a starving student. He had bought a case of Mouton Rothschild from my 'vintage' i.e., year of birth, and it was a tradition to open it each year on my birthday. When he explained this to the restaurant staff, they gladly accommodated us (and he gladly paid the corkage fee and tipped above 20%) - and sometimes the owner would even join us for half a glass. Like the wedding cake on your 1st anniversary thing, I think it's polite to save bringing your own dessert/wine for truly exceptional reasons - not just 'cause it's your favourite - and obviously, call ahead!

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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I have been thinking about this actually. I have a group of friends that always celebrate birthdays with dinner together (about once a month...our birthdays are, quite nicely, all in different months!). We always go through the same tradition of procedure with cake, song, wish, photo, unwrapping of presents, photo again, etc. We always bring our own cake (whole cake), and we have a cutting ritual that I don't even though who came up with. Anyhow, I've been concerned with whether it is insulting to do so or not. But as I raise my concern to my friends, they all think it's fine. Some restaurants were extremely eager in celebrating with us: kitchen crew came out with candles lit, extra writing with sauce, and singing happy birthday. Some times they were less than eager: they gave us a big spoon with the cake still in the box and plastic bag even when we had told them what we wanted. Mind you, a lot of the restaurants we go to are ethnic restaurants that don't usually have cakes: Japanese Sushi place, Korean BBQ, etc.

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Susan G and lauraf have the right idea, there is a time and a place, mind you as others have said it is a MUST to call ahead and discuss. I recently brought a cake to a restaurant, like Hue, it was an Asian place that doesn't have cakes (I thought they didn't do dessert - but they trumped me on that one!), but I would have asked to do it anywhere we went that night.

Not only did I call and ASK (without assuming), but I also shared the cake with the staff at the restaurant. In this case it seemed everyone was happy. I have done it before and I am sure I will do it again - one of the big reasons has to do with ritual and symbolism. Each one of us (I'm talking about you!) have deeply routed cultural ties with food. As with communication so much is in addition to the words, it is the same with food and the symbolism connected to it.

I think it is interesting that this thread is a) in the Vancouver forum and b) clearly spawned from another thread discussing how this happened and c) that our American posters are all so concerned about litigation. It is in the US where more litigation happens per capita - I doubt any Canadians would consider that near the top of the list of why not. I could be wrong ...

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Reporting in from Hawaii...

We've brought cakes to restaurants on several occasions (like birthday parties), ALWAYS asking ahead when we made the reservation. These were always ethnic restaurants that didn't serve Western-style desserts. They've all been accommodating, even keeping the cake in their refrigerator during the dinner. We've always cut and plated the cake ourselves at the table. It's pretty common practice here.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Why must restaurants be that much more accomodating than EVERY other service provider in the market?

Do auto repair shops allow you to bring in an outside mechanic at no charge?

Does your butcher allow an outside steer to be brought in for butchering

with merely a "plating fee"?

Will Van. Mag. kindly edit your maiden publication as you may be a loyal reader?

Why must restauranteurs suck up EVERY desire of the public while most other industries do not?

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Lawyers can argue that an elephant can hang off a cliff with it's tail wrapped around a dandelion so I wouldn't want to go there. If anything the poor restaurant in this hypothetical should merrily sue the people who brought the poisoned cake in for damages to their reputation.

The cake thing is in a quandary bubble all alone where it should stay. It is not in the same ethcal netherworld as corkage. Special occasions are welcome, especially the big ones. If a group of Cougars celebrating one of their own who bags their first under-twenty in twenty years (happy to deliver that cake) wants to bring in a non-fat decaf espresso tofu cake flavoured with (Lulu) lemons cut to resemble their former breasts, awesome. Or if the big promotion from soul-sucking wretch to partner comes one rainy night and the local patisserie is closed, sure - bring in that Hummer-shaped Black Forest number (Tonight, I'm getting the Bishop of Vancouver in with an angel food and communion wafer ice cream cake shaped like a chimney.

In the end and regardless of convention, all restaurants should be flattered they've been chosen as the venue for their guests most memorable days, and besides...as long as the tip is good, the world is your oyster. So let them eat cake! We even have candles waiting for you celebrators. We may take a loss in dessert sales for the night but you've etched in your lobes an evening that involves us in some minute way, and that's the frame of a bigger picture many, especially those who slog it out on the floor, are quick to forget. Who knows, the cakers might even get some Moscato or Taylor Tawny to wash down the Skor icing and smartie garnishes if you're lucky. And remember, always leave a slice for the us. :wink:

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Lawyers can argue that an elephant can hang off a cliff with it's tail wrapped around a dandelion so I wouldn't want to go there. If anything the poor restaurant in this hypothetical should merrily sue the people who brought the poisoned cake in for damages to their reputation.

The cake thing is in a quandary bubble all alone where it should stay. It is not in the same ethcal netherworld as corkage. Special occasions are welcome, especially the big ones. If a group of Cougars celebrating one of their own who bags their first under-twenty in twenty years (happy to deliver that cake) wants to bring in a non-fat decaf espresso tofu cake flavoured with (Lulu) lemons cut to resemble their former breasts, awesome. Or if the big promotion from soul-sucking wretch to partner comes one rainy night and the local patisserie is closed, sure - bring in that Hummer-shaped Black Forest number (Tonight, I'm getting the Bishop of Vancouver in with an angel food and communion wafer ice cream cake shaped like a chimney.

In the end and regardless of convention, all restaurants should be flattered they've been chosen as the venue for their guests most memorable days, and besides...as long as the tip is good, the world is your oyster. So let them eat cake! We even have candles waiting for you celebrators. We may take a loss in dessert sales for the night but you've etched in your lobes an evening that involves us in some minute way, and that's the frame of a bigger picture many, especially those who slog it out on the floor, are quick to forget. Who knows, the cakers might even get some Moscato or Taylor Tawny to wash down the Skor icing and smartie garnishes if you're lucky. And remember, always leave a slice for the us.  :wink:

Exactly! Mercedes...it is my daughters 16th birthday....give me leather seats and upgrade me to the 500 series for free!

I am calling Bullshit....

I like the irony of this quote sequence.

An inconsiderate customer is an inconsiderate customer, but a customer who calls and asks and gets a "Hey, we'd be delighted if you celebrated your [whatever] with us" and then is probably considerate enough to order good wine or extra drinks or whatever to bring the tab up, as well as appropriately compensate the server, is a customer who is also going to come back, I think...and say good things...and remember, "oh, I had my [whatever] at [restaurant], it was great!" So honestly, I can't see what's so wrong about that.

If the customer asks and the restaurant says NO OMIGOD WHAT AN INSULT TO MY FABULOUS PASTRY CHEF then I guess it's a different story.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Bringing something to a place that already provides what you want to bring in is what pisses me off about the whole thing.

Chambar is very gracious, they will not say no to that request because they are such nice people.

Maybe for my son's birthday we can go to a high profile restaurant, but is it alright if we bring in the appetizers from Red Robin, since that is his special birthday wish.

Maybe we aren't big drinkers, but we want to bring in a Sauternes from the year Grandma was born for her birthday, is that too much trouble?

I know , I know the wine argument is yet another thread.

As a waiter I have been burned way more times than not by this custom of cake-bringing. Even the offer of a slice way too rare.

Do we just let them eat cake?

...?...

Be quick about it.

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Yup. :smile:

Getting burned when you're a waiter is akin to getting shat on by a big gaseous gull while strolling the promenade on a beautiful day. "Damn", you might exclaim while reaching for a hankerchief, "What are the chances?" But you never stop noticing what a beautiful day it is.

And grandmas birthday Sauternes? No problem. Let me fetch some glasses.

You see, it's service. It doesn't matter if it's fair or cool or unusual. I'm a hapless whore with exacting standards for whoredom. :biggrin:

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Yup.  :smile:

Getting burned when you're a waiter is akin to getting shat on by a big gaseous gull while strolling the promenade on a beautiful day. "Damn", you might exclaim while reaching for a hankerchief, "What are the chances?" But you never stop noticing what a beautiful day it is.

And grandmas birthday Sauternes? No problem. Let me fetch some glasses.

You see, it's service. It doesn't matter if it's fair or cool or unusual. I'm a hapless whore with exacting standards for whoredom.  :biggrin:

And again, you are right....

Please, oh please understand that you are a friend, but...I agree with Cubil (he introduced me to the Hanger Steak, I was previously a Ribeye guy)....I want a Mercedes on Saturday...please come with me and explain to the salesman (who is in customer service) why he is going to upgrade me to the 500 from the Kia I can afford, just because it was my birthday in March!...

edit: sorry, I am no Jamie Maw!

Edited by Chef Fowke (log)

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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