Is It OK for You to Bring Your Own Dessert (Not Birthday Cake) to a Restaurant and Eat It at the Table?

dessert-59A friend of mine who owns a restaurant posted this question on Facebook yesterday. I don’t know the full context of it, but I was fascinated that it was even a question, because the answer to me is so clearly “no.”

However, my guess is that my friend has seen guests do this at his restaurant, and perhaps he was just as dumbfounded as I was.

A few people commented on the post that they think it’s okay to bring birthday cake to a restaurant if you call ahead (sometimes there’s a plating fee), and my friend clarified that he wasn’t referring to birthday cake. It sounds like patrons have gone to his restaurant for dinner, then pulled out their own dessert and started eating it at the table.

I’m fascinated that anyone would think for a second that’s an okay thing to do. I mean, why stop at dessert? Why not bring your own appetizers and entree too? The whole idea of eating at a restaurant is that you’re there to eat and pay for food prepared in the restaurant kitchen. That’s the social contract of eating out.

Someone in the comments mentioned that perhaps it’s okay if someone has allergies and can’t eat the dessert the restaurant offers. While I sympathize with that, I’m still not sure it’s a good reason. No one is forcing you to eat dessert.

Clearly I have a strong opinion about this, but I’m writing this entry because I figure I must be missing something if some people think this practice is okay. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments or in the poll below.