Is washing fruits a normal expectation from the waitstaff?

Recently, I have at a mid-low end restaurant ($7-10 per dish). Beside ordering off of the menu, the customers at the next table handed over a bag of cherries (they bought from a nearby market) to the waitress and asked if she can wash the cherries and bring them back for serving. The waitress did just that.

The customer was nice about and the waitress was nice about it too. So no harm done. My question is that: Is this considered a out-of-bound request and if you think the waitress has the right to refuse? What do you think?

It’s not correct to bring your own food in the first place. I think the waitress has all the right to refuse them eating and of course washing them. Exception can be the case when a young kid couldn’t eat the food of restaurant (too spicy) that the parents ask if they are allowed feed the cherries to their kid, but they should wash their own fruits.

Are the clients and waitress relatives or friends?

Any establishment has the right to insist that you do not bring outside food or beverage into their establishment.

With regard to your specific question: [quote=“Chemicalkinetics, post:1, topic:9436”]
if you think the waitress has the right to refuse?

The waitress has the right to uphold whatever policy the house has regarding outside food or beverage. It is NEVER a servers responsibility to make up policy on their own.

I think the waitress was sweet to do that.

Some people are nice. Some people are unhappy and fell the need to make others unhappy or uncomfortable. It feeds their petty, little souls.

If youve ordered food, and have some beautiful cherries you want to eat with your meal, I think it’s nice she did that. Even though it’s not necessary or part of her job. She’s a nice person.


Entirely agree with naf on this one. But that may just be the social norms of where we are in the world.

However, one of the practical consequences of them eating the cherries is that they probably didnt need to buy a dessert off the restaurant.

Did the party then sit at the table and eat the cherries?

I could understand being on vacation or having kids who need a snack - asking to wash the cherries so you could eat them later on the train or after the next museum. The server can say no but to me that is not crossing any lines.

To bring in food, have it washed and put in a bowl then sit there and eat it, not normal and not within usual restaurant boundaries. The server was overly accommodating, I hope they appreciated her.

1 Like

I have to confess, I did that twice in my life! :flushed:

Both times we bought some pastries and went to a nearby café to enjoy instantly! The first time, it was a café not far from the Eiffel tower, we saw everybody in the café was doing that, nobody asked, waiter was fine. Second time, we bought some cakes from Pierre Hermé’s shop in rue Bonaparte, I have read in a blog that we could eat right away in a café not too far away. Anyway we asked a waiter to be sure, the waiter didn’t say no nor yes, but asked us directly what pastries we had bought. Both times, we ordered coffee and tea. Actually both places got lots of businesses as they are located next to famous pastry shops that happen to not have a tearoom.

They are definitely not relatives. They can barely communicate with one another – different languages… The waitress speaks Chinese with some English, and the customers seem mostly fluent in Spanish. There were a bit of English mixed with “innovative” hand signs. :slight_smile:

Right. In this case, it is a mom and pop restaurant, so it may not have a thought-out policy.

I was at SF Chinatown. The customers look to be local tourists who bought some cherries from a nearby market. Yeah, the cherries were washed and served on the table.

I am thinking… It is acceptable to bring your own wine and asked the servers to serve the wine, right? They did ask the waitress nicely if it is possible. So the customers were not in a “demanding” mode which is nice.

I guess in my mind… it is one thing that you slip a couple cherries and pop them in your mouth. :slight_smile: It is another thing to ask the waitress to wash them. The waitress did wash them. There was a sink I could see, and she actually rinse the cherries by mixing/stirring them for 20 seconds or so (not a sloppy job – certainly spent more time than I wash my own cherries)

Tacky request, IMO. Not only does this hurt the restaurant’s bottom line by making it less likely that the customer will order dessert, but creates a liability issue in the case of food-borne illness. Hopefully they tipped the waitress well.


Well, it is a Chinese restaurant, so probably they were not going to order Chinese dessert anyway. But yeah… I guess there is a liability issue…