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Free Water off the Menu in Restaurants?

In 2010 the Government ruled that any establishment that serves alcohol must ‘provide all customers with access to free tap water’ in a bid to banish binge drinking and to help customers ‘space out their drinks and not get intoxicated too quickly.’

However, some customers claim that certain eateries are not happy about providing complementary water; while others are denying patrons – who have already spent a significant amount of money in that establishment – access to the free drink.

This is because many restauranters and licensees state that their businesses depend on providing beverages at a cost.  Some owners claim they are just concerned about the quality of their tap water.  (http://www.ccwater.org.uk/server.php?show=nav.736#)

More water, waiter!

As well as being a major element in curbing Britain’s binge drinking culture, water offers many additional health benefits to customers.

It prevents dehydration; a serious health risk that can leave people with many problems, including dizziness, tiredness and muscle strain.

Rich food, alcohol – and even over dinner conversation – can all leave customers thirsty. If people do not have access to water, they cannot replenish their lost fluids. That could lead to more serious consequences – along with the temptation to consume more alcohol. 

Mike Winter of MIW said: “It’s common sense that fresh drinking water should be available at no extra cost for customers. Not just to combat binge drinking, but so that customers can stay healthy and hydrated.”  

Free water in eateries? Have your say:

Have you ever asked for – and been denied – tap water in a restaurant, bar or club?

Were you aware of the law to provide patrons with free water? Or do you think there needs to be a greater awareness of these customer rights?

Perhaps you are a licensee or restaurant owner who disagrees with the law.

Whatever your thoughts, we’d love you to share them with our readers.