The bowl of water for his dog cost him 30 cents in a restaurant: is it legal?

0.30 cents is the asking price for a bowl of water, which is called a “toutou bar”, by a restaurant in Annecy. (©Andriy Blokhin / Adobe Stock)

“Last Saturday, we decided with a friend to eat in a restaurant in Annecy (Haute-Savoie), I was with my faithful dog (Wall-e). I ask a bowl of water for Wall-e, and, at the time of the addition, I see marked “doggie bar”? The jug of water is free but the water for my dog ​​is paying? What do I do next time? I come to the restaurant with my cutlery and my plate so as not to pay the “rent”? “.

This publication on the social network Facebook, at the beginning of July 2022, ticket in support, has been shared thousands of times and scandalized animal lovers… and not only.

Jug, glass of water, bowl of water: what are the obligations of professionals, bars or restaurants? make the point.

A simple question for an answer that is not necessarily

In the restaurant, “the carafe of ordinary water” accompanying the meal is free, insists the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), but… the cafe owner, on the other hand, is not required to deliver a “glass of ordinary water” free of charge. But he must then clearly inform the consumer of this, indicating the price charged.

The free carafe of water stems from decree no. 25-268 of June 8, 1967 concerning the display of prices, which also defines the cover. It must include: bread, ordinary water, spices or ingredients, crockery, glassware, towels, etc.

Consequently, the restaurateur cannot charge for the carafe of ordinary water as an accompaniment to a meal.

“Professional usage dictates that…”

The famous “free glass of water” on the other hand, is therefore absolutely not compulsory in a café.

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The cafe owner is under no obligation to deliver a free glass of water to accompany a coffee, for example. The glass of water constitutes a “specific and identified service”, in the same way as other drinks.

But here again, the cafe owner must then specify and display the price clearly outside and inside his establishment.

Asked by Actu.frthe prefecture of Haute-Savoie, basing itself on the texts, and concerning this “case of the bowl of water”, summarizes: “Professional practice requires that the “glass of ordinary water” be served free of charge in cafes , for consumers as well as for pets”, but that… “nothing prohibits a café owner from charging for it provided that the consumer is clearly and precisely informed beforehand”.

“It is up to the professional to measure the risk”

In the end, it is up to each cafe owner “to measure the risk of dissatisfying its customers through initiatives that could ultimately prove detrimental to its commercial activity”, summarizes the prefecture.

On the contrary, the fact of offering free and sometimes spontaneous water for dogs brings satisfaction to the masters which significantly improves the customer experience and promotes customer loyalty. And clearly avoid (very) bad publicity…

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