Are Bars and Restaurants Liable for Lost or Stolen Items on the Premises?
Posted on: August 14, 2019 by RMS Hospitality
It may be summer, but soon enough temperatures are going to drop and people will be donning extra layers to stay warm when heading out. For those who head to restaurants or bars, needing to stay warm may just be what they need until they get inside the establishment, but once they’re inside, who becomes responsible for a coat or jacket that gets lost?
People who lose an item at a bar or restaurant may feel it’s the responsibility of the establishment to look out for their item(s) and reimburse them if it is unretrievable. But who’s really at fault and should restaurants or bars take responsibility?
Who’s To Blame?
Generally speaking, it is the owner’s fault if their property is lost or stolen. While it may be tempting to take off that extra layer or set a bag down, it’s considered to be a possession of the patron themselves. In some instances, the liability for lost property belongs to the party who was caring for it, like the bar or restaurant they were at.
Owners and managers are not liable for the property that becomes lost or stolen on the premises unless it was in their care. For example, if a restaurant or bar has a coatroom, it’s their responsibility to watch the items inside. The reason why coat rooms are there is for patrons to feel that their possessions are safe and worry-free.
But if someone who stops by a restaurant forgets their coat hanging over the back of a chair, and someone takes it or it is lost in another way, it is not the responsibility of the restaurant or bar. Simply forgetting an item is not enough to make a claim against a place of business since it shows negligence on behalf of the customer.
For establishments who find themselves on the other end of a claim made by a patron who is trying to make the case that it wasn’t their fault an item of theirs was stolen or lost, they need to do two things: show their policy for personal items and utilize their hospitality insurance specifically designed for restaurants or bars.
This kind of coverage is specially designed to protect a place of business when claims are made. Paying for court costs and legal fees can rack up. Even if the issue is thrown out, it may not be a good look to have a negligence claim on your record.
About RMS Hospitality Group
At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom-tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.