I'm sure I read somewhwere a while ago that if you are dissatisfied with the service provided in a restaurant, including the standard of the food, you have the right in law to withhold payment or to pay only what you think the food was worth. As long as you don't do a runner, you could in theory give the manager your name and address, then say that if he wants the rest of the money he must take civil legal action against you. You have not attempted to defraud the business, nor have you stolen anything. The only time the police should get involved is if someone threatens or enacts violonce or if you try to avoid paying with no good reason.

So, my question to all the food ranters is this - have you tried standing up for your contractual rights, or even taking your own legal action against the business about whom you are complaining rather than storming (or skulking) off and posting whingeing 'reviews' on a site such as this? I have. I won't name the pubs, but I have certainly refused to pay for a meal which I found unacceptable, and when I discusssed it in a businesslike way with the managers/landlords, showing them the evidence, they have refunded or reduced the cost of my meals with no real unpleasantness. Indeed, many chefs would rather sort out genuine complaints in as pleasant a way as possible as they have their reputations to consider. I do stress that of the many hundreds of pubs I have visited durin gmy life there are only a very few occasions where I have felt the need to do this.

On the other side of the coin, I have seen some real idiots expecting too much of hard working bar staff, yet the majority of managers and landlords deal with it in their stride, and on the very, very few occasions where I have seen staff use the minimum necessary force to neutralise what they genuinely believed to be an immediate and credible threat to themselves or their customers, it was thoroughly deserved (and, it must be admitted, sometimes applauded).

While I accept there will be the occasional landlord who will be unreasonable, I believe most are sensible businessmen who will do the right thing provided the customer is being reasonable and has a valid complaint.