Is It Legal To Ban Customers From All-You-Can-Eat Restaurants?

Is It Legal To Ban Customers From All-You-Can-Eat Restaurants?
Image: Fox

A German athlete made news last week when he was banned from an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant for eating almost 100 pieces of sushi. And while I don’t think I’m capable of eating 100 pieces of sushi myself, I still had to wonder – can all-you-can-eat restaurants legally ban you from their restaurant for doing exactly what it says on the sign? Here’s what I found out.

This isn’t the first instance of big eaters being banned from restaurants that claim to offer unlimited quantities of food, but it is one of the most notable. Jaroslav Bobrowski, a triathlete, was supposedly a regular customer at the restaurant. Either this time he went a bit too far or the manager finally had enough of his massive appetite.

“He eats for five people. That is not normal,” the restaurant owner said when questioned by Passauer Neue Presse. Bobrowski, for his part, said he was ‘stunned’ but has since apologised for his behaviour and said he would be more mindful in the future.

A pair in England also made the news after being banned from a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant in Brighton for taking advantage of the restaurant’s “eat as much as you like” offer – apparently after a long history of eating too much on every visit. However when Guardian writer Bim Adewunmi tried to get thrown out of a similar restaurant in London, she just couldn’t physically eat enough to piss anyone off.

A Reddit thread asking for similar stories showed that a few people have experienced being asked to leave all-you-can-eat restaurants, but were very rarely banned.

In a twist on this story, a restaurant in China was forced to close down after a maybe too generous all-you-can-eat deal left it more than $100,000 in debt in less than a month.

So is it legal for you to be kicked out or banned for eating too much? Under Australian consumer law, if the restaurant promises you all you can eat, you should be entitled to all you can eat – unless there are caveats displayed prominently enough alongside the all-you-can-eat branding.

“Businesses should be careful about making ‘unlimited’ or ‘all you can eat’ claims where that does not give a true picture to consumers of what is being offered. Any representations by businesses must be genuine,” a spokesperson from the ACCC told Lifehacker. “If a business needs to qualify its advertisements, their qualifying statements must be clear and prominent so that consumers know what the real offer is.”

That being said, if you’re not just eating a lot but are being unruly or disruptive in an all-you-can-eat restaurant, you probably can’t still use this as a defense – so always remember to be polite when you’re stuffing your face, ok?


  • Anything “unlimited” is never actually “unlimited”. There’s always some kind of “fair use” clause or similar attached to it, or some kind of restrictions that happen once you exceed a certain threshold.

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