Restaurants charge too much for waterGood Food Guide reveals consumers' water worries

06 November 2008

a tap with water flowing

Planning ahead is key to meeting demands

Don't be too embarrassed to ask for tap water in restaurants in these cost-conscious times, advises the Good Food Guide.

More than three quarters of consumers polled by Which? and the believe restaurants charge too much for bottled water and a fifth said they felt embarrassed when asking for tap water when eating out.

Not only is tap water cheaper, it doesn't actually taste that different. Half the survey respondents said they can't taste the difference between bottled and tap water. In fact, 18% actually prefer the taste from the tap.

Find out how bottled and tap water costs compare, and whether there's really a difference in taste in our Which? switching from bottled to tap water online guide.

Cut restaurant bills

Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of The Good Food Guide, said: ‘People looking after the pennies could easily save pounds by drinking tap water when eating out.

‘We think that all restaurants should provide free tap water without customers having to ask. Most will cheerfully comply with requests for tap. If they don't, feel free to take your custom elsewhere.’

Though restaurants are not legally obliged to provide free tap water, nearly all will do so. Several café and restaurant chains have pledged to serve tap water on request, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Strada and Costa Coffee.

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