Should pubs allow non-paying guests to use the toilet?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Poll: do you allow non-paying customers to use the toilet at your pub? (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)
Poll: do you allow non-paying customers to use the toilet at your pub? (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)

Related tags Finance Social responsibility Multi-site pub operators

Should pubs allow non-paying customers to use the toilet? While it may be seen as the hospitable thing to do, there can be a cost to operators involved and rude guests to contend with.

Licensee of the Walmer Castle pub in Notting Hill,​ London, Jack Greenall, told The Morning Advertiser while the venue does allow non-paying customers use the facilities, guests should ask before doing so if they are not planning on spending money at the site.


Do you allow non-paying customers to use the toilet at your pub?

  • Yes

  • No


He said: “We're a hospitality business, we need to be nice to people and look after them; that for us is instinctive.

“I'd be irritated if someone didn't ask, that's basic manners from the guest, and if they ask nicely, it's basic hospitality to say yes, of course. But just marching into a business and helping yourself is bad manners.”

Cost impact 

One option hospitality firms could consider is charging for the use of on-site facilities, especially in the face of rising costs, however Greenall warned this could come across as “mean”, adding the cost to most operators is negligible enough.

“We wouldn't ever [charge to use the toilet], it would come across as a bit mean and I'm not sure I would rush back to a business if I politely asked to use the loo and they've tried to monetize it.

“If I had a pub in a very high-volume location, for example next door to a major train station, I would maybe look at [charging].

“But in the types of pubs that I look after, which are largely in residential areas, we would never have enough volume for it to impact costs significantly enough to worry about it”, he continued.

Part of the community  

Owner of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, Brendan Padfield​, echoed Greenall, stating pubs are part of communities and play a “wider role” than many other high street businesses.

He said: “When you need to go, you need to go, and public conveniences are not as prevalent now as they were in former years.

“Pubs are part of the community; we have a wider role [to play] than the average shop with a loo.

“[Also], not getting het up about this means the person dying to go to toilet may well return as a customer another day.”


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