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  • Photography of Food in Restaurants in Singapore

    This is a followup from the original question at the original thread at


    Specifically, the question was:

    "I want to shoot a photo of some food I just bought (and paid) from an eatery."

    I started a new thread for easier discussion as this question is a little different from the other shooting in public places questions.

    This issue has been getting increasing relevant today, especially in Singapore with many people enjoying good food, and enjoying taking photographs of this good food.

    Sometimes, these customers get stopped by the staff in certain restaurants from taking photographs of their food, and more often than not, quietly obey, as most typical obedient Singaporeans would.

    The question is, can anyone stop you from taking photographs of the food that you have ordered and will be paying (or have already paid) for?

    I am not aware of any locally reported court cases specially on this issue, and hence, this discussion will be based more on general principles than anything else.

    If you recall the earlier discussion (see the first link) on shooting in public or private places, and assuming that the common case would be that you are taking photographs of your food in the restaurant premises itself, the restaurant premises would qualify as a private place.

    Hence, in my view, if the restaurant staff tells you that you cannot take photographs of the food, you can reply nicely to say that you have already bought and paid (or are paying) for the food; hence you can do whatever you want with the food.

    I doubt they have a legal right to stop you from taking photographs of your food; or at least, I cannot think of a cause of action on which they can base any action to sue you because you are taking photographs of their food.

    However, what they have is the legal right to ask you to leave the premises (and probably leave the food behind).

    The interesting part then comes in; what if you are halfway through your meal? By asking you to leave, are they also forfeiting payment? This is again not clear, but I will suggest that if you intend to comply and leave, you should not have to pay for the meal.

    In fact, to further bolster your case, you can say that a valid contract has been offered and accepted. If the restaurant is insisting on evicting you from the premises, they are now in breach of the contract agreed in provision of food and drink.

    Further, it is very unlikely that the prohibition against the taking of photographs of your food and drink are brought to your attention prior to formation of the contract.

    Hence, this is my suggested approach when dealing with such “no photography” demands in a restaurant; tailor according to your own needs:

    Waiter: Excuse me, we do not allow you to take photographs of your food here.

    Customer: I ordered and paid for the food, it is now my property and I can do as I wish with it, including eating it, dumping it, giving it to my dog, or taking a photograph of it.

    Waiter: It is our company policy that we do not allow photographs to be taken in our restaurant.

    Customer: Well, it is my policy that I can do anything I wish with things that I have paid for. Perhaps you can ask your manager to speak to me.

    While the hapless waiter calls for his manager, get your photo-taking done and start consuming the food.

    Manager: I’m afraid that our restaurant’s policy does not permit the taking of photographs of our food. If you do not comply, I’m afraid that I will have to ask you to leave.

    Customer: That is certainly within your prerogative as owner of these premises, but are you also aware that by asking me to leave without allowing me a chance to finish my food, you are exposing your restaurant to a possible claim for breach of contract? A valid contract was offered and accepted and you are now breaching it by refusing to allow me to finish my meal.

    Two possibilities can result after that; the Manager may remain firm and insist you leave, which you can comply, but don’t pay for the meal since it was interrupted. The other possibility is of course, the Manager gives in and allows you to finish your food, in which case your target objectives are accomplished.

    Hope this has been helpful for you guys!

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Photography of Food in Restaurants in Singapore started by Beagle View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. toffee bread's Avatar
      Great read. THanks for exploring all the possible scenarios. It'll do more than spoil the mood during the meal if the waiter picks up an argument.
    1. Poseidon's Avatar
      Well make sure that the food has arrived before picking a fight else you may end up with extra ingredients!

      Great writeup, promoted to article on front page.
    1. JayC's Avatar
      This article really help the customers to get a very good review about that restaurant. It is best explained in the content how good the place is. It attracts the readers of the review to go and try the said place.

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