Parents Eating Out With Babies Should Be Charged Extra


baby in restaurantA restaurant in the UK is making families pay a fee to dine with their babies -- even for nursing babies who don't eat the food. Cosmo restaurant has a new policy that parents must pay an extra £3 (about $4.50) for each child, minimum. No more free lunch for you, shorties!

We're not talking about a fancy restaurant where babies would disturb the hoity-toity decorum, either. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet where, despite being named after an Italian grandfather, one may pile a tower of Asian pot stickers, egg rolls, sushi of questionable freshness, and cold sesame noodles upon one's tray for one low price. But this policy makes perfect sense to me. Please, Cosmo, do charge a few extra quid for the little sprogs.

Cosmo told one angry parent they charged the fee because her stroller was taking up too much space in the restaurant -- as in, the 22,000-square-foot, 800-seat mega space that currently holds the record as the largest restaurant in England. To which I say, bullocks! This is obviously not about space. This is about the general inconvenience of wee ones.

Come on, parents. Haven't you seen the mess your babies leave in restaurants? If it's not the mess, it's the stroller people keep tripping over (which should be either left in the car or folded and stowed completely under the table), or it's the crying, or it's the restaurant food the baby actually is eating, or it's the way the baby distracts the parent who spills her own tea -- you get what I'm saying. I can admit that my son has brought his share of chaos -- which I always took responsibility for. But I've also made it a habit to leave an extra tip for the staff's trouble.

Would it be nicer if the restaurant let babies dine free? Sure. But is it an outrage? Meh, I don't think so. I'm surprised more restaurants don't already do this.

There will always be silent babies who quietly doze the entire meal and might as well be a sack of potatoes. But no restaurant wants to be put in charge of judging which babies are high maintenance and which ones are not. So consider this a mandatory baby gratuity. A cheesy gratuity, true (considering the restaurant), but still better than an outright ban.

Do you think restaurants are justified in charging a fee for babies?

Image via eyeliam/Flicker

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elibee elibee

Don't ever go to Italy with small babies or kids. The kindness that people display for you and your children might stun you into silence. Silly cow.

nonmember avatar Alma

I agree! Not all of us love to hear the sound of a screaming toddler, nor hear your kid cough and sneeze in the air, or rip open sugar packets and throw them everywhere. More power to the restaurant!!!

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

Well, I don't know what the laws are in Italy, but if it were in the USA it would be perfectly within this business owner's rights to do this. It's a private business. Anyone who doesn't like it can feel free to CHOOSE somewhere else to eat.
So, yes, the owner is an asshat. But, it's his right to be. So, I'll make sure to avoid that restaurant if I ever go to Italy.

nonmember avatar Ron

For a site brought to you by cafeMOM you sure do sound like you are against maternal rights. I agree with the above comment about a culture of understanding.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

It's really no secret that restaurants in the UK hate small children for the most part. Half of them don't have high chairs and a changing table is as elusive as the holy grail. I'm surprised she was even allowed to take the stroller in considering most places I went with one tried to get me to leave it outside.

Jennifer K Hilsinger

No.  A restaurant doesn't charge you for renting space or transport, like an airline or theater seats - it's for food and the labor required to get said food in front of you.  If the baby isn't eating, it isn't costing the restaurant anything by being there, so this is all about being anti-family. 

Melis... Melissa042807

From my standpoint, it isn't the babies who are screaming and causing a great disturbance in restaurants. It's kids old enough to know better. And their parents just let them scream instead of getting up off their butts and, oh I don't know, DOING something about it. And also from what I've seen, kids old enough to know better make the biggest messes too. So in my opinion, they should charge extra for all kids under the age of, oh say, 7 if this is an issue about screaming and messes. But that's just my opinion. 

TC00 TC00

I'm perfectly ok with that. It will now be up to the patrons to decide if they are willing to shell out extra money to walk in with a child.

Right now I only go to places that allow the 2yr old to eat free and lucky for us there are plenty here but that's how I am...I vote with my pocketbook.

If you don't like it then don't go

starr... starrsitter

When they start charging for obnoxious people shouting into their phones, women discussing their sex lives loudly, and teenagers practically having sex...then, perhaps, I'll be on board.  I wouldn't go here.

nonmember avatar dg

If anyone thinks kids are not more trouble. They are crazy!! When my kids were little. I would bring a mat for the highchair. So I could clean it up easier. But if my kids were not acting well. I would leave. I don't blame the restaurant at all. Just don't go, if you don't like there rules.

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