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British buffet starts charging admission fees for babies

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Even if the baby is young enough to sit in the parent's lap and is not eating anything.
http://eater.com/archives/2011/11/28/...

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  1. What is great about a free market is that if you find this establishment's practice to be offensive, you don't go. If enough people don't go, they either change their ways or go out of business.

    1. About time.

      Babies don't belong in restaurants anyway.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        How about even an OUTDOORS' Farmers Market mamma selling produce while previously engaging in changing nappies. Was there any hand cleansing going on? I didn't see any - must've been a slight of hand.

        Restaurants and babies? We usually ask if we can sit at a 'quiet' table. That doesn't always work, but sometimes it does for which we are very thankful.

        A few times we've asked to be moved. That doesn't always work, but worth a try.

        1. re: Rella

          Wow. If I saw such a diaper-changing vendor at a FM I would *make sure* I avoided that vendor henceforth!

          Re: Restaurants and babies - agree w/ ipse and also you.

          Another thing that disgusts me is when folks bring in their baby in one of those carrier thingies, put carrier on floor, transfer baby to high chair (if available), then at the end of the meal put carrier *on the table* (with or without plates being cleared) and transfer baby back to carrier. Or the corresponding mirror operation when first sitting down at the table. One also suspects the carrier has been set down in sundry not-entirely-clean places, the sidewalk, etc just from how the bottom rails/condition of the carrier looks like. I've seen this at places where there is no tablecloth or paper sheeting that is changed - rather, at tables where there is perhaps a cursory mop-off (with the same cloth that is probably not rinsed each and every time it is used) before the next patron(s) sit down.

          1. re: huiray

            "... at tables where there is perhaps a cursory mop-off (with the same cloth that is probably not rinsed each and every time it is used) before the next patron(s) sit down."

            Mopping off the seat and table at the same time, back and forth with the same rag, where little feet have been on the bathroom floor, back and forth running the aisles and then jumping back and forth on the seat.

            These rags, though I've been told, have so much chorine in them to cover all of these scenarios.

            1. re: Rella

              "These rags, though I've been told, have so much chorine in them to cover all of these scenarios."
              ---------
              Oh, really!! :::rolleyes:::

              1. re: huiray

                My sentiments - exactly!

            2. re: huiray

              I'll go you one better - at a Boston location of a national chain (its signature dessert is part of the title) I was ushered to a seat while the baby-toting party at the table to the right was paying and gathering themselves to depart. The waiter then apologized to the party to the left of me. I glanced to the vacated table and saw a used diaper. The couple on my left said that the offending party of 4 adults had changed the baby ON the clothless table.
              A functioning rest room was not 20 feet away. Apparently the couple had called the young waiter's attention to this but the others departed before he got back after reporting the situation to the manager. Had I witnessed this transgression I would not have needed an intermediary!

              1. re: greygarious

                I have seen a diaper under a table in a restaurant, and witnessed a mother changing her baby on an outdoor table at a restaurant I managed. She was told to leave immediately. The bathroom did not have a baby changing station but they had a car in the parking lot about 15 ft away!

                1. re: smartie

                  One word: babysitter.

        2. ...and here's the list of eater.com articles on babies/children in restaurants...
          http://eater.com/tags/breeders-behavi...
          ;-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: huiray

            The picture of the baby on that site is darned cute. My last story with kids: 'Almost' totally off site in another room was a great commotion all the time we were eating. I could see kids running around along-side one booth, but they weren't in the booth, nor belonged to the booth's occupants.

            When they finished, they all came by our booth, and I looked up to see who these wild ones were, when the woman said loudly with attitude, "Here comes the dirty looks." She knew all along what was happening. No one at this 'chain' restaurant set their foot down re this behavior, though I must commend them for putting these people as far away as possible. Pity the close-by customers in that room - I wouldn't have been able to take it.

            As a matter of fact, thinking about it, I've not been back to this restaurant - and that's been quite a while.

            1. re: Rella

              That baby looks tough.

          2. I really don't get the point unlike most other responders. (more like I don't agree with this).

            29 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Not sure I understand.

              Do you not agree with charging babies at buffets?

              Or do you not agree that babies or small children should not be at restaurants?

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Hi ipsedixit,

                Sorry about my confusing language. I was half talking to myself. On a personal level, I disagree with charging babies at the buffers since they do not eat. On the bigger scale, I see there is nothing legally wrong or fiscally wrong if they do chose to do it.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Ok, thanks. Makes sense.

                  Just thinking out loud to myself. Wonder if a buffet could charge an adult who is simply going to sit there to keep the diner company and not eat.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    This is indeed a good point. Although I think we view a baby different than an adult..... Due to the "necessary", "free will" and "potential" arguments, I think a better (in my opinion) question is: if a buffer could charge a dog who is simply tagging along with the owner.

                    Technically, the buffet restaurant can charge a baby if it wants, but, as said before, I personally do not agree.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      With the adult, the argument could be made that the diner is more likely to eat more and longer with a companion -- even one who is not eating -- than if that same diner was solo.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        ?

                        My argument is that an adult has the potential to eat, so for him to eat or not to eat is a matter of choice.

                        A baby and a dog do not have the same choice to eat in buffer. In the case of the baby, he is not old enough. In the case of the dog, the restaurant won't allow it. Either case, they don't have the potential to eat, so it is unfair to charge someone for something which they cannot take advantage of. This is the potential argument.

                        As for the necessary and free will argument, I am sure you can figure them out as well as I can. Similar logic.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Down here, the local municipality has the option about deciding whether dogs can join diners in outdoor patio areas of a restaurant (provided the restaurant wants to allow them), and I've seen me share of food getting slipped to the dogs over the course of a meal.

                          1. re: beachmouse

                            "Down here, the local municipality has the option about deciding whether dogs can join diners in outdoor patio areas of a restaurant"

                            :) Awesome

                            While this can be true, I think "most" restaurants do not allow it, especially buffets.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      I've wondered if they would charge an adult who ate off the menu, but was sitting w/ others who e the buffet. We go to one restaurant where I'm the only one who eats off the menu. I never eat off the buffet those days but there have been times when someone leaves something on their plate and I think of finishing it off. But, I refrain. If I did, would they be able to charge me? It's a little place and the owner is great so this is theoretical. I ordered soup, she took it from the buffet and didn't charge me.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Certainly in the UK, my experience is that the buffet restaurant would charge the non-eating adult. Basically, if there's a bum on a seat, it's pay-up time. Many places have signage to that effect.

                    3. re: ipsedixit

                      Generally, if there's any restaurant that's appropriate for little kids or babies, it would be a buffet, which are generally loud, have a lot of commotion, people moving about, quick easy meals. It means parents need to be extra aware and kids under the age of 12 should not make a trip to the buffet unescorted. I went w/ a Brownies troop to a Ceci's pizza--even if the food were good, I'd never go backi after seeing the way kids behave there.

                      1. re: chowser

                        There are high-end buffets, esp. at higher-end hotels for brunch that would be inappropriate for babies or little kids.

                        Not every buffet is a Homestyle Buffet or a Souplantation, or an AYCE Chinese smorgasbord of glop. Thank goodness.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Indeed. I can think of various buffets I've eaten at where crisp linen tablecloths, crystal wine glasses and goblets, fine silverware, fine wines & cocktails, classical chamber music, liveried servers, prime rib (for example) carved to order, etc etc was the scenery.

                          1. re: huiray

                            I've been to those too-- typically Easter brunch-- and which for the ones I've been to, wouldn't survive if they "welcomed" families by charging babies in arms money to dine there. The typical group is a large, multi-generational family, with grandpop footing the large bill.

                            1. re: huiray

                              Weekly brunch at the Garden Court San Francisco.
                              http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_JDMiXQYrpTU...

                              1. re: wolfe

                                I'm trying to imagine managing, in heels and a nice cocktail dress, to manage to plate my dinner and sit w/out spilling it over myself. I'm not a big eater, not a big fan of buffet so to pay a lot and have to dress up for it might be one of the last dining experiences I'd want. Buffets seem to invite, for me, the opportunity to put a lot of unlike foods together and have it not taste good.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Well, at nice buffets like that I would make many leisurely trips up to the tables. There is no requirement to load up a single plate. I would usually put no more than 2 or 3 items - of one type, say the smoked salmon with capers, toast points, herbed cream cheese or mustard etc on a plate, eat that, have a few swigs of my mimosa :-) or whatever, saunter back to the tables, pick a few items off the salad selection onto another plate, eat that, sip more champagne; wander back to the tables, have some steamed snow crabs on a fresh plate, eat that leisurely; go back, get my 3- egg scrambled eggs cooked to order at the egg station with the fixings of my choice, eat that; wander back, get a couple slices of medium rare prime rib of my desired thicknesses off the hunk carved by the prime rib attendant standing at the ready, slosh some juice over it, pick the condiments of my choice, plop some haricots verte and rosemary potatoes on my plate, leisurely eat that...and so on... It's not difficult to do at all. ;-)

                                  There are hotels in the Far East/SE Asia where there are extensive high-end buffets of a smorgasbord of exquisite foods/dishes from the many diverse regional Chinese/Indian/SE Asian cuisines at stations manned by uniformed chefs at the ready to cook your desired dishes à la minute for you.

                                  1. re: huiray

                                    " It's not difficult to do at all. ;-)"

                                    You haven't seen me in heels.;-) It sounds nice, in that I love trying a little of everything. But, as I said, I like being lazy, especially if I'm paying that much for food. I have been to nice weddings that have been like that. I like the appetizers that get passed around. Although, put me in my running shoes and clothes and I'd treat it like a marathon and probably enjoy it.

                                  2. re: chowser

                                    First Class on JAL and Singapore Airlines is an AYCE Buffet style meal, that's entirely ordered off the menu.

                                    You can essentially have them bring you an endless supply of lobster tails until the captain turns on the fasten seat belt sign.

                                    Me? I opted for about 10 scoops too many of the peach gelato than was safe before the human cranium reached critical brain freeze levels.

                                  3. re: wolfe

                                    Nice place. :-)

                                    1. re: wolfe

                                      Oh yes and did I forget to show the menu? Stations, we have stations.

                                      http://www.sfpalace.com/assets/u/Sund...

                                      1. re: wolfe

                                        just to point out, that menu is $68/adult $38/children 5-12. presumably kids over 12 would be charged full adult price, and kids and babies under five would be......what? ....free?

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          Don't be silly.
                                          http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

                                          1. re: wolfe

                                            Heh. HEH. (((BIGGRIN)))

                                  4. re: ipsedixit

                                    Oh yeah, I've never been to one. I can't think of any actually. If I'm paying that much money, I want to be lazy and have my food brought to me. Babies don't belong in high end dining. I was thinking in terms of the OP type restaurants.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      There are many buffets where they will bring the food to you. In fact, there are buffets where you order off the menu. Win, win!

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Dare I ask what to tip when buffet food is brought to me? I'm just kidding in case anyone thinks otherwise and it becomes a tipping thread. That seemed to be a good reason to have kids--having them bring food to me when they get older.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          I've seen people in one particular 'ordinary' buffet order what I thought was 'traditional' ordering, but then the waitress went up and got the food from the buffet. I always wondered at the time if they were paying restaurant prices for buffet foods. And I wondered if they realized the waitress was bringing them food off the buffet.

                                          I guess I just didn't know what was going on. But I still don't get it, why don't people just go up and get their own food. Let me count the whys....

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            Dare I ask what to tip when buffet food is brought to me?
                                            ______________________________________

                                            I tip as I would at a non-buffet.

                                            And, just to clarify, when I say that there are buffets where there is table, waiter service, it's usually food that's ordered off the menu and cooked "a la minute" and not simply plated from a steam table.