Are Baby Surcharges in Restaurants Fair?
December 1, 2011
by Sasha Emmons
A British restaurant has been caught charging a fee for babies, even if they will not be eating and aren’t taking up a spot at the table. Mom Natasha Young bought her infant son to Cosmo, a chain of oriental buffet restaurants, in Croydon, England, and was charged an extra £3 (about $5), despite the fact that she was breastfeeding and holding her baby in her lap. Although she did bring in her stroller, she offered to put it in the car if it was taking up too much space but was informed she’d still need to pay up. Another mother, part of a party of 17, was also made to pay for her 6-month-old, who did not eat the restaurant food, and sat in someone’s lap. The 22,000-square-foot restaurant is Britain’s largest restaurant.
Plus: Is It Okay to Bring a Baby to a Bar?
After the parental outrage ensued, the restaurant posted a statement clarifying that the policy is actually for toddlers, who eat less and should be charged accordingly, and had been misapplied by poorly trained staffers. They promised to apologize to the mothers who were charged.
Plus: Restaurant Bans Children
What do you think: should babies be charged just for being in a restaurant? In general, should eateries be more accommodating of families, or are restaurants not appropriate for small children and the noises and messes they bring?