Should babies be at high-end restaurants? Should restaurants give rain checks when your sitter cancels?

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A chef created an uproar when he tweeted asking if parents should be bringing a baby to a high-end restaurant. You can watch the story on the Today show clip above or read the AP summary below.

From The Associated Press:

“CHICAGO — A chef at a high-end restaurant in Chicago has stirred up quite a controversy after sending out a Tweet asking, in short, what he should do when a baby disrupts other diners.”

“Chef and owner of one of the world’s top restaurants, Grant Achatz, sent out the Tweet Saturday night after a couple brought their 8-month-old to his restaurant Alinea.”

“Instead of traditional reservations, Alinea offers a ticketed system, where diners must pay between $210 and $265 up front for the tasting-menu-only dinner (the price does not include tax, tip or beverages). The restaurant does not accept walk-ins,” Today.com’s Tracy Saelinger wrote.”

“The couple said their babysitter cancelled on them at the last minute and they were given no choice but to bring their child to the eatery that charges customers before they enter the door.”

I think it’s important to note: The parents had a babysitter who cancelled on them at the last minute. The parents had already paid more than $210 to hold the reservation for that night. They would have LOST that money had they not gone to the restaurant.

I think most people, even these parents, would agree that under normal circumstances babies should not be in a high-end restaurant. However, if a restaurant is going to charge you more than $200 up front then I think there needs to be some other recourse than the parents just losing a large amount of money if their sitter cancels.

It seems to me that the parents made a good faith effort to have a sitter, and the restaurant could have improved the situation for all their high-paying patrons by offering the parents a rain check.

I think when the hostess saw them walk in with a baby she should have said, can we offer you a rain check until you can get a sitter? Now you can’t force them to take it unless the chef has a policy about no babies, but I bet they would have taken the rain check in a flash. They want to enjoy their night out and their $250 tasting menu. Offering the rain check would have solved both problems: No noisy guest in the dining room and the parents wouldn’t haven’t lost a large sum of money through no fault of their own.

I think the restaurant would be wise to keep a wait list for cancellations who they could call to fill a table if something like that happens. If my hairdresser does it, why couldn’t a restaurant?

I understand the chef doesn’t want to lose money on the table and wants to give his other diners the best possible experience, and I think a rain check and wait list would have solved the problem.

So no, in most cases babies don’t belong in high-end dining rooms, but high-end restaurants need to also be thoughtful of their high-paying patrons – all of them, even the ones with babysitters who flake out.

What do you think: Should the parents have just “eaten” the loss and stay at home? Should they have tried with the baby? Should the restaurant have offered a rain check or maybe a take-out version when they showed up with the baby?

89 comments Add your comment

missnadine

January 14th, 2014
9:10 pm

If the restaurant does not have high-chairs, then NO. There are plenty of other decent dining choices. I was always aware of this. I realized that people may be on a special date, and/or have saved up $$ to get away from the kids, so I feel other parents should show the same courtesy.

I really like that some restaurants have instituted an 18-year and up policy.

missnadine

January 14th, 2014
9:11 pm

also… this could be an excuse. If a restaurant bends the rules this time, they will have set a precedent.

Cheez Whiz is cheese peeing?

January 14th, 2014
9:20 pm

I am tired of these “parents with kids who don’t want the responsibility of raising kids” stories. If you can’t deal with the EVERYTHING that goes with raising Nichiren, then DON’T raise them. If it is a hassle, well then, welcome to parent hood and shut your grunt hole.

Also, shame on the blogger for another idiotic blog. You continue to copy and paste the work of others. It is so very weak.

chris

January 14th, 2014
9:22 pm

(the other) Rodney

January 14th, 2014
10:11 pm

Simple answer – no. Babies, or toddlers, should not be at high-end restos.

April Mae

January 14th, 2014
10:22 pm

The point of a pre-pay is to ensure that people show up for this very exclusive dinner (there’s a months-long waiting list). Life happens – babysitters cancel, people get sick, people get stuck in traffic or sent on an unplanned business trip. You deal with life as it happens, and sometimes that means losing some money.

At first I wondered why they didn’t already have a no-kids policy at Alinea, then I realized they probably thought it would never be necessary. Little did they know how insistent some folks are on bringing their kids!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 14th, 2014
10:36 pm

I suspect that this rarely happens and they could have discreetly handled it by offering this one person to come back another night and all would have been happier.

Misty

January 14th, 2014
10:39 pm

No, babies shouldn’t be at high-end restaurants and no, they shouldn’t offer rain-checks! If parents are going to spend that kinda money, then they should make sure that they have a back-up plan in place.

Misty

January 14th, 2014
10:40 pm

But if they offered this one person/couple a rain check, then they would have in turn told their friends who would in turn tell their friends, etc.

Ed

January 14th, 2014
11:20 pm

Check the baby at coat check. Problem solved.

Atlanta Mom

January 14th, 2014
11:35 pm

I think there is a big difference between an 8 month old and a 2 year old. I have no problem with the 8 month old, she will not be running around the restaurant and being generally disruptive. A 2 year old is a whole different story.
I do like Ed’s solution.

HB

January 15th, 2014
12:57 am

The restaurant runs on a ticket system similar to a performance or sports event. What if they had tickets to the opera? Would it be acceptable to take a baby to the performance and remain as the baby cries (chef said he could gear the baby crying in the kitchen)? $500 + tips for a table that cannot be filled by walk-ins is too much to expect the restaurant to absorb as a loss through a rain check.

I’m generally pretty cool with babies being in semi-upscale restaurants as long as parents quickly take them out if they get fussy, but this is a seriously upscale tasting menu in a small, quiet setting (only 80 diners). As someone said above — life happens. They should have given the tickets to friends.

beth

January 15th, 2014
1:48 am

No, babies should not be at high end restaurants. They should have forfeited their tickets or given them to friends. I understand that they paid $265… but so did everyone else.

motherjanegoose

January 15th, 2014
6:31 am

NO! and NO! ( my shortest post ever?)

MissMary

January 15th, 2014
6:34 am

Oh boy… Hate to be so negative, but, NO. At least for this scenario, no children. I certainly can see the parents were probably be quite upset for losing money if they did not go. That said, in this case I think the parents should have thought more about all the other folks that were going to be there…
It saddens me, though, that this story has received such coverage (not meaning you TWG) when there is so many, seemingly more important issues out there. To quote a friend of mine, “This is such a first-world problem.”

malleesmom

January 15th, 2014
7:13 am

agree with MJG.

Mother of 2

January 15th, 2014
8:16 am

I have to agree with the other posters. I think this couple should have thought about the consequences before they made the reservation. Perhaps making such expensive plans isn’t a good idea when using an unreliable sitter.

Derwin0

January 15th, 2014
8:19 am

As the restaurant did not have a no-children policy, they’re stuck with having the kid be with the parents. If the chef really didn’t want the kid there, then give the parents a refund.

xxx

January 15th, 2014
8:41 am

Perfect example of the self absorbed, me-first society we have created. I think the parents are just incompetent.

Lynn43

January 15th, 2014
8:46 am

NO, NO, AND NO. Crying, misbehaving children should never be carried to places where adults are trying to have a retreat from daily life-concerts, opera, church, and restaurants, etc. I’m 70 years old, raised 3 children and 3 grandchildren, and a retired teacher. I love children and continue to work with them, but adults shouldn’t have to “put up with” other peoples children who are not disciplined. I never took my children to places where they would be a distraction to others, but waited until they were old enough to act in an acceptable way.

Bobby Sue

January 15th, 2014
8:49 am

Why would anyone spend that much for a meal in any restaurant??

Good Grief

January 15th, 2014
8:53 am

“As the restaurant did not have a no-children policy”

That’s the problem with our entitlement attitude, self absorbed society – everything must be spelled out in detail for the dumbmasses. Even then people find loopholes and excuses why the rules don’t apply specifically to them. Really tired of there are always “exception to the rule” excuse.

yuki

January 15th, 2014
8:55 am

I would be really annoyed at losing that much money, but I would not have tried to bring the baby to such a high end place. I don’t even like bringing my 2 year old to casual restaurants sometimes because I know she might act up. If they can afford to pay that much for a meal, I would think either they could have found other arrangements or just taken the loss. I’m sure they knew or should have know the restaurant’s policy if you can’t make the reservation.

Techmom

January 15th, 2014
9:00 am

I’m curious if the baby was making a fuss or if chef is just so far removed from normal society that he forgets children do exist. A restaurant with such strict policies (prepaid with no waitlist) is bound to have run into this. If they really don’t want kids, then they should say no one under a certain age is allowed.

buckheadgirl

January 15th, 2014
9:12 am

Why didn’t one of the parents tell the other to go ahead and enjoy the meal with a friend while they stayed at home (or wherever) with their child? Win, win in my book since you are doing something nice for your spouse along with the friend and being a real parent to your child.

Good Grief

January 15th, 2014
9:15 am

I would have been mortified to make even the local news with this fodder, is there no embarassment of shame for people anymore? Does social media and / or mass media have people so disconnected with what is right and wrong that we just don’t care anymore? This will snowball into other so called high end venues giving these people free meals looking for publicity. Everyone wins in these situations and these stories keep making news.

Road Scholar

January 15th, 2014
9:16 am

Unruly children should not be allowed in not only high end restaurants but all restaurants! You chose to have a baby…responsibility goes with that! If the baby or child acts up, you should pack up and leave. Yes you have a right to go out and enjoy a meal…so does everyone else. I have seen a couple bring their child, he gets unruly, and they ask for their meal, which has not been delivered to the table yet, be packaged up to go. How hard is it?

Why do parents (and I use that term loosely) let their child run rampant in a restaurant? Maybe it is cute…for a short time.. but it is rude and uncalled for. Have you been hit in the head by a child in a neighboring booth? Come up and try to take stuff off your table? Usually the parent is face down in their martini!

If you have children, and have not taken the time to teach them manners or how to act in public, then I have no support for you. Get a sitter! Sometimes the parent itself needs a sitter!

Maybe restaurants could supply you a reference if you need one!?

RJ

January 15th, 2014
9:48 am

They should’ve either refunded the money or given a rain check. I wouldn’t throw away that much money either. An 8 month old isn’t running around the restaurant. Poor planning in my opinion on the part of management. Don’t expect people to do anything. Create a plan and follow it.

ugadawg2005

January 15th, 2014
9:53 am

If the restaurant wants a policy, it needs to have one. If this is a ticketed event, I don’t get a rain check for the Falcons game if my babysitter cancels, so I don’t get one for this either.

With that said, a lot of this depends on the kid. About 6 years ago I took my daughter (now 8) to Morton’s in Buckhead to celebrate a special occasion (which I consider semi-upscale). We went early (right when they opened) so as to not interfere with the dinner crowd, and her behavior was always so good we knew she wouldn’t be a problem. The staff loved her, she was great, and everything went superb. I could see the look on their faces when we walked in, but they fell in love with her. She was right in her element and acted like she ate there everyday. However, I would never take my boys there. I won’t even want to take them to Taco Mac.

Denise

January 15th, 2014
10:38 am

No on the money back and maybe on the rain check. Can’t make exceptions for people who consider their kids “well-behaved”, either. 8 month olds may not be running around the restaurant but they can be fussy and not want to sit still on the parent’s lap or in the high chair.

I agree with buckheadgirl. The best case scenario – to cause the least amount of confusion for all involved – is to allow one parent to go with a friend (who hopefully offered to pay at least the tip). Sometimes you have to suck it up.

You may think I don’t have a dog in the fight because I don’t have kids but I have been stood up by friends whose sitter cancelled and have had to decide whether to go alone, not go, or find someone to fill in. The pain is that the friend with the child care issue usually doesn’t tell you until the last minute because they are trying all their options so finding a stand-in is often difficult. I don’t like to go places alone so I have on several occasions had to sit events out because of someone else’s child care issues. I’m facing that a lot here in TX because most of my friends (pretty much all but one) have kids. Fortunately they have husbands that are true partners and co-parents so with notice there is no real problem with connecting and going places.

HB

January 15th, 2014
10:41 am

According to more detailed articles, the baby was crying and other diners were angry. So what if the kid isn’t running around?

As for refunds/rain checks, pre-paid is the restaurant’s business model, and people know that and agree to it when they purchase the tickets. I just don’t see a cancelled sitter as an excuse that warrants special consideration. A health emergency? Yeah, it’d be nice if the restaurant refunded for that, but I wouldn’t expect it. Major accident/disaster that shut down major routes to the restaurant preventing many guests from arriving? May deserve consideration. But a cancelled sitter? To me, that’s incredibly far down the list of possible refund-worthy excuses. I think that’s the equivalent of getting stuck with a last minute project at work that prevents you from going. Tough!

I’m generally not a fan of policies outright banning babies or children. I think the restaurant should state in their sales policy that 1) they reserve the right to ask anyone disruptive to leave, regardless of age (and then actually do so) and 2) ALL individuals in the party must have a ticket (charge full price for each baby). Those two rules would probably keep most kids out while making an (albeit difficult) allowance for quiet babies to be brought in with the clear expectation that they remain quiet or leave.

Don't Tread

January 15th, 2014
10:59 am

Should parents have a better Plan B than to bring a screaming baby to a restaurant?

Jmb

January 15th, 2014
11:06 am

Why don’t restaurants consider a baby room where parents are charged a fee for a sitter?

Kate

January 15th, 2014
11:16 am

Babies and toddlers don’t belong in high end restaurants. Period. They don’t “misbehave”. They just behave as they’re supposed to at that age. It’s inevitable they will occasionally cry, fuss, yell or otherwise do things that create disturbances. A few decades ago, parents knew that. It would never have occurred to anyone to bring a baby to a nice restaurant.

Sore subject for me, because I had most of a very expensive meal ruined recently because some dimwit parents at the next table brought their infant. The baby wasn’t unhappy or temporarily fussy. He let out an ear piercing scream every 3-4 minutes for a couple of hours, because that’s what babies at that age do just because they’re delighted to find they can. This was a very expensive anniversary dinner we’d planned for a month.

Bottom line – a parent’s desire to not waste $200 on an unused dinner reservation doesn’t trump my right not to have my $200 dinner ruined. Your kid, your life, your problem. If it’s that important, it’s your responsibility to have a back up plan in case the babysitter cancels. (The same is true of any other personal issue – car trouble, a crisis at work, etc.) It’s not the restaurant’s responsibility, nor that of other diners, to make adjustments for you.

Real Life

January 15th, 2014
11:21 am

Absolutely not. This is not the atmosphere for an infant or small children. People are paying not just for the food but for the ambience. In this instance the baby was crying, disturbing others paying the high prices commanded by this restaurant. The restaurant has strict policies about bookings and cancellations so it is up to diners to have a contingency plan if something goes awry.
And TWG did leave out the part regarding the infant’s crying. That detail was in all the articles I have seen about this, but this blog only selected the parts to make us feel sorry for the parents.
Parents need to learn that not all places are suitable for their children. Some places simply are not family friendly. Parents of small children are not more important that the others who have also paid a fortune to dine in that restaurant.

missnadine

January 15th, 2014
11:38 am

As usual you twisted this around and didn’t show the part where the baby would NOT stop crying.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/01/top-chefs-crying-baby-a-recipe-for-outrage/

Mom of 3

January 15th, 2014
11:42 am

No!No!No! And they don’t belong in the movie theater, either. Good grief, all you selfish parents out there! When you have a baby, you have to give up a few things for a while. If you don’t want to do that, then don’t have children.

xxx

January 15th, 2014
11:52 am

Lynn43:

I find it hilarious that you think children don’t belong in church. I agree, in fact, no one should be subjected to that type of abuse.

Tim

January 15th, 2014
12:33 pm

GET A CLUE, A little crying does not ruin a meal. The selfish people are those that think parents should not take their children with them. For a child to learn how to behave in a situation they have to be in the situation. If you have that much money for entertainment allow the free entertainment form the kids or just stay HOME. Those of you who are sticks in the mud could try donating your money to a worthy cause instead of your belly.

HB

January 15th, 2014
1:00 pm

Tim, a wailing 8-month-old is not old enough to learn from the experience, and yes, it does ruin a fine dining experience. Expecting 80 other people who paid for a high-end experience to be ok with you keeping a wailing baby in their midst is the epitome of selfish. Go to a livelier, noisier, pretty good place like the Cheesecake Factory instead.

catlady

January 15th, 2014
1:06 pm

No one has mentioned this, but why have only one sitter on the list? We NEVER went out when the kids were small to anything nicer than McDonalds, but as a teen I was a sitter and I did a few “emergency” fill-ins when someone’s sitter cancelled, IF the parents had already established a relationship with me. Last minute, I would expect a little extra.

If you can afford to go out for that kind of an evening, I am sure you have enough money to develop a list of suitable sitters. You should have several if you go out much.

I don’t think other diners should ever be subjected to misbehaving adults or children when they go out for even just a nice evening. That means no drunk men making obscene comments about other diners, too!

@ Tim

January 15th, 2014
1:18 pm

You are the one that needs to GET A CLUE. Your statement – “For a child to learn how to behave in a situation they have to be in the situation.” Babies cannot be trained to behave – crying is their only form of communication. Your retort – “If you have that much money for entertainment allow the free entertainment form the kids or just stay HOME.” That rule goes both ways Timbo!

Sorry, but the ONE couple with a crying baby has no more rights than ALL the other dining guests that are following the basic rules of intellect and civility.

Your final demand – “Those of you who are sticks in the mud could try donating your money to a worthy cause instead of your belly.” YES, those parents with the crying baby could donate their money too or better yet add it to their precious infant’s future fund.

Tim GET A CLUE !!!

missnadine

January 15th, 2014
1:42 pm

@catlady – I agree 100%. I always had a few sitters on a list, and would pay extra for unscheduled events. I also had an agreement with several neighbors and would take their kids in a pinch, as they would mine. If these folks had enough money to spend that much on dinner, they should have had an extra $20 and hour for a sitter. Shame on them – I think they are using this as an excuse because they just didn’t want a sitter in the first place.

I think as a parent this gets me even madder as I always tried to be considerate of others, Did my kids cry and/or have meltdowns? Of course! Did I just ignore these meltdowns? No. Would I ever subject diners at a fancy restaurant to my crying child? Never. I realized a long time ago that the world revolved around more than me and my children. I think this type of entitled mentality is getting worse.

missnadine

January 15th, 2014
1:49 pm

Scotty

January 15th, 2014
1:57 pm

As someone who has been the the restaurant in question, I can say it is absolutely NOT child friendly. The whole restaurant atmosphere is set up to be an experience that accompanies the food experience. A crying 8 month old would absolutely have been disruptive and ruined that experience for all of the other patrons, who also paid upwards of $200 for their night out. Alinea is very upfront about their prepaid, no refund ticket policy. People wait months for tickets to this restaurant, and with good reason. It’s extremely selfish of the parents in question to think that their night out trumped everyone else’s in the restaurant. If their sitter cancelled, then that is unfortunate, but honestly, why didn’t they have a back-up sitter? When my children were that age (they’re old enough to stay by themselves now) I never would have dreamed of not having multiple sitters on my speed dial, including at least one that was usually available on a couple hours notice. The restaurant shouldn’t have to have a “no children” policy because it should be common sense that a 3-star Michelin restaurant is NOT suitable for anyone under 18. If the couple in question’s sitter really DID cancel, the couple should have stayed home and depending on when their sitter cancelled (i.e. – if they had 2 or 3 hours notice) they could have tried to either find another sitter or sell their tickets online. Tickets would have been scooped up in no time.

SEE

January 15th, 2014
3:04 pm

Since when should children not be allowed at church? Church is not there for YOUR personal enjoyment…it is there as a place of worship to God. Even the Bible states that children need to be a part of that. Perhaps you remember the rebuke of Jesus to his disciples for turning the children away.

aon

January 15th, 2014
3:10 pm

NO! Good-gawd, what are we coming too!??

aon

January 15th, 2014
3:13 pm

As a matter of fact, babies belong where babies are catered too. End of story. Their behavior is unpredictable and until they can understand how to behave they need to be at home or in an environment suited to crying children and hysterical, self-centered parents. I attended a memorial service this past weekend and the pastor had to ask a family to remove their crying baby. And we wonder why children are they way they are today. The acorn does not fall too far from the tree.

Jared

January 15th, 2014
3:43 pm

If the parents had tickets to a falcon’s game and their sitter cancelled, would you expect the falcons to give the parents a rain check or tickets to another game? no, stuff happens, sorry…

a reader

January 15th, 2014
3:51 pm

While I think a restaurant is perfectly within its rights to have a no refund / pre-paid policy, I really hope that this is and remains a rarity. I am *so* sick of the pre-pay / no refund world we are moving more and more in to. Flights, now hotels and rental cars, and now food? Geezy. People get sick, have emergencies, or even non-emergencies. A little good will by businesses would go a long long way (instead of the stuck up attitude of “we have a wait list months long”).

While I agree that small children don’t belong at upscale dining spots, I really hate the proliferation of the attitude of pre-pay / snobbyness that this restaurant embodies.

Tim

January 15th, 2014
4:01 pm

IF A RESTURANT DOES NOT WANT MY GRANDDAUGHTER I WILL NOT GO TO THE RESTRANT. IT IS A PLACE TO EAT, KIDS ARE GREAT AND OCCASIOAL NOISE IS LIFE. I STAND BY WHAT I STATED EARLIER STUFFED SHIRTS GET A LIFE!!!

aon

January 15th, 2014
4:04 pm

@Tim. And I’m sure they don’t want you with that selfish attitude.

Scotty

January 15th, 2014
4:20 pm

@a reader : I’m not sure their policy of no refunds / prepay is out of a lack of good will (though I do agree that largely, good will by businesses would go a long way in this world). They have a months long waiting list because they are one of the most sought after restaurants in the country (and frankly, the world…and that is not an exaggeration!). The ticket system is how they’re able to manage the demand and to ensure that people show up and don’t cancel their reservations.

I’m perplexed by the parental mentality that says, “If I can go there, my kids should be able to go as well.” There are venues that are just not child friendly and bringing a child means that no one will have a good time. The parents won’t, the other patrons won’t, and the child certainly won’t. Is $200 really worth a night of complete discomfort for everyone involved? I also second what others have said: if this were a concert, play, sporting event, plane trip, or any other kind of ticketed event: would you really expect to get a refund if your sitter cancelled so you couldn’t go? It’s unfortunate that the parents would have been out that amount of money, but things out of our control happen and fudge our plans sometimes.

motherjanegoose

January 15th, 2014
4:37 pm

@buckheadgirl ^^^^ LIKE. That was a wonderful idea.

FYI we went to Movie Tavern a few weeks ago. I do not care for their food, so we did not order anything to eat. Just a Coke. I did read that no children under 16 are allowed to attend a movie without an adult over 21. I am thinking this is perhaps because they serve alcohol? There were no kids at the SAVING MR. BANKS movie. I am wondering if it is because it could be expensive to take a family of four to that theater and order food too. It would also be awkward to listen to your kids whine about having food, as they see everyone else eating.

a reader

January 15th, 2014
4:40 pm

Please note I am in now way arguing for bringing kids to a place like this (I’d actually argue for adults to stay away too, but that’s another story). I’m just saying there should have been a better way to resolve the issue.

I guess I’m just wishing for more good will in general. If I have a plane flight, I now have travel insurance. In fact, I have it for all travel now (stays, car rentals, etc.) and it annoys me that there’s not a way to give up ones spot when there are people waiting. It just ups the profit for the business, which I know is perfectly within their rights to get both the $ for the cancelled spot plus the money for the resold spot, but I just wish for a bit of a gentler world.

If folks are waiting (for a show, for a meal), then let them know they can have it and all are happy.

Just because you can justify a policy doesn’t mean it’s right or deserved or kind. I just would like there to be more kindness.

Matt

January 15th, 2014
4:44 pm

Give the baby enough beer, wine, and/or other forms of alcohol to make it drunk and pass out. That will solve the problem of the crying baby.

Denise

January 15th, 2014
4:45 pm

Noise at Applebee’s where I’m paying $20 is fine. Noise where I’m spending $250/person is not. No one would think to bring a kid to a fancy fundraiser, the opera, or even a business dinner. Why? Because it is inappropriate. There are just places that are inappropriate for children. We know this. Everyone knows this. We just “forget” when we have plans that we don’t want to change and expect that others are okay “just this one time” with our “well-behaved kid” being somewhere she has no business.

And for the record I don’t want to deal with a drunk and disorderly adult any more than I want to deal with a fussy baby or unruly child.

motherjanegoose

January 15th, 2014
4:48 pm

@ a reader….you wonder why there are more places with a prepay policy? Perhaps because so many people have no problem backing out of things they committed too or changing their minds.

Your comment made me laugh.

I had a contract with a midwestern state that had a $500.00 cancel clause. My contact left the group and passed the contract to someone else, where it got buried. . They were very surprised that I told them they did in fact have to pay the $500.00, even though no one advertised for the venue and thus no one was planning to come. No one even knew about it except me. I had declined other work for that date. The opposite side is true…what if my husband decided to book us a cruise on that date and I decided not to go to the meeting, when they had 300 people signed up and paid to attend?

If you owned a catering company and ordered/prepared food for 100 people, then the group realized that they were only having 50 people…would you forgo charging them for 50 people ( say at $30 per person) ? If so, you probably would not be in business very long.

motherjanegoose

January 15th, 2014
4:49 pm

@ Denise ^^^^ LIKE!

aon

January 15th, 2014
4:57 pm

Here’s a thought. The parents knew in advance that there was a steep cancellation fee, make the babysitter pay the $200 for backing out at the last minute.

HB

January 15th, 2014
5:00 pm

I think the chef was kind. He didn’t kick them out, but he did put the question out to the twitterverse afterwards about how to best handle the situation to be fair to all diners and the restaurant. He also seems hesitant to ban children entirely. I think the couple was very unkind for bringing the baby and putting both the restaurant staff and other diners in an unpleasant situation. That was not right or deserved or kind.

a reader

January 15th, 2014
5:14 pm

Please re-read what I wrote: it annoys me that there’s not a way to give up ones spot when there are people waiting.

I’m not talking about losing the money. I’m talking about double dipping. You charge a cancellation fee (or keep the full amount that was pre-paid) AND you can now charge someone else full freight for same spot. Yes, it’s allowed. But wouldn’t it truly be more gracious and kind to find out the individual circumstance and see if it’s necessary to do all the time?

It’s not a loss of money that I’m arguing about. I do understand business. Rather, it’s the ethics of making double off of someone’s misfortune (and note, I’m not necessarily talking about this case, but rather the ability to make individual judgement calls and be kind and gracious)).

HB

January 15th, 2014
5:25 pm

I do agree there are times it seems wrong to double dip, and I try to take my business where I feel like the company isn’t looking for ways to screw me (that’s one reason I usually fly Southwest). In this case, though, it sounds to me like the restaurant is being fair in its cancellation policy and is not double dipping. It’s a small, specialized operation, so I don’t have a problem with their choice not to manage walk-ins or a stand-by list.

Scotty

January 15th, 2014
5:27 pm

But if the restaurant made an exception for this couple because their sitter cancelled, they’d have to honor it for any other couple that claimed their sitter cancelled as well when they couldn’t be bothered to show up for their ticketed time.

I do agree that it’s unfortunate that the business mentality in this country is to essentially double charge people for misfortune, but I’m not sure what a solution would be. It’s asking a lot of time, work, and loss on the part of the company to figure out refunds and replacement tickets, not to mention it is unfair to others waiting to get tickets for the same things that can’t now because others couldn’t be bothered to show up or go to something when they said they would. This couple has a decently legitimate excuse of a cancelled sitter, but there are plenty of people that make reservations places, buy tickets to things, and then just don’t bother showing up.

And I agree with the poster who says that the chef / restaurant was kind in this case. The chef could have told the couple to leave, or charged them for another meal ticket (since they brought an extra person), but instead they were allowed to stay and eat their meal. And where was the couple’s kindness or consideration? Their money was more important to them than the fact that they disrupted an entire restaurant of people and ruined the dining experiences of many others who paid just as much (if not more) than they did for their meal. Kindness and consideration goes both ways. I don’t think businesses can be expected to be kind and considerate until their patrons and customers are as well.

Barbara

January 15th, 2014
5:30 pm

The dingo ate your baby.

Denise

January 15th, 2014
5:36 pm

@a reader – that would be very good for business and I think it would be something to be considered depending upon the amount of notice given for the cancellation. One day? Sure, no cancellation fee IF it can be rebooked, and count on honesty on the restaurant’s part. One hour? Absolutely not; no one is sitting by the phone hoping for that call. It would also be a benefit to potential customers to be put on a waiting list for “next available” in case of cancellations sort of like a doctors office.

Derwin0

January 15th, 2014
6:02 pm

All the people talking about Falcon games should really check out the Ga Dome policy before speaking. The Ga Dome allows children in for free if they sit in the parents lap.

@ @ @

January 15th, 2014
11:15 pm

@ Derwin0 … A baby would be miserable with the noise and chaotic atmosphere at a Falcons game. No different than the weeks old baby I saw at a Braves game on a very hot Saturday afternoon game. Is your social life so much more important than the comfort and security of your infant child?

@ Tim … You and the family just need to stick with the Golden Corral buffet. Let your precious ones bathe in the chocolate fountain for all I care.

@ a reader … Understand completely where you are coming from, but I am afraid we are in for a lot more of this “fee for all”. I hate having to pay for other’s “mistakes” but that seems to be business as usual these days. It is painfully obvious that more and more people feel that they are the exception to the rule. The “you got yours, I better get mine” attitude is socially and politically correct in our uncivilized nation.

missnadine

January 16th, 2014
8:07 am

Doesn’t look like Tim could even read a restaurant’s child policy based on this gem:

IF A RESTURANT DOES NOT WANT MY GRANDDAUGHTER I WILL NOT GO TO THE RESTRANT. IT IS A PLACE TO EAT, KIDS ARE GREAT AND OCCASIOAL NOISE IS LIFE. I STAND BY WHAT I STATED EARLIER STUFFED SHIRTS GET A LIFE!!!

Tim, I will get a life once you learn how to spell, deal?

Mark

January 16th, 2014
8:37 am

Parents either don’t care or don’t realize how rude they are by not watching/disciplining their kids. It makes people hate them.. and their kids. Stay home.

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
8:52 am

I dunno. I don’t think Tim is that off-base. Perhaps worded a little scornfully, but hey that seems to be the norm around here when you don’t agree with someone. He’s not the only one guilty of that here.

Is a young kid at a 5star joint really a problem if he/she behaves? While my son is often rambunctious, he’s actually really good at restaurants. If he’s not, we leave mid-meal and he knows it. I’d have taken him if it were me and likely no one would have even noticed he was there.

Of course if it were me, I also wouldn’t have paid $200+ upfront for a restaurant in the first place…

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
8:54 am

@ Barbara: always love a good Seinfeld ref. Noice!

Tim is a Turd

January 16th, 2014
9:41 am

hockey goalie = Is a young kid at a 5star joint really a problem if he/she behaves?

A baby aka infant is not a young kid!!!!!!!!

That is the problem = people that try to muddy the waters and change the subject for their own benefit. Polite does not cut it with these selfish people, scornful is the only way that they are going to understand the word NO. Polite, respectful people have to get down to that level to make them GET A CLUE.

That crying baby that is the subject of this will be most likely grow up to be just as selfish as the parents.

Michael

January 16th, 2014
9:43 am

Talk about a turn off for that romantic first date: the presence of a baby

Hahahahaha

January 16th, 2014
10:00 am

@ Tim … You and the family just need to stick with the Golden Corral buffet. Let your precious ones bathe in the chocolate fountain for all I care.

Hahahahaha

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
10:52 am

@ “Tim is a Turd”

1) way to play to play the semantics game. I wasn’t changing the subject at all.

2) “scornful is the only way that they are going to understand the word NO” : being scornful to reemphasize your opinion as fact is laughably stupid.

3) Being nasty is the only way to get your point across? OK, fine. The whole point of most of TWG’s articles are to generate discussion and help provide newer parents with advice. You (and a few others) who come on here slinging mud and acting like your opinion is divine providence isn’t being helpful. It’s being a tw@t. You’re acting like the kangaroo mother from the Horton movie.

There’s a “CLUE” for you.

Real Life

January 16th, 2014
11:03 am

We have reached a mindset in this country that parents and children should be accommodated as much as possible–even if it inconveniences other people. Some businesses are simply not child-friendly and we need to accept that as reality. Some business are very child-friendly and we need to accept that as well. This restaurant was not infant- or child-friendly. The parents needed to deal with that and realize that a crying infant was not appropriate there. Sorry, but that is the way it is.
There are appropriate times and places where families with small children should be celebrated and accommodated. But that does not mean that children and infants must be welcomed and tolerated at places that are set up to cater to adults.

Abby

January 16th, 2014
11:25 am

I’ve read all the articles regarding this but am wondering if the parents allowed the baby to continue crying & wailing while they had their meal or if they stepped outside with it until things calmed down.

If this is accurate (taken from Huffington Post) “The baby, as babies tend to do, proceeded to cry, throwing a fit Achatz told Good Morning America he could hear from the kitchen” then I can see why other diners were annoyed.

It’s one thing to say yes or no to allowing children in certain places, but if your child is obviously disrupting/annoying other patrons then one or both of the parents needs to step away with them. It’s about having consideration for others around you – if the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you want the same respect?

hockey goalie is a Turd too

January 16th, 2014
12:03 pm

The truth hurts hockey goalie aka Tim. Crying like a baby There’s a “CLUE” for you.

Deb

January 16th, 2014
12:08 pm

In this case the restaurant should honor rsvp at another time. People should never bring a baby to a highend restaurant. People with children can be so inconsiderate when it comes to their children crying and pitching fits in public.

Deb

January 16th, 2014
12:09 pm

It was your choose to have the little monsters. Don’t impose them on everyone else.

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
12:47 pm

“hockey goalie is a Turd too”, you’re a moron; I am not Tim, nor do I know who he is; I’m simply someone who dares to stand up for someone you were berating.

You’re also a coward; way to hide behind lame insults instead of your name.

C U Next Tuesday.

hockey goalie is a Turd too

January 16th, 2014
1:27 pm

hockey goalie cried … You’re also a coward; way to hide behind lame insults instead of your name.
_______________________________

So, Tim… hockey goalie is your real name? Yep, you are a Turd!

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
4:01 pm

@ ‘turd slinger’:

(sigh)

I’m really not Tim. My name is Thomas (an unfortunate similarity in this case). Hockey Goalie is a handle I always use here and elsewhere.

There is really no talking to you once you’re convinced of something. I got $100 that says you’re divorced or will be withing a couple years. I pity the poor guy you duped into spending time with you on a daily basis.

hockey goalie is a Turd too

January 16th, 2014
4:33 pm

I got $100 that says you’re divorced or will be withing a couple years. I pity the poor guy you duped into spending time with you on a daily basis.
___________________________

Gay men cannot marry in GA, therefore they can’t get divorced Thomas the Turd. No need to feel pity for someone that has a much better life than you’ll ever dream of. Epic failure for Thomas the Turd, bigot!

Keep my $100 – your divorce attorney needs it more!

hockey goalie

January 16th, 2014
4:49 pm

I am a coward and hide behind lame insults instead of my name.

C U Next Tuesday :) is what I call myself all the time!

motherjanegoose

January 16th, 2014
5:40 pm

@@@ @ Tim … You and the family just need to stick with the Golden Corral buffet. Let your precious ones bathe in the chocolate fountain for all I care.

FUNNIEST THING I READ ALL DAY!

We do NOT eat at Golden Corral nor Ryans. I would rather have a Subway. I cannot stand the feeding trough there. I love a nice buffet and am happy to pay $25-$35 for nice food and to eat with people who have some manners…haha!

Kat

January 16th, 2014
10:40 pm

I suspect that if I had plans for such an expensive meal that I would have a back-up sitter plan for my non-refundable meal.

Ganun

January 17th, 2014
12:37 pm

Ganunhub and I went out to dinner at a lovely resturant while on vacation in Florida. The couple that was seated next to us (after we had ordered and received our appetizer) had an infant in arms with them. They apologized to us and asked if they needed to be reseated….of course what could we say without sounding like jerks…we told them no problem we have grandchildren and the baby wouldn’t be an issue. They settled in and went on to explain that the reason they had the baby with them was due to the baby having a fever. They didn’t want to leave her with a sitter when she wasn’t feeling good. WTF!!! I didn’t say it, but I was sure thinking it. Why in the world would you bring a sick baby out to a resturant???? I couldn’t believe it…then all of a suddent the baby projectile vomited. If you are a parent you know how that little mouth opens and formula comes shooting out like a garden hose just came on. Needless to say after dodging the stream I didn’t want my lobster dinner anymore. Some parents don’t think at all.

In the case of the $200 dinner…find a back up sitter, give the tickets away, but DO NOT take a child. Its bad enough when parents have no concern for the health and well being of their child, but to force your baby on others is truly offensive. Our dinner was only in the $70 range..I would have really been pissed at $200 a plate. The other customers should have complained and asked for refunds from the resturant. I would have.