I had a dining experience on the weekend that has left me a little perplexed and I’d love to hear your thoughts. I had something to celebrate and I wanted to celebrate with those nearest and dearest to me. I took the time to pick a restaurant that I loved; somewhere I had been before and knew the dining experience would be good for my guests. I often get asked to recommend restaurants given it’s the industry that I work in, so when I’m booking for my own crew I want to know that it is somewhere delicious, and is going to provide a great experience that they’re all going to love.
I did the right thing and booked in advance, advised on numbers, and advised that we would have two children, a toddler and a baby. Now I don’t have my own children, but many of my friends and family do, and I thought this restaurant to be family friendly. It has open spaces and it was for Saturday lunch, so I thought it would be a perfect spot! When I booked, there wasn’t any note made about menu options for kids, not even when I asked for a high chair. So…. I thought kids wouldn’t be a problem, but boy was I wrong….
When we arrived, one glance at the menu showed that there really wasn’t much on there that was kid friendly. Because we were a group over 7, we were locked into a set menu, which again was totally fine. Upon asking if we could opt out for the children at the table (what parent wants to pay $59 a head for kids that won’t eat much anyway) they said yes. But they offered nothing that I would call child friendly on the menu.
No problems, have had that happen before, we shall just ask the waitress if they can whip something up; a bowl of fries, something, anything… but nada. The kitchen advised they had nothing available, except for a fancy fried chicken dish that was on the menu for nearly $40 a plate. This resulted in a very uncomfortable moment for the family member who had children, and for others at the table, as she felt they had to leave because there is nothing suitable on the menu for her children.
This whole experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth…. Not only was it super uncomfortable to have a guest and someone I care about be made to feel crummy and ostracised, and have to leave the venue, but also from the restaurants perspective they didn’t try to cater to this diner at all….
Now I’m not talking a fine-dining establishment, or somewhere they advise you that they are not children friendly, I’m talking about a casual lunching destination. This venue then lost their profits for one adult on a set menu, drinks, and the children’s meals, and also caused the uncomfortable situation of my friend having to go somewhere else to feed her children at 1:30pm on a Saturday afternoon; this is beyond ridiculous. And sadly, this is a restaurant that I will probably never visit again, on top of not advising any of my other friends or clients to go there.
I know that all restaurants are not geared towards being child friendly. I don’t have children and I often like to dine where there are none, but when it is not made obvious on booking a big group that they will do nothing to cater to some smaller mouths to feed, that makes me a bit cross. Has customer service completely gone bonkers that we can’t even manage a bowl of chips?
Just my two cents
Love to hear your thoughts, KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: