Want to take petty obnoxious revenge on child-unfriendly cafe. suggestions?

(164 Posts)

Before I lay it all out, I am a person that gets frustrated when small children act up in cafes with no interference. I sympathise with the staff who clean up after messy child patrons and if my two make a mess, I usually clean most of it up myself. Today's cafe however had no recourse for their behaviour.

Myself and two mums (I'm a nanny) were at a toddler group this morning, our bunch are very good friends and wanted to play together after the playgroup was finished. We agreed to bring them to a playground nearby but since it was just about lunchtime, we wanted to feed them first an this cafe (we'll call it BC) was between both places.

There were three adults and seven children, ages between 2 and 4, and the staff firstly gave us no assistance in getting our group seated. No high chair was offered for the very small just-turned-2 year old, I found it later in the bathroom. The children's menu was farcical, everything came with chips and although mashed potato was on the menu you couldn't substitute it for the chips without paying extra. My lone vegetarian option was pretty rank too but beside the point. I ordered 3 orange juices for me and my twin mindees, we got tap water and a thimble of squash in it.

The kids were sitting nicely but got a little high spirited in each other's company, started singing. I was mid-drink and about to stop them but the waitress jumped in before them, shushed them quite aggressively and told them they'd have to leave if they didn't be quiet. The older kids clammed up but one of the younger ones got upset and started crying.

They gave us the bums rush from start to finish. My two only left the table to use the bathroom with me in attendance and we were mostly engaged in a quiet game of I spy with one of the older girls. The waitresses kept butting in to clear the kids still mostly full plates and sweeping under and around our table which, honestly, wasmessy but not that bad. Finally the two mothers got fed up and left. I stuck around to finish my crappy salad, and when they asked me if my mindee was finished, I was sufficiently curt with her that they backed off.

In the meantime, the manager had gone outside to talk to the mums, and he told them that three people had walked out and said they wouldn't be back because of the kids. Even if that was true, and I saw nobody leave except the mums, It was a gross overreaction to an admittedly large group of small kids.

To put this in perspective, I had the twins at Yo Sushi the week before (to see the 'food train') where the waitresses were so impressed by their willingness to try yakitori, edemame and eating with chopsticks that they were over every few minutes praising them and gave them free desserts. I take them to loads of eateries and I've never been treated with such contempt.

So, revenge? I'm thinking of taking the mindees there every day after playschool and only ordering tap water and tea. Which we will nurse for three hours while quietly doing a jigsaw on the table.

Pilgit Fri 21-Jun-13 20:06:00

Can understand why you're irritated! truly horrid of them. I wouldn't give them the custom. Just steer clear and stick to where they are welcomed.

SkinnybitchWannabe Fri 21-Jun-13 20:06:23

Was it a cafe chain? Because I would be emailing head office to complain.
I love your revenge idea though wink

KnittedWaffle Fri 21-Jun-13 20:06:46

Or you could do what someone in my area has done and write a scathing review on a local parenting site, prompting the site admin to remove the cafe/restaurant from their listings as 'family friendly'.
This one is directly near a play area too so they'll lose a fair bit of business (my first thought on reading the review was that I wouldn't bother)

Moominsarehippos Fri 21-Jun-13 20:14:23

What a shame! They don't seem to realise that folks with little kiddies are good business!

Just organise a local MN MeetUp (with kids) and see how they cope with 800 toddlers singing 'the wheels on the bus' for hours and hours.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Fri 21-Jun-13 20:18:58

What sort of place is it?

I just think there are places you do and don't take 7 toddlers.

It's a shame they weren't welcoming, but maybe you aren't their target customer and they don't want to end up like starbucks?! I guess that's their choice.

But I'm sorry it was crap and you had a horrible time of it... somewhere nicer next time!

notmyproblem Fri 21-Jun-13 20:19:43

You said the food was crap, the service was worse, and yet you want to go back there again? hmm To accomplish what, exactly?

So they didn't welcome you, so you didn't like it there anyway. So don't go back. They'll go under soon enough if they are that crap.

Honestly, life is too short. Name and shame them on social media if you need to but why waste your time and make a deliberate pain of yourself by going there again? Grow up.

TooMuchRain Fri 21-Jun-13 20:22:05

If it was an independent then cut them slack (unless they really promote themselves as child-friendly) -now is not an easy time to be running a small business and if they see people walking out then they'll panic

TSSDNCOP Fri 21-Jun-13 20:22:37

Why would you go back? You'll only sit there all angry and clenched waiting for inevitable confrontation.

Vote with your feet.

trying not to laugh at the menu comparisons between the Caff and Yo Sushi

josephinebruce Fri 21-Jun-13 20:26:02

Doesn't sound as if they want customers at all!!

Thymeout Fri 21-Jun-13 20:30:05

I'm sorry, but I think you were unrealistic in thinking that a group of 10, 3 adults and 7 small children between 2 and 4, no matter how well behaved, would not have a considerable impact on the other customers.

It was just you and your two mindees in Yo Sushi. Doubt if you'd have had the same welcome if there'd been 10 of you.

As you say, they got a little high spirited and there was mess on the floor under and around the tables, which the waitresses would have needed to sweep up in case anyone slipped on it.

I don't know why you think the manager was lying. I wouldn't have wanted to be eating there at the same time as you.

WeleaseWodger Fri 21-Jun-13 20:37:58

I have to admit I was rolling my eyes thinking riiiight when you described how your high spirited mindees started SINGING and you were just about to get to telling them yourself when the waitress jumped in. Unless she can leap great distances in 2 seconds, then you had time to shush them yourself and didn't.

rockybalboa Fri 21-Jun-13 20:48:50

I wouldn't waste your energy on revenge and just vote with your feet. We've been to two soft play places this week, one smelt really sweaty and menu was mainly chip based but at the other today (less smelly, good cake) the owner cleared DS2's less than half eaten plate of beans on toast away whilst he and I were queuing for a drink for him. My bag was on the table and she didn't clear DS1's plate which was 1/2 eaten. When I raised it, she got really snotty and said "well how did I know you were coming back to the table?". I was so astounded by her snottiness that having ensured that she was going to bring a replacement, I didn't have the enthusiasm to say something to her about how fucking snotty she was and might want to rethink her customer service but I wish I had. Bitch. I just won't go back. She was the spray the table with anti bac spray whilst you're still sitting there and Hoover under your feet type too. Fucking annoying.

thefuturesnotourstosee Fri 21-Jun-13 21:34:21

The worst I ever had was at a Japanese place in London where I took DD when she was 4. They were unwelcoming, seated us in a horrible side room and were really slow with our service when it was obvious that they were quick with everyone else. Understandably dd was getting a bit upset and started asking loudly when the food would come. Eventually a snooty watiress came over (after half an hour waiting) and told her to be patient. I said if it wasn't there in the next 5 minutes we were leaving. It arrived a minute or so later luke warm. We had a few mouth fulls and dd wanted the toilet so I took her and when I came back they'd cleared our table saying they'd assumed we'd finished as "in Japanese culture no one goes to the toilet before they'd finished a meal". I refused to pay and never went back

Bizarrely the best service we've had with children has been from a Japanese resturant in Birmingham (Woktastic behind the library for anyone who knows Birmingham). Always friendly, always willing to help. They strap DS (10 months) into high chair for me and bring little bits they think he'd like to try and also brilliant with DD (7). They do a buffet price so you can pick what you want off conveyer belt and if they don't have something on it they'll do their best to find it for you. Every time I even start tidying up mess produced by DS I get told not to be silly. Nothing but friendliness and kindness towards the children from every member of staff from manager down.

YANBU OP just don't go back. It doesn't sound like they want your custom so take your business elsewhere.

DoJo Fri 21-Jun-13 21:35:17

Why should everywhere be child friendly?

thefuturesnotourstosee Fri 21-Jun-13 21:37:23

Meant to add - there's a restaurant near our house that does not accept anyone under 8. There is actually a sign on the door "No under 8s please". Needless to say we do not frequent the place. At least they're up front about it though.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 21-Jun-13 21:41:34

Leave a crap review on Tripadvisor and never set foot in the place again.

OwlinaTree Fri 21-Jun-13 21:41:36

But they had a children's menu chipping and DoJo. If you don't want people with children in don't have a children's menu.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 21-Jun-13 21:42:16

It's weird that you are talking about revenge.

Revenge for what exactly? The fact that they didn't fall over themselves to welcome you?

You were in a large group. Family friendly does not usually mean groups of ten friendly. However well behaved the children were, they will have had an impact.

Why do you think the manager followed people who were already leaving to tell them that other customers were put off by them when you were still inside? Why wouldn't he have just talked to you? That sounds weird too.

But I can well believe other customers were put off by your group, and if you didn't like the food there anyway, you should be able to get over the non event pretty quickly.

ChunkyPickle Fri 21-Jun-13 21:43:02

I wouldn't give them the business even in revenge. In my experience they'll be giving the same rubbish service to everyone, so they won't be around for long.

ICantRememberWhatSheSaid Fri 21-Jun-13 21:50:19

It sounds like the restaurant were rude but, if I had walked into the restaurant,and seen your party I would have walked right out again. blush

I usually avoid places where there are lots of little kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking kids out to cafes and restaurants, and I used to take mine out all the time. It is just that I prefer places with fewer kids much in the same way I prefer places which don't play loud music.

BTW. If I am out at a cafe and a little kid plays up I would NEVER say anything or give disapproving looks. I am not a judgey pants.

DoJo Fri 21-Jun-13 21:52:40

There's a difference between making a small provision for children and actually wanting them there. Also, they may be happy to have older children who would still want a child's portion but not singing toddlers.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Fri 21-Jun-13 21:54:40

OwlinaTree - yes, and one highchair. One or two children with their parents for a meal, 7 toddlers with 3 adults - not quite the same.

OwlinaTree Fri 21-Jun-13 22:12:25

I was lolling at mn meeting of 800 singing wheels on the bus.

I don't have children but I would be OK with them in a cafe in the daytime. It's when I've paid an arm and a leg for a meal in the evening that noisy children irk me. At 930 toddlers should be in bed not in a posh restaurant ( unless it's wedding when they should stay up till midnight)

Now I will run and hide...

tearsofrobertsmith Fri 21-Jun-13 22:14:00

Oh yikes, it's only food...it's a cafe, not a high end restaurant in the evening where people are having a special night out- people saying if they had seen your group they 'd have left???? OP - just give them a wide bearth in future, leave a review on trip advisor and go on in your head querying why such establishments get away with such poor service. I've eaten in many countries, nowhere but Britain have I seen tiny diners treated with such contempt.
I do believe that people should be able to eat in peace but a cafe with a children's menu is not somewhere to get precious about.
Op - yanbu.

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