Restaurant slammed for charging parents £3 to bring their babies along

A Chinese buffet restaurant has left a number of diners irked after announcing they will now be charging parents £3 if they want to bring their babies along with them. In a social media post made following a recent renovation, Panda Garden, in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, announced a new all-you-can-eat buffet option with a starting price of £9.90 for adults.

However, some customers weren’t exactly thrilled by the additional comment that “high chairs are not free, nor is labour and in fact food”, with the restaurant also now including a new ‘baby service charge’ for children in high chairs. Some have since declared the new rule to be “madness”.

In the divisive Facebook post, spokesperson Xiangling Xiao stated: “We are paying the opportunity cost of reserving a seat for a baby where an adult could have been seated, we are also paying for staff to clean up after their mess.

“Therefore a £3 charge will apply. Whilst we try our best to accommodate younger children and babies into our restaurant, we’d also like to ask that you cooperate with us and respect our rules.

“We hope this post will clear up any misunderstandings that have occurred and bring awareness to our rules. We also take on any advice from customers, more signs will be placed in the restaurant and near the entrance to raise awareness of our rules.”

Taking issue with this fee, one unhappy customer raged: “I would’ve thought the labour/clean up charge would be factored into the price, like everyone else.

“You’re getting charged for a high chair, then states children can’t eat off adult plates. So you’re paying £3 for probably an extra minute of work if you’re efficient at your job. And it’s a buffet…what service are they slowing down apart from drinks and refilling the buffet exactly?

“Do you get charged more as an adult if you spill a drink because it’s more time to clean up? Paying an extra £3 for my kid to sit in a high chair is madness, I also won’t be going – if I do I’ll leave him outside to fend for himself.”

A second person joked, “Are we okay to leave the six-month-old outside in her pram whilst we eat?” while a third chuckled, “My six-month-old will be out there too. With a packed lunch.”

However, others could understand the reasoning behind this rule, with one person remarking: “Hopefully this charge will put people with small children off coming.

“I know me saying this will pee parents off but trying to enjoy your meal with them screaming and running around is not enjoyable, why not take them to little subs or the wacky that’s designed for kids and let the adults enjoy their Chinese.”

Another commented: “I was in there a couple of weeks ago and the mess on the floor that the high chair kids had made was terrible, the young lass was cleaning it up for ages, not all kids make this mess but I can see why they have done this.”

A Panda Garden spokesperson has since given the following statement: “The charge of £3 is not only for the high chair for the babies, many babies who come to our restaurant are eating off the buffet, therefore, we need to put a charge in place as the food is not for free, especially in this day and age.

“Obviously with us being a buffet we have to charge people individually, therefore, the same applies to babies – we can’t have the saying of ‘they ate off my plate’ – if we didn’t have rules in place there would be many arguments occurring.

“You simply cannot pay for one adult and expect two adults to be eating off the buffet as it’s simply not how a buffet works. The same applies here with babies, we’re not an a la carte restaurant.

“We’re also paying staff to clean up babies’ messes after them which is very time-consuming especially during busier times where staff are required elsewhere. This rule will be staying in place as we as a buffet cannot cater or provide free food for anyone.”

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