Would You Pay a "Baby Tax" at Restaurants? - FamilyEducation

Would You Pay a "Baby Tax" at Restaurants?

December 01,2011

What would you do if your favorite restaurant started charging a "baby tax" for bringing your young child when you go out to eat, even if he wasn't eating the food? Would you pay it? Or stop patronizing that restaurant?

Cosmo's, an eatery in London, has started charging parents about $5 if they bring their young child out to eat with them, regardless of whether or not the child actually eats off the menu or sits in one of their high chairs.

In fact, in several cases, the baby has done nothing but sit in the mother's lap, but the check still included an extra $5 charge.

Amidst the uproar from angry parents, Cosmo's did issue an apology on their website stating that the "Minimum Charge Policy" was for toddlers who ate, but not as much as an older child, and assured customers that brought in their infants would not be charged unless their child ate.

In issues like this, sometimes it's hard to see both sides of the story until you start reading the comments from other readers. I assumed a child tax of any kind would anger most (if not all) parents.

For example, one parent for the tax pointed out that some parents bring outside food into the restaurant to feed their child-- in which case, they believed the restaurant had a right to charge for the child. But another parent against the tax retorted that she breastfed her child whenever she went out-- was that considered bringing outside food in, too?

(While laws are in place to protect a mother from being kicked out of a public place while breastfeeding, I can only imagine the uproar from parents if a restaurant considered breast milk an "outside food." Yikes!)

But what surprised me the most was the amount of parents who weren't opposed to the baby tax.

As one mom pointed out, baby's often make a mess for the wait staff to clean up. Or they end up eating the restaurants food (although in my opinion, if the baby is eating off the mother's plate, it shouldn't count as an extra meal. What the mother does with her meal is up to her-- it just means less leftovers to bring home!)

Or the baby cries and disrupts the other patrons.

Or the stroller is in the way of the wait staff.

The list goes on. And according to many people, including parents, this is grounds for additional charges.

This restaurant is the one making the headlines, this isn't an isolated incident. Several restaurants, including ones in the U.S., offer "adults-only" brunches, kid-free zones, and as is the case for one restaurant, outright bans children under 6.

So, parents, what do you think? Is it appropriate for a restaurant to impose a baby tax, presumably for the "inconvenience" an infant imposes on the establishment? Or is this discrimination against babies and also, their mothers?

Not being a parent myself, it's not fair for me to judge. So, tell me your thoughts!