Restaurant enforces $10 "screaming children surcharge"

Originally published at: Restaurant enforces $10 "screaming children surcharge" | Boing Boing


I don’t eat out anymore since COVID started, but around here it wasn’t so much screaming children as children using tablets playing games at the table with the volume set really high.
I get that it’s a tactic to keep them occupied, but I wish they’d used headphones or put the volume down. The sounds are SO jarring.
Good reminder of how little I miss about eating out!


I suspect folks in Singapore are more likely to accept this kind of social policing, given how their government treats acts like chewing gum in public.
Places in the states that just put up a sign asking parents to keep their kids at the table often find themselves getting trashed online. I wonder if the change has happened because fewer people are complaining, or if fewer people are letting their kids scream in the restaurant.


Just crossed another local eatery off my radar. Dinning out while children run amok is not what I call fun. Especially at the prices that come with the experience…


More restaurants should do this.


I was wondering if any offer the option of a “kids table” with staff to hang out there, basically child care for adults who want to eat out but whose kids haven’t yet learned how to behave in restaurants? It could be like the kids’ table at family Thanksgiving, letting the adults catch up and socialize and the kids have their time, too. Far in a distant corner.
For a fee, of course.
Definitely no one around here does it.
And I imagine people who would pay for that might also be able to afford child care at home, but for big group gatherings, it might be worthwhile. :woman_shrugging:t2:


“Be glad it is just a small fee, and not the police with a cattle prod.”


When our guys were little and we went out, we’d feed the kids at home and just order them desert to come out with our meals. And we ate really fast. It worked out. That said, in restaurants (and airplanes) kid noises don’t actually grate on me that much – but parents who aren’t even trying to keep their kids in line, that drives my blood pressure to 11. Something about “the parents are trying” makes even pretty noisy kids fall into the background.


Literally every “nice”, “halfway decent” restaurant in my neck of the woods: either resembles a big echoey concrete bunker with exposed air ducts and plumbing and no sound baffling, or has background music so loud that everyone must practically shout in order to be heard. Screaming children need not worry.


(I’m 52 but I prefer the kids table (now mostly styled the “cousins’ table”) at family functions – my nieces and nephews – 11 to 34 – are all pretty cool).


And in both cases they’re so dark that you can barely read the menu, amirite?


Me, too. But I also don’t think 11-34 year olds are causing the problems described here.
Your family may differ. :wink:


It seems like a slightly douchey way of going about this. If it were really about other customers’ comfort they could just say “sorry, no kids”, and I think a majority of people – including parents – would appreciate the clarity, even if it put them off going to that restaurant.

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I know of one boutique resort that does that at dinner. Kids under 12? 14? have dinner in the games room with childcare staff, while the dining room is for the adults. Every now and then there will be a mother or more rarely a family that will eat with the littles in the games room, but since the policy is very upfront, it seems to work well.


Hopefully this has the intended effects.

  • Any parents with well-behaved children know that they’re still welcome.
  • Parents with badly behaved children either object to the fee and boycott the location (which is a good outcome for everyone else) or heed the price signal to stay away.
  • Non-parents get a better dining experience all round.

However, the fine might need to be increased in order to act as the correct signal for the diners, so that this fine doesn’t turn into a fee for behaving badly:

I also think that if it was introduced here, there would be loud objections, but only from the people who you’re trying to get rid of in the first place- families who don’t control their kids and expect the world to be a permanent free babysitter and entertainment.


It’s one restaurant… in Singapore, a society which for all we know, has different expectations around food, around children, and around fines and surcharges. Too early to tell whether it even “worked” in that specific context, much less fret about whether this will be the wave of the future.


Exactly. This is how you get Parents of the Year nominees to do shit like: “Waiter, here’s a benjamin. Eric and Donnie Jr., you go make all the fucking noise you want.”

Any fine that avoids other consequences is just a way for rich people to ignore the rules.


Any oyster bar doesn’t seem like a place for kids. Unless they have fish sticks and fries.