Should Restaurants Charge Extra for Messy Kids?

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Do your kids have good restaurant manners, or does it look like Vikings came to dinner?

One Arizona mother and blogger discovered a restaurant that levies a $5 surcharge for messes left behind by little diners. Seems a bit much, no?

When we go out, my husband and I keep an eye on our messy kids, and do our best to corral their spills. The girls know to leave the sugar packets alone, and if food falls on the floor we pick it up so the server doesn’t have to crawl around under the table. We try to leave the table tidy. It isn’t always easy, but we’ve never ever been charged extra.

Tell us about your restaurant rules. Are your kids angels at the table? Do you feel guilty about restaurant messes? Do you clean up before you go, tip generously, or dine and dash to avoid dirty looks?

For more on dining out with kids, check out our story about aBritish restaurant that charges a “baby tax” for each toddler at the table and this story about an Ottawa restaurant that banned babies altogether.

2 responses to “Should Restaurants Charge Extra for Messy Kids?”

  1. Jen says:

    First off, I’m a waitress…and I have been my whole life. I’m also a mom of two boys who are messy.

    I don’t think there should be a fee…that’s nuts. BUT, as you said above, parents need to be responsible for their kids mess (and sometimes even their own). Most of my patrons will apologise for any mess and do their best to clean it up, I usually respond with a “that’s what I’m here for” type answer…really, mom’s eat out so they can avoid the work at home right? If you’re going to leave a mess, you should leave a good tip for who ever has to clean it up though.

  2. Kevinsky says:

    I tip high when R is messy. If there was a baby surcharge, I’d subtract it from the tip, then subtract an additional dollar for making me do unnecessary math, and I’d tell the server that the rest of her tip is covered by the surcharge

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