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Lack of High Chairs Cooks Up a Food Fight


Here’€™s a story I thought you might be interested in:
Earls, a restaurant chain located in B.C. and other parts of Canada, recently came under fire after a customer’€”a local mom who was out for dinner with her husband, 9-month-old son and friends’€”posted the following comment on the establishment’€™s Facebook page:

‘€œ’€¦ We figured Earls would be a good choice as it’€™s always had a great atmosphere and great food. I was quite disappointed when we asked our hostess for a high chair and were told that the restaurant didn’t have any. Our hostess offered us a booster seat, but as any parent knows’€”a booster seat is completely useless with a baby. I was also unhappy to find there was no change table in the restroom (most restaurants will have them discreetly installed on the wheelchair stall wall). I understand that Earls isn’t a Kinder Cafe but people who enjoy your restaurant also have babies and we should be comfortable bringing them to your restaurants. I urge your management to consider providing these inexpensive conveniences for your customers. Thank you.’€

The post quickly collected a number of likes (517 to date) and comments (283) and sparked a flurry of follow-up posts (43 at the time of writing this article) that support both Earls and the customer. Clearly this topic resonated with a lot of people.

Earls quickly responded by clarifying their position on families:

‘€œAlthough we at Earls love and welcome families, we would not classify ourselves as a family restaurant. Our restaurants do not, as a rule, offer high chairs & booster chairs or changing stations. I know this may not be the response you are looking for, but I hope you can understand that we have an obligation to our customers…’€

The spokesperson also made a point of mentioning that the restaurant hasn’€™t had high chairs (for the most part) for over 10 years and there are very few requests for them.

I’€™m curious, though’€”what do you think? As parents, do you care if restaurants have high chairs, booster seats and change tables? Do you want to frequent the same places you went before you had kids and hope your favourite restaurants will accommodate your growing family?

Interestingly, last year I wrote about a similar dining out dilemma. It was a popular post with our SavvyMom readers, and if you’€™re interested, check out what my brother-in-law has to say about the issue: he’€™s a restaurateur and father, and I think you might be surprised by his answer.

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