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To take my own toddler food into a cafe?

(109 Posts)
BoattoBolivia Mon 26-Sep-11 22:45:48

I went swimming with 3 other mums and toddlers today( between 1hr and 18 months) and we went to the leisure centre cafe afterwards for lunch. All of us ordered food for ourselves and hot drinks, spending nearly £40 altogether. We all had small pots of sandwiches/ salad/ yoghurts/ fruit for our dcs. When the first meal arrived, the waitress told us firmly that we were not allowed to feed our children our own sandwiches and yoghurts as we could buy them there. I qureried the quality, being a bit of a fussy mum about what I feed my ds, and she assured us that they could cater for any food issues. We firmly told her we would remember that for next time!
We were a bit annoyed as, although we recognise that they have the right to do this, it seems a bit mean spirited when you are talking about such a tiny amount of food.
I have a 9 yr old dd, and have fed her on many occasions( as a baby or toddler) in cafes with my own food, but would ALWAYS make the point of buying food for myself. Even if the cafe has a sign saying don't eat your own food no one has ever told me off, as long as I have bought something for myself.
We will be exercising our right to take our custom elsewhere in future, but AIBU to feel a bit miffed?

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 22:48:18


People take the piss and end up buying a cup of coffee...taking up the whole table and feeding their kids food from home.

They can't pick and choose who and what they allow as it's too much of a headache.

If you're going to eat out and take your children, you have to budget for them.

squeakytoy Mon 26-Sep-11 22:49:09

If you were feeding babyfood you would have a point, but if you were giving them sandwiches, then to be fair, you were taking the piss a bit.

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 22:49:14

But hats off to the Mum who took her baby swimming at 1hr old wink grin

MumblingRagDoll Mon 26-Sep-11 22:50:48


Toddlers are not babies and require no special can buy toast or a sandwich for them in cafe's...most sell fruit too. If you want a picnic then go to a picnic area.

Cafe's have to make a profit and the cafes in leisure centre's rely a lot on family's....if you're allowed to take food in for your 2 or 3 year old...then why can't I take it in for my year old? THere must be a line..and that's when a child s no longer a baby.

Grumpla Mon 26-Sep-11 22:52:05

If you'd eked out a cake between 4 and nursed one drink for two hours, whilst laying on a baby buffet, maybe she'd have had a leg to stand on.

If you spent £40ish then that's probably equivalent to what the same number of adults at the same table would have spent - so they're not exactly losing out if you feed your kids on top of that are they? YABU.

Of course if you were really evil like me you could go in next time and say "hello, we were assured by X last time that the cafe could cater for my PFB's every whim. Please provide me with a peanut butter and blackcurrant jam sandwich, NOT strawberry jam, strawberry jam is for stinkies, WITH the crusts cut off, then a packet of raisins, then a bowl of GREEN grapes cut in half, then a Petit Filous, NOT any other sort of yoghurt, they are for stinkies..." - you get my drift wink

CustardCake Mon 26-Sep-11 22:52:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pandemoniaa Mon 26-Sep-11 22:53:02

Yes, YABU.

All these "small pots of sandwiches/salad/yoghourt/fruit" add up to quite a spread - none of it contributing anything to the cafe's coffers.

Even if you eat the cafe food yourselves you've still taken advantage of their facilities and I'm not surprised the waitress was unimpressed. In future, either pay for everyone to eat or enjoy a proper picnic somewhere that doesn't rely on paying customers to occupy the seating.

thisisyesterday Mon 26-Sep-11 22:54:41

OP, how old does a child have to be before it can eat cafe food?

i mean, do you think cafes should let me take in a picnic for my 6, 4 and 2 yr old? while i have a coffee??

of course you are being unreasonable.

MissMississippi Mon 26-Sep-11 22:54:49


The adults all had cafe-bought food for £40. The babies were having their own food - nothing wrong with than IMO.

My friends and I always did that. We all, came in with bits of pureed banana and stuff from Ella's kitchen, as at 12-18months, IME kids don't normally eat the usual cafe stuff. My DS is now almost 2.5, so I try to get him to eat things from cafe as a)I want him to try new things and b)I feel he is a bit old to get away with the food from home thing.

BTW, I am very, very impressed that you had kids with you of only 1 hour old wink

Sevenfold Mon 26-Sep-11 22:55:15


Chynah Mon 26-Sep-11 22:55:41

YANBU - I always take sandwiches for my kids even when we go to restaurants and have so far (oldest nearly 3) never had a problem. I figure if they are getting paid for a full cost adult meal (or 2,3,4 etc depending on family) they can indulge the fact my chidren eat packed lunch otherwise they wouldn't get my trade either. Plus my kids probably wouldn't eat their food (one definitely wouldn't). In your case I would have left without eating or paying. even if the food has arrived and then the loss is theirs and they may think more kindly next time.

Graciescotland Mon 26-Sep-11 22:55:55

I do the same as you. DS is only 13 months and I'm still pretty careful with what I feed him. I think restaurant/ cafe food is often quite high in salt and expensive for toddlers. Kids menus are generally full of over processed food that he wouldn't get at home etc.

Never had a complaint about bringing in food for DS, I just assumed babies/toddlers are the exception to the "no outside food rule" If you were feeding them from a jar you probably wouldn't have gotten told off.

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 22:57:09

And nearly a tenner per adult is a basic meal in most leisure centres so it's not as much as it sounds.

The people who run the cafes normally have to pay an extortionate amount in rent.

AuntiePickleBottom Mon 26-Sep-11 22:57:54

Yabu the toddlers could of eaten th cafe food

squeakytoy Mon 26-Sep-11 22:58:30

We all, came in with bits of pureed banana and stuff from Ella's kitchen, as at 12-18months, IME kids don't normally eat the usual cafe stuff

grin kids of that age will eat anything! It certainly doesnt need to be pureed, or from Ellas pretentious kitchen either...

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 22:58:35

Chynah Seriously? You take sandwiches to proper restaurants? shock

Pandemoniaa Mon 26-Sep-11 22:58:35

How can this be "baby food"? Or do babies now eat a completely different version of "sandwiches, salad, yoghourt and fruit" to that normally available in cafes? There's nothing at all wrong in taking baby food into a cafe but this is normal scoff, surely?

Bohica Mon 26-Sep-11 22:59:31

I think under the age of 4 and with an adult eating and drinking it should be allowed. It's like going to a "Kids eat free" cafe.

grin at 1hr old swimming dig worra, you have made me smile and laugh lots tonight!

squeakytoy Mon 26-Sep-11 23:00:53

I do love the sense of entitlement that I am seeing here in so many posts! grin

piprabbit Mon 26-Sep-11 23:01:35

Toddlers are notorious for being messy eaters - so not only are you not paying for their food, but the cafe will have to clean the floor/table of all the debris before more customers arrive.

Unless, of course, you volunteered to make busy with the mop?

LetThereBeRock Mon 26-Sep-11 23:03:04


And why would 12-18 months old need pureed food? Don't they usually eat 'real food' at that age? Also pureed banana? Bananas aren't exactly a challenge for the teeth are they? Wouldn't you just peel it and hand it to them? Or at least give them it in pieces?

BoattoBolivia Mon 26-Sep-11 23:03:56

Oops, should have been 1 year old!
Fair enough, I kind of knew we didn't have a leg to stand on, but was surprised we were called on it, considering how much we spent and how little they were eating.
Was pissed off anyway as I had been looking forward to a yummy plate of chips but then the fryer was broken and I had to have bloody salad instead!
grumpla like the way you think grin

LetThereBeRock Mon 26-Sep-11 23:03:59

Disclaimer. I have no teeth yet but surely your average toddler has enough children to eat a banana with?

Chynah Mon 26-Sep-11 23:05:03

Worra - yes always take a little lunch box for the kids mostly as DS is very fussy (was under specialist) with his eating - oh and we take their own drinks of water too I will also always order an adult portion and split it between him and DD too rather than fork out on 2 child meals that will be picked at. Never had any complaint We spend enough money there they wouldn't be getting if we didn't go - not like they are queueing at the doors or anything.

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