or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Baby cries in fancy restaurant, Twitter war ensues
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Baby cries in fancy restaurant, Twitter war ensues

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

http://www.examiner.com/article/baby-cries-fancy-restaurant-twitter-war-ensues

Grant Achatz

Quote:

 

Give Chef Grant Achatz credit, if for nothing else than for cramming more content into the 140 characters allowable within a tweet than any human before him. Achatz is chief cook and bottle washer at the tony Chicago restaurant Alinea.

Last Saturday, a couple came to dine at Achatz’s temple of gastronomy with their 8-month-old in tow. They hadn’t planned to bring junior, but their baby sitter canceled at the last minute. The infant, according to Chicago Now, cried non-stop (as infants will do), disrupting the experience of other diners who had paid the considerable freight for a meal.

Achatz after the fact tweeted the following message:

Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but..

— Grant Achatz (@Gachatz) January 12, 2014

But here’s the kicker. Alinea doesn’t operate like your average high-end restaurant, where you eat and drink and then receive a check. As Today explains:

Instead of traditional reservations, the restaurant offers a ticketed system, where diners must pay between $210 and $265 up front for the tasting-menu-only dinner (the price does not include tax, tip or beverages). The restaurant does not accept walk-ins.

… Alinea does allow diners to sell or giveaway their diner tickets, which must be booked weeks, even months, in advance.

Rupert Vaughan, a cookbook writer, tweeted, "What are they supposed to do if their sitter cancelled at the last minute? $1000 worth of non-refundable tickets."

Discuss.

 

 

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

Reply
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

Reply
post #2 of 26

I think society (i know asking too much) should be more compassionate. 

At the end of the day , i ain´t getting a refund and my sitter quit, well then the child will have to come along or i would have wasted some cash...

Im already against their policy , if they really want to avoid these situations i think it´s time they think about wether or not giving back full refunds should be considered a valid option. 

 

 

Those clients probably wont go back... 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 1/27/14 at 9:20am

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply
post #3 of 26

I think spell checker changed your intended word "compassionate" to 'comprehensive'.  If you meant that society should have more compassion I totally agree.  In this case, though, I think the restaurant should be more realistic.  What the heck -- buy a ticket that is non-transferable.  How utterly restrictive... although part of me understandings that there may be workload and "security" factors underlaying that decision.  But if I had a ticket and was going to lose significant amount of money I'd bring my kids and do everything within my control to keep them from degrading the experience of other diners.  But there could be no guarantee that they wouldn't squawk, squeak, or squirm.

post #4 of 26

>>Those clients probably wont go back...

 

>> and do everything within my control to keep them from degrading the experience of other diners.  But there could be no guarantee that they wouldn't squawk, squeak, or squirm.


veddy interistink...

 

in the first case one client couple won't go back
in the second case an entire restaurant of clients won't go back because the joint allows crying babies and/or 3-5 year old brats running around the tables to turn the entire place into dining havoc, at $500 a plate.....

 

what, pray tell Mr. Owner, would be your choice?

 

here's an idea:


folks with babies/brats who may need to cancel at the last minute can buy "dining insurance" - cancel, costs you a couple hundred.

 

folks who are no longer subject to babysitters getting a hot date need not worry about "insuring" their presence.  if you get hit by a bus and killed, well, a non-refundable dinner ticket likely be not the biggest issue.

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
 

I think spell checker changed your intended word "compassionate" to 'comprehensive'.  If you meant that society should have more compassion I totally agree.  In this case, though, I think the restaurant should be more realistic.  What the heck -- buy a ticket that is non-transferable.  How utterly restrictive... although part of me understandings that there may be workload and "security" factors underlaying that decision.  But if I had a ticket and was going to lose significant amount of money I'd bring my kids and do everything within my control to keep them from degrading the experience of other diners.  But there could be no guarantee that they wouldn't squawk, squeak, or squirm.

 

Perhaps the guests could have shown compassion for others that attended the diner that evening by canceling their dinner plans. Why ruin every diner's experience when you can cull the one noisy table? A plane ride is one thing, movie theaters and diners are different.

post #6 of 26

I agree... compassion should go both ways.  My children are not babies anymore and when they were we picked-and-chose which restaurants we would take them to.  Once, in a family style BBQ, we were subjected to lots of abuse from a neighboring table because the little tyke was cooing.  Not crying, not banging, but cooing.  That jackass even directly threatened my kid with a spanking.  Not for crying and not for banging, but for cooing.  Talk about one angry old fart!  We now take our kids to fine dining since the youngest is 10 and has a fine palate that is WAY more sophisticated than most pre-teens.  He is also exceptionally well behaved, but at recently we had some nosey busy-body neighbor "talking to each other" about how rude and crude he is because he was playing a computer game (no audio) at the dinner table.  What's it to them... and how is that any different than when they pulled out their cell phones to text?  Anyway...

 

If the child in Atchatz's restaurant really was crying non-stop, they should have voluntarily left with their dinner in a to-go bag.

 

BTW, in my earlier post I seem to have mis-read the part about selling/giving Alinea dinner tickets.  "… Alinea does allow diners to sell or giveaway their diner tickets, which must be booked weeks, even months, in advance." so I apologize for suggesting that they are restrictive... it appears they make reasonable accommodation for folks who have a need to change their plans.

post #7 of 26

p.s.  I feel the same way about noisy drunk college kids... they should either sty in the bar or leave when they get out of control.  :)

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillbert View Post
 

...

 

here's an idea:


folks with babies/brats who may need to cancel at the last minute can buy "dining insurance" - cancel, costs you a couple hundred.

...

Sounds like an interesting business opportunity for someone in the insurance industry!

 

Maybe there should also be a policy available for intolerant old folks so if they are annoyed by other diners, or can't chew their steak, or get constipated the next day... they can get their money back.

post #9 of 26

>>Maybe there should also be a policy available for intolerant old folks so if they are annoyed by other diners, or can't chew their steak, or get constipated the next day... they can get their money back.

 

fine dining, especially in a high(er) end joint, does not include such antics.  by definition.

 

I have walked out of "fine dining" brat infested restaurants in mid-bite.  and told the manager on the way out, I'm not paying for this environment and here's my card, sue me.

 

nor do I lack the teeth to chew.

 

nor am I prone to constipation.

 

you take a child into a high end joint and the kid winds up disturbing / disrupting  some/most/all of the other patrons, you're in the wrong joint; the babies are innocent.  the brats are a result of poor parenting.

 

and yes, I got kids.  and no, I don't take predictably screaming babies and uncontrolled brats to nice eateries.

post #10 of 26

To me there is only ONE kind of valid distraction to diners. Sound.

(Well unless maybe someone comes in whol stinks.) Visual aint gonna

cut it, because diners are perfectly capable of not looking at something that

they find distracting. The exceptions would be flash photography and

things actually distasteful, such as a violation of the dress code. Dress

code and no flash are usually house rules, and should therefore be enforced.

Same with children, if theres a house rule prohibiting them, its up to the client

to abide by it, though the establishment is free to make allowances.

 

Also maybe  it's time to start drawing up a legal and binding

contract between babysitters and parents for services to be rendered.:rolleyes:

post #11 of 26

>>

 

I wasn't referring to you, specifically, Dilbert.  :rolleyes:

post #12 of 26
Grant Achatz is a disciple of Thomas Keller. Alinea is very much like the French Laundry. The tickets are very expensive. The face-value is rarely the bottom line. Now whereas they are not very difficult to unload, given the time, they could be very very difficult to at the last minute. For the situation as a whole, in general, considering all things involved, for both sides of the coin ... I think that if the parents called as soon as they knew their babysitter bailed out, arrangements could have been made to accommodate them differently to solve the problem. They could have been given a new date or a different seating location, either of which could have helped defuse this problem a little bit. Knowing the restaurant involved, there is no worry whatsoever that because of this problem there will ever be any empty seats. It would have been even more fun if this incident happened at Next, another Achatz experience.
post #13 of 26

This is a hard topic.  Yes you want others to have a nice dinner, that is what they are paying for. Yet it is not right that the babysitter cancelled on them on such short notice.  I guess I can see it either way.

post #14 of 26

I bet if they had called the restaurant and explained the situation ... most of this could have been avoided.

 

Honestly, there are many possible solutions and when 2 sides work together they are easily found.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #15 of 26

Sorry, Achatz. A dinner, even at your storied restaurant, is NOT a concert or a play. 

 

Dining, even fine dining, is a social affair. The whole experience is an interplay between diners, servers, chefs and cooks.

You and your staff are there to serve and create a comfortable environment for everyone.

 

Maybe since you charge an arm, leg and firstborn child to 'taste" your food, you could have made a small effort to assist your patrons with their child or reservation. 

Instead of your precious little snit, why did non one offer to help this couple?

Showing some leadership and consideration for everyone at your restaurant wouldn't cost you anything and you would gain a lot of good will and that equals good press.

 

What have you got now? A whole lot of angry, cheated customers and lots of bad press. 

You, Achatz, and your staff were completely bamboozled by a baby?

None of you had any clue as to how to improve the situation?

Jeez, get off your precious little throne and Grow a pair.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #16 of 26

I think Grant had no opinion one way or another.  He was just putting it to the public, and some of them are true snobs.

post #17 of 26

I just found the entire situation so immature....

Why post something so unnecessary on twitter. Its a baby, not a robber. 

IMO i think grantz even if someone was to have dropped a fork on the floor, or girls taking bad selfies he was going to post on twitter regardless. 

 

As foodnfoto had stated i think he should have grown a pair... and dealt beatter with the situation. 

Really needs to get off his high horse. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply
post #18 of 26

This is going to be difficult.

Here we have home cook, home cook, can't boil water, home cook, retired Chef (granted), other.......

Humph!!!!

 

Your (collectively) comments come from a angle that is controversial.

This is not easy to figure out.

 

There was a time when children were taught how to behave BEFORE they were allowed to appear in public.

 

Times have changed but not so the attitude of business.

One side of me agrees with Chef Atchaz, but that does not make him a demon here. 

post #19 of 26
The linked story does not give, outside of a Twitter post, the final outcome of this incident. Did G-A refuse the people or did they get served? I'm curious here because if we knew the real final outcome maybe opinions would be different.
post #20 of 26


I totally agree. If I were spending $265.00 for dinner< I would go over and ask them either control your child or leave. If assuming there were  100 diners in the place and one could ruin the experience for all, then majority rules. Its your kid, you control it. Plus they did not pay for kid anyway.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #21 of 26
If "asked to leave", do they get their pre-paid $$$ back; or maybe a replacement ticket time for a return engagement?
post #22 of 26

I know I'm new here, but I'm going to speak candidly anyway. Why should society be more compassionate? They chose to have a child. Having a child is an immense responsibility. I really don't have any youknowwhats to give if they spent 1000 dollars and their baby sitter cancelled. I don't care. It doesn't matter. It's a kid. It's their kid. You don't bring an 8 month old baby into a restaurant that costs so much money and has such a long waiting period. That's an experience those customers seriously have to wait for. It's a unique experience.  I love to cook, but I also love to cook for people, and I love to watch those people enjoy the experience. I can certainly understand why he tweeted this. If he had said

 

"stupid couple with noisy s.o.b. kid ruining my entire dinner service" -- then I'd call hijinks. But he didn't. He mentioned the problem. It's his restaurant, isn't it? I mean, he's perfectly within his right. 

 

Here's the reality. If you spend one-thousand dollars on a single dining experience --  then you can afford to spend the thousand dollars. If the restaurant's dining experience is worth the enormous expense in the first place, they shouldn't be too busted up about the money. If they are too busted up about the money, they shouldn't be spending  one-thousand dollars on dinner. Before you judge me for judging them, let me say:

 

1. When my father ended his marriage of 33 years to my mother and left her with nothing - no job, no marketable skills, nothing -- she still used her rent money to buy my textbooks my first semester of college. My father made over 100k, never gave a penny, never reimbursed her. When you have a kid, you sacrifice. You know, like maybe letting the night out take a back-seat regardless of the cost. I hope I don't have to spell out the rest of the analogy.

2. My father has purchased three motorcycles valued at over 25k each since I've been in undergrad. I started in 2006. Still not done. I'll never get out of debt.  See, he could have paid for my education, like my friends parents did, my girlfriend's parents did. He didn't.  His metaphorical sitter cancelled and he took the screaming infant to the figurative exclusive meal.

 

I just. I can't believe the selfishness. Seriously. I also can't believe anyone even sat them with an infant.  

 

That said, here's how I would have handled it

 

"Excuse me. Sir, Madam -- your infant is disrupting our guests. Some of these guests have waited several months for their reservations."

 

:::::empty-headed protesting from couple:::::::

 

"I understand ---- 

 

::::screaming from infant:::::

 

"ahem. I understand. I sympathize with your situation. I do. Normally your tickets would be non-refundable. I'd like to offer you a one-time  even-exchange on your tickets so that you don't lose your investment in the evening, and you can return at a later date.  Having scheduled a more reliable (assuming that the sitter was flaky) sitter, I hope you'll return and enjoy the dining experience we're known for" or whatever they say there. 

 

 

 

Or

 

"I'm terribly sorry. Your infant is disrupting our guests; we can't provide them with the dining experience they've paid and waited for with a disrupting like this. I'll have to ask you to leave."

 

then, if there's obnoxious protesting from the couple -- maybe it's a whole family of crying people -- then I would offer them the above. 

 

But get them out of there so you don't lose the rest of your business.  

post #23 of 26

The whole situation has blown out of control. What irks me the most are the stances of people that have derived from this incident, such as the opinion that no child belongs at any fine dining restaurant. My five year old and I have loved road tripping to food destination cities since he could walk. He loves going out to eat. Of course there are going to be times where he throws a fit because he doesn't get soda pop, and in that case I will gladly remove him outside or to the bathroom until he calms down. I do usually veer away from white table cloth establishments and stick with very popular but a little more laid back. These type of places are very social and his slight loudness usually blends right in. I don't think parents should not involve their children with the ever growing restaurant scene, but yes it is up to the parent to control the child and bringing in a new born to one of the best restaurants might not be such a good idea. 

 

Anyways, Grant Achatz seems like kind of a deuche. He had the right to be annoyed, but it was unprofessional of him to whine about a guest on social media and suggest making a rule that no children should be aloud. It's not like this incident happens all the time. 

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamshards8 View Post
 

The whole situation has blown out of control. What irks me the most are the stances of people that have derived from this incident, such as the opinion that no child belongs at any fine dining restaurant. My five year old and I have loved road tripping to food destination cities since he could walk. He loves going out to eat. Of course there are going to be times where he throws a fit because he doesn't get soda pop, and in that case I will gladly remove him outside or to the bathroom until he calms down. I do usually veer away from white table cloth establishments and stick with very popular but a little more laid back. These type of places are very social and his slight loudness usually blends right in. I don't think parents should not involve their children with the ever growing restaurant scene, but yes it is up to the parent to control the child and bringing in a new born to one of the best restaurants might not be such a good idea. 

 

Anyways, Grant Achatz seems like kind of a deuche. He had the right to be annoyed, but it was unprofessional of him to whine about a guest on social media and suggest making a rule that no children should be aloud. It's not like this incident happens all the time. 

 

I might point out that you, yourself admit that when the child gets annoyed or doesn't get what he wants, you need to remove him outside or to the bathroom until he calms down.

Excuse me but this IS the very thing that other guests don't need to see or be subjected  to. And certainly not when you are paying a lot of money for the food and ambience of a restaurant.

Also you mentioned that you veered away from the white tablecloth places....so your comment makes no sense. We are talking about a very fine dining atmosphere for adults.

post #25 of 26
Wasn't the kid in the original story 8 months old?



I wonder how you're 5 year old would be as an 8 month old in a fine dining restaurant?

That said - you have a young child that is well-behaved enough to bring to those places. That is respectable, indeed.
post #26 of 26

Tricky situation indeed

 

On the one hand - the restaurant should have tried to contain the situation in any way possible (either by refund or re-booking...). On the other hand - I could not for the life of me figure out how a couple could bring their infant to such an establishment.

 

I do have kids of my own, and yes, you do sacrifice a lot in the beginning (watching them grow up is one of my greatest joys of all times) but yes, my wife and I did have to sacrifice a lot.

(I am one of those people that also strongly believes that infants do not belong on long haul flights if they don't have to...sorry - put your vacation on hold until the child stops screaming 12 hours long).

And that is what gets me the most (truth be told). You know as a parent that an 8-month old will not be able to remain quiet for long, especially in a "boring" (infants perspective) environment like this.

I do understand that it is unfortunate, that the sitter canceled - any friends that might have helped out? Family?

I know, not everyone is so lucky to have grandma living down the road but...really no one that could have jumped in last minute?

 

Bringing an infant to such a place you are asking for trouble - either way you turn it - you know that.

 

Would I have handled the situation as the Chef differently - honestly could not tell you. I would like to think so, but put into that situation, maybe not.

Granted - we did not have all this social media stuff in my time, so I definitely could not have tweeted it :)

 

Matter of fact in my opinion is, both parties have failed at a fundamental task - handling the situation right...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Baby cries in fancy restaurant, Twitter war ensues