We DO have a child-free area, sir … it’s called the cockpit

Airplane Flying Towards The SunsetThere are times when people visit restaurants and pubs for special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Sometimes business meetings also take place over a meal or a snack accompanied by a glass of wine or a pint of beer. The waiting staff and management of these establishments are generally conscious of these things and usually don’t intrude on the people’s conversations – they like to leave them to get on with it!

But when a guest arrives with a child in tow it has been known to cause some consternation and disruption. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong or bad about the child, but management may be concerned that some of the child’s table manners and behaviour might not be as restrained as the majority of the patrons they are trying to serve. And this is why Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea in Chicago, is considering a ‘baby ban’ at his restaurant as it would put diners off their hors d’oeuvres and other courses.

It is reported that some diners have expressed the opinion that they would be livid if they were out for a quiet dinner and their senses were being assaulted with a crying baby in the background. Especially if they are paying the type of prices the Alinea charges.

These ‘noise’ concerns are probably also the reason that 7 out of 10 Britons also want to see child-free flights on airlines. It is reported that as much as 35% of those interviewed would be prepared to pay extra for child free flights. The awkward part about the survey though, reports that ‘drunk and rowdy travellers’ or ‘people with bad hygiene’ and ‘seat-kicking passengers’ were rated even more aggravating that crying babies. So will there be advocates of alcohol-free flights? And who is going to determine who are those with bad “B/O” and redirect them to board the ‘stinky’ flight from Heathrow to Dubai?

At what age does it then become acceptable to introduce one’s child to fine dining? Some would even say that there are some chefs even better behaved than their customers – regardless of the customer’s age. And when is it acceptable to have a child in a flight, when there are adults who cry and shout and throw tantrums on a plane when there isn’t a child in sight?

The lawyers must be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

In much the same way Mrs Attenborough’s barrister son (how convenient for her) had prevented a cricket team from hitting sixes when they have home matches as it might annoy his mum. She doesn’t like the odd cricket ball landing in her garden which is next to the field. Apparently they have come to an ‘amicable solution’ with the club. I’m sure that the Britwell Salome Cricket Club’s opponents are the ones who are most pleased with the solution – especially if they have a dodgy slow bowler – they aren’t going to be slaughtered in their matches.

All the permutations each restaurant, each airline, each cricket club has must be challenging to stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his team of professionals. What a good thing there are easy tools like spreadsheets, stock programmes and CRM platforms to help them keep track of what each client needs in their quest to keep patrons happy.

How long will it be until a restaurant is threatened with legal action by some customer with a relative who’s a judge for playing the wrong music, or being seated at the wrong table because it upsets their feng shui?