Got a noisy kid in tow? You might want to alter your dinner plans if you were thinking of heading to Angie’s Oyster Bar & Grill.
The restaurant, located at Tan Boon Liat Building in Outram Road, is imposing a $10 surcharge if a child of a diner is deemed noisy and disruptive to other patrons.
A screenshot of a text message from the restaurant to a reservation maker indicated the policy, and was sent to Mothership.sg.
The would-be customer had made a reservation and requested a baby chair – but was informed that only a space for a pram would be provided and that baby chairs were not available, as the restaurant was “not a kids-friendly” place.
The restaurant also said children are welcome, but that a $10 surcharge would be imposed if they are “screaming” or “uncontrolled” and end up disturbing other guests.
On tripadvisor.com, where the restaurant has on average received fairly good reviews, one feedback provider criticised the move to implement the “screaming children surcharge” in August 2022:
In response to the TripAdvisor review, Angie’s Oyster Bar & Grill explained that its staff have been receiving more complaints about children “running around unattended or disturbing other tables during the service period”.
Angie’s provided its full statement that included its justifications to Mothership. The restaurant said:
“We pride ourselves in providing a pleasant environment for all our dining guests at Angie’s. We are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our customer experience and make it a point to ask guests for feedback on their dining experience–our food, service standards, and overall ambiance.
“Over the last few months, we’ve received an increasing number of complaints of children running around unattended or disturbing other tables during the service period. Not only is this dangerous as servers are often moving around with hot food and sharp cutlery, but it is also disrespectful to other diners who may wish to dine in a quiet and comfortable atmosphere.
“In these instances, our team speaks with the parents or caretakers and the situation is almost always immediately managed. However, we occasionally experience situations where nothing is done and the matter is ignored altogether. This is both frustrating and embarrassing because it puts the restaurant in an awkward position when explaining to other guests why nothing is being done to address the matter. Because of these experiences, we felt we had no choice but to impose a “penalty” to address such unfortunate situations.
“We ask for nothing more than mutual respect from all our guests, but we’ve sadly come across a few diners who may feel more entitled than others. It pains us to impose the policy but it was never our intention to diminish any of our guests’ experience. We seek parents, caretakers’ kind understanding to tend to their children as we aim to provide as many pleasant and memorable dining experiences for as many customers as possible.”
Some patrons TNP spoke to aren’t in complete agreement with the restaurant’s policy.
Ms Nimran Kaur, 34, who has dined at Angie’s before and has two children – aged 2 and 4 years old – said she understood “where the restaurant is coming from”, but added: “This policy might open the restaurant up to further disputes.
“If my child is being noisy, and another table complains, do I get a warning, or am I charged $10 already? What if my kid quietens down after that?
“My point is – who decides what is too much noise? The manager? I think there will be times when the parents will create a fuss after feeling unfairly charged. After all, kids will be kids, and they’re bound to make a bit of noise anywhere they go.”
Another diner, Ms Anthea Koh, 39, said it might work better if the restaurant sectioned tables with children away from the rest of the diners, rather than impose a “noise penalty”.
“Make it so that there are just two or three tables in a corner that accommodate kids, and we have to often make a reservation for that section.
“Also, there will always be some who feel $10 is nothing to them, and they’d just let their children misbehave anyway. Seating young children away from most of the other diners will at least solve the issue to an extent.”