Pregnancy has a way of limiting your meal options, and you’d expect restaurants to be aware of dietary restrictions and food sensitivity among expecting clientele and make accommodations. But Andrew’s pregnant wife ran up against a strict local restaurant that wouldn’t bend its policy that items on the kid’s menu were only for those age 10 and under. This despite the fact that all she wanted was a grilled cheese, and the only place on the menu she could find the item was in the kid’s section.
Last Sunday (Dec. 12) my wife, a friend and I sat down for a late lunch at a one of our favorite local restaurants in Sacramento. My wife is currently 8 weeks pregnant and has been advised to avoid certain types of food, deli meat, soft cheese etc. In addition, she is suffering the dreaded “morning sickness” and is hyper-sensitive to certain foods. If this weren’t enough, we happened to show up right in the middle of that magical 2 hour window when the brunch menu is done and the full dinner menu is not yet available. As a result she had only soups, salads and sandwich/burgers to choose from (normally not an issue since there food is great). Luckily she found two items she liked, a bowl of the soup ju dour and a kid’s grilled cheese. Now granted the menu does say “10 and under” for kids menu items, but given the circumstances and the general relaxed attitude of the staff, I expected it wouldn’t be an issue. When we ordered, our waitress initially said no, but when I explained why she happily agreed to check with the manager (which I totally understood, no all wait-staff have that discretion). When she returned and told us the manager had denied the request we were shocked. To her credit our waitress appeared surprised as well and was very apologetic.
At that point I asked to speak with the manager. I shook his hand a explained that I understood the kid’s menu was for children under 10 but would really appreciate it if he could make a reasonable accommodation given my wife’s medical condition. He said he understood but that was the policy and if he made an exception it would quote “no longer be a policy”. I politely told him we were regular customers and enjoyed the restaurant, but if he wasn’t willing to reconsider then we would take our business elsewhere. At no time did he make an alternate suggestion, perhaps offering an item from the dinner menu (which would have been available in an hour) or simply charging us a few extra dollars above the regular price. Had either of theses options been offered we would have happily agreed. Now I completely understand the restaurant’s policy is there for a reason and that employees have every right to enforce it as they see fit, but I can’t honestly believe it was intended for this type of situation.
If you’ve worked in the food industry, how seriously did your employer take the kid’s menu restriction rules?