Saturday, January 05, 2008

The kids are not alright!

Hurrah to JD Wetherspoon because parents who visit one of Britain's biggest pub chains with their children are being told they can have only two alcoholic drinks. Eddie Gershon, its spokesman, said staff could refuse to serve more than the limit to any adult with a child, even if others in the party were drinking non-alcoholic drinks or they were having a meal. "We are not in any way a children's pub with an activity centre. It is not a wonderful day out for children spending hours in the pub," Mr Gershon said. "Once parents have finished the meal with the child, we would expect them to leave soon after."

He added that although the chain was "comfortable" with children going to its pubs, it was hoping to avoid situations where they were present for two or three hours while their parents drank. "We would let an adult order an alcoholic drink with a meal and another drink after that but we don't want children there bored while adults drink," he explained.

On the J D Wetherspoon website the company declares in a statement...

For those of you that have seen the news regarding a visit to our Wallasey pub in Merseyside and our policy for families purchasing food and alcoholic drinks, it would seem that there is some confusion as to the J D Wetherspoon company guidelines in this area.

Basically, if parents are accompanied by their children when they visit our pubs we have a responsibility as a pub company to ensure that this is handled in a professional manner and in a way that is in keeping with our duty of care to our customers.

Below are the guidelines by which our pubs address the issue of children in our pubs:

• Adults that are accompanied with children wishing to purchase an alcoholic drink should purchase a meal
• Once the meal has been finished and tables cleared it is our recommendation that only one more alcoholic drink should be purchased for each adult

If parents and their children are visiting our pubs and purchasing non-alcoholic drinks, then there is no limit to the number of drinks that can be purchased or the length of stay at the pub.

In all situations it is important that our Pub Managers assesses the behaviour and attitude of the parents as well as the interests of other customers to ensure the situation is handled in a suitable manner.
As a company we do not want to restrict families visiting our pubs, if fact, we actively encourage families and have recently won an award for our children's menu.

...Well done I say to Wetherspoon's. Children are a damned nuisance in pubs running around, screaming and throwing food making a sticky mess everywhere. If their parents are having a party by drinking alcohol then the little blighters can become more indisciplined than normal and the pub becomes a riot.

There are places for children, they are called public parks where their parents can take their little darlings for a picnic. The kids are not alright and J D Wetherspoon has pitched it's policy just about right in my opinion. Of course, other spineless pub chains may think differently but that is their problem and they can clear up the mess are the little blighters have left and calm is restored.
Personally I'm delighted at the Wetherspoon company's policy. To me, a pub is basically an adult environment. I've no objection to well behaved kids eating a meal, but I don't want to go out for a drink and feel like I've wandered into a playscheme full of free-range children. Plus the fact that semi- or un-supervised kids in a pub are not really safe are they?

A selfish point of view maybe, but there are plenty of more suitable places that are targetted at families with kids.
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