The Controversial Restaurant Surcharge That's Raising Eyebrows

Singapore, a multi-ethnic city-state archipelago in Southeast Asia, is best known as a global financial hub, for being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and for its hardline stances on matters like crime and public health issues (via Nations Online). The nation has adopted a zero tolerance policy for illegal drugs including marijuana, and advocates for mandatory rehabilitation of drug users (via Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs).

Additionally, Singapore has enacted zero tolerance laws with regard to acts of violence and inciting violence, enforcing stiff penalties like fines, jail time, and even expulsion from the country (per The Straits Times). During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore adopted what is called a "zero-Covid strategy," in which a government authorizes strict virus containment measures (via ThinkGlobalHealth).

While these are all very serious and contentious issues, on a much lighter note, a Singapore restaurant recently attracted headlines because of their zero tolerance policy toward unruly children (per YouTube).

'We are not a kid-friendly restaurant'

When families in the United States dine at casual chain restaurants, such as Chili's or TGI Fridays, they expect that basic accommodations will be made for children, including kids' menus and high chairs. Parents certainly would be shocked to see an extra charge on their bill for misbehaving children. But not every eating establishment is designed with kids in mind.

Singapore restaurant Angie's Oyster Bar & Grill has taken the opposite approach, implementing a $10 "screaming children surcharge" penalty on customers with screaming or uncontrolled children. A online reviewer who received a note about the potential surcharge after making a reservation shared it on social media, expressing their displeasure with what they perceived as an impolite approach to the policy, which bluntly states "we are not a kid-friendly restaurant" (via Yahoo).

Despite the initial controversy surrounding the surcharge, since it went into effect nearly a month ago, Angie's has yet to impose the fee on anyone and has told media outlets they are receiving less complaints about noisy youngsters, which was the impetus for the surcharge (per CNA). Reports are that parents are now being more cognizant of their children disturbing other diners.

Angie's posted a thank you on its Facebook page direct to customers who supported them over their surcharge policy and provided constructive feedback. For the time being, the controversial disincentive appears to be working as intended.