Queens Park Cafe Bans Buggies

The Wooden Belly café, on Egremont Place10414576_10152110821185919_5462037222633225789_n, has put a sign outside the café, ‘No Buggies. Sorry for any inconvenience’ banning people with buggies from eating at their establishment. Local mums have been outraged by this policy feeling it’s discriminatory and bad for business.

Laura London, was walking with her little one in the buggy, in the area and wanted to have breakfast so headed for The Wooden Belly. But she was faced with the large message banning buggies outside the door. The café was empty and curious to see if she would be allowed in, she spoke to the staff. They were adamant and still said no.

“It’s just getting ridiculous,” one staff member said, “a little girl nearly pulled down a blind the other day, it could have killed her.” She went on to say that pushchairs and mums are driving away their other business. A little taken aback at her bluntness, Laura told the staff she would make sure all the parents at the local school knew about this new policy, it won’t be just the buggy mums who won’t come to the café any longer. “Fine, do that” they responded.

Laura believes their approach is rude and flawed, “the large sign outside the door is hostile, they only added the ‘Sorry for any inconvenience’ after my conversation with them.”

When we asked The Wooden Belly about the ban, they replied, “We have tried to accommodate buggies for the 4 years we have been open and have had a loose policy of asking for buggies to be folded down when we are busy. We have a large space downstairs where buggies can be placed when folded if there isn’t room to have them tucked in by your table.

However it is becoming increasingly regular for people with buggies to take offence to being asked to fold their buggies and to be really quite rude and unpleasant to us and our staff. As employers we have a responsibility to protect our staff and ourselves from rude and aggressive behaviour.”

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Parents from the local nursery go to check out the sign.

They continue to explain their policy, “We have always asked for other large items that get brought into the café, suitcases, large instruments etc, to be tucked away or put down stairs out of the way and our customers have always done this happily. I hope you can understand that we are simply trying to run a calm and relaxing café and to serve all customers to the best of our ability.”

BrightonMums.com spoke to Oliver de Trafford, manager of Moksha Café on York Place not far from The Level park. The café always seems to manage the buggy situation well, perhaps having a slightly more buggy-friendly layout than the Wooden Belly but there’s always a mixture of clientele with and without children who happily frequent the place.

“We’ve always set out to appeal to everyone, we have the sofa areas which parents seem to gravitate towards, there’s space for prams. The vast majority of people don’t mind about having kids around. Mums meet in the morning and afternoons, when many people are at work. Lunchtimes are noisy with or without the kids so people don’t notice them!”

Local mum Faye Bridgewater, makes the point, “Such a shame about their [The Wooden Belly’s] no buggies policy. I love good coffee and I always try and support local business. I won’t have a buggy forever but this has put me off ever going back”

BrightonMums.com is equally baffled at The Wooden Belly’s approach. While we appreciate it’s a tricky situation managing large groups of buggies, many establishments in the city manage it with a customer-friendly. And while it’s unacceptable to be rude to staff, does that mean all potential buggy customers need to be turned away? We watch with baited breath to see if the, already fairly empty of one most days, cafe does get busier!

What The Wooden Belly forgets, is parents talk, parents work, we go to places without our kids but always remember where we’ve been welcomed and had a great dining experience with or without the family.

Are you local to the area? Will you be going to The Wooden Belly with or without kids? Give us your views below.

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

View all posts by Claire Jones-Hughes →

19 Comments on “Queens Park Cafe Bans Buggies”

  1. So I take it this means wheelchair users are no longer welcome either and disabled children still using a buggy..as a mother but also a person who enjoys quiet time and understands those that want to sit and enjoy a coffee or bite to eat all this is doing is excluding a big proportion potential customers..if you have a newborn baby or very young baby its not as easy to just fold up a buggy if your on your own and hold a baby while eating or drinking.thise without banys or chikdrwn are too quick to judge rather than see the difficulties this would cause.

  2. The comments regarding those damn ignorant mothers who have to use prams/buggies for their children – how ignorant! Those small buggies don’t exist btw! You all will moan about disrespectful kids at some point…. Have a think about the example you set for them by your treatment of their parents!

  3. Modern buggies do seem to be absolutely massive though, they also cause problems on packed buses/trains etc. Yes we were all children once but back in the 70’s for example a pushchair was at least 50% smaller, and there was an expectation of them being folded away, not the exception that it is now. How many times have I nearly lost a foot by mums either not looking where they are going, or navigating the thing with one hand while on their smart phones with the other. A total menace. The cafe is probably over reacting with a ban however, why not a fold away and put downstairs blanket policy?

    1. Parents most definitely need to take a sensible approach with their buggies. If there’s not enough room in a cafe then it’s either fold up or go somewhere else. And we are equally baffled at parents being rude to staff for suggesting folding away as a safety measure around serving hot food and drinks! I would have to say there’s an increasing trend for buggies to be smaller & lightweight. Manufacturers are aiming for the ‘city’ market. The bigger buggies often bring essential benefits to posture for a post-natal mum as well as the comfort for baby. A blanket fold-away policy is one solution but not sure it would make a difference in welcoming parents. If baby is asleep, I surely wouldn’t wake them to fold up the buggy!

  4. Get over yourselves. Buy a bike lock and leave out of everyone’s way. You might think you deserve some sort of medal for having kids but if you looked beyond your ipads you’d see there’s enough people already and some of us simply want to enjoy a coffee. Now I know this place won’t be crawling with kids I’ll give it a go.

  5. Give them a break, most independent cafés really struggle to survive with owners often working in them and earning less than minimum wage. I’m sure we can all agree that a buggy does take up a lot of space and I can’t see why it is unreasonable for them to have asked people to fold them away, I do. What is completely unreasonable is people being rude to the staff it is these people that have caused the shop to have to change the policy.

    1. BMs.com supports local business, which is why we’re quick to point out banning them altogether may be a mistake. Tackling rude customers is part of working in the service industry. Whether they are a mum or not, being asked to leave for being horrible to staff is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. And folding a buggy due to lack of space should be understandable to most reasonable people. But excluding all parents with buggies seems a little risky for a business strategy. We have wished them well and hope they achieve what they want. It will be interesting.

      1. As I understand it, they ARE merely asking for the buggies to be folded away and taken downstairs or left outside. They are not ‘excluding all parents with buggies’. As you agree, this should be understandable to reasonable people… so there is no problem.

  6. I have to admit that before having a child I would have said the same, good on them. HOWEVER, going places with a buggy when you have a child that can’t walk or only just started walking is NOT an option. To ban them is idiotic. If they don’t want me with my child, they sure won’t get me without!
    I think this is about discouraging parents with children. I would like to know what difference the buggy made to the blind falling down??!

  7. If it was bad for business, they wouldn’t do it. It will probably improve business if the other customers don’t have to navigate stupidly large buggies when they go in.

    Sounds like a very good policy to me, and one the owners of the property are perfectly entitled to adopt.

    Why do mums think they have such entitlements and everyone should bend to their whims, just because they have given birth?

    If you don’t like the policy then don’t go. You don’t own the cafe so policy is not up to you.

    1. Don’t you think a policy which excludes a certain type of person is discriminatory? It may be their business, their decision but it’s not very community-minded.

      And we were all babies once. Most of us would have been in a buggy. Complaining about buggies is like complaining against your own parents for something they did when you were young.

      1. It doesn’t matter if I think it’s discriminatory, I don’t own the business.

        And I’d like to think my parents had a little more respect for private property rights.

  8. About time! Life does not revolve round inconsiderate women and their precious buggys. At least everyone else won’t be tripping over them to get to their tables.

  9. I definately won’t be going to this cafe again with or without a buggy! I think raising the issue about a 2 year old and a blind highlights that this is not about buggies but more about the owners attitude towards parents and children. There are many cafés in the area that manage to accommodate and welcome parents with children I personally will be frequenting them and will be encouraging all those I know with or without children not to go to Wooden Belly.

  10. It’s a really nice place, and I’m glad it’s on my doorstep. They must have a reasonable motive for doing this. The only people who are placed to say it’s bad for business are the people who have their money invested in it.
    Perhaps there’s a compromise to be had for all to get on.
    They do great poached eggs. Over and out.

  11. I was there on Sunday when the blind fell down and nearly injured a 2 year old child, whose family seemed to have just spent a lot of money in the cafe.

    It didnt look to me like she was pulling the blind down, she may have been playing with the strings but a blind should be strong enough to withstand that I would have thought.

    Just seems another excuse to turn away one of their core markets, which is a foolish decision.

    As a buggy owner, i doubt Id be welcome back but we wouldnt go anyway. Plenty of better set up cafes in the neighbourhood

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