A group of mums who regularly get together to have lunch and enjoy each other’s company were left ‘humiliated’ after a recent visit to a Ripley restaurant.
The group were forced to sit at the back of the Butterley Park Brewers Fayre restaurant, next to the toilets, after staff said other customers had complained about them bringing their babies into the restaurant in previous weeks.
One of them has now written an angry letter to Whitbread, the company which owns the restaurant, demanding they look in to the behaviour and attitude of their employees.
Marie Barron, 35, of Ilkeston, said: “We are not loud, hooligan types. We were not there to get drunk. We are working mothers, on maternity leave with seven month old babies.
“We were told that there are men who come in and read the paper and don’t want to be disturbed by women and babies and it was better if we were out of the way.”
The group were led from their chosen table, in the seating area at the front of the restaurant, to one at the far back, next to the toilets, in order to ‘pre-empt any complaints’.
However, the mums believe the real reason for the complaint was that some members of their party had been breastfeeding at the restaurant in previous weeks.
“We chose to meet there as our babies are not of an age where we can let them play amongst toddlers and, seeing as we don’t get dinner dates as frequently as we used to pre-children, it’s nice to eat a hot meal in good company.
“However, the treatment we received was unacceptable and left us feeling extremely embarrassed as well as discriminated against and ruined what is otherwise a perfectly lovely place to dine with friends and family.”
A spokesperson for Brewers Fayre told the Derbyshire Times: “Brewers Fayre is a family restaurant that welcomes breastfeeding mothers, parents and carers with young children to enjoy all of our facilities, including the play areas.
“We would like to reassure guests that we regularly train our team members to ensure they put guest needs first and foremost.
“We are disappointed this claim has been made and are investigating as a priority.”
The company have also contacted the group to say an investigation has been carried out and that they are confident they have learned from the experience.
They ask the women to accept their apologies, thank them for bringing the issue to their attention and offer them a voucher for £10 which can be used at any Brewers Fayre restaurant.