A Herald poll has found readers are overwhelmingly in support of a West Auckland Nando's restaurant for not letting people bring their own food to eat there.
The unscientific poll on the the Herald website found that of about 3300 voters, 78 per cent thought staff at Nando's on Lincoln Rd in Henderson were right in telling a family off for bringing in sushi for their hungry 5-year-old son while the parents ordered food.
Only 21 per cent of online readers thought there should be an exception to the rule, since the food was for a child, and one per cent of readers were not sure.
Avin Jit, the son of Bishwa and Geeta Jit, the restaurant's owners, had been told that the franchise manager that they were no longer allowed to speak to media about the issue, but said he had seen the poll on the Herald website.
Nando's New Zealand General Manager Garth Parker told the Herald the franchise had received a lot of supportive comments from customers on the restaurant owners' stance, and the company supported their stance as well.
He said that though it wasn't a company-wide policy that people couldn't bring their own food to the restaurant, it was an expectation.
"There's got to be discretion at a restaurant level, and it should be looked at on a case by case basis, taking in to consideration dietary requirements," he said.
"Most balanced people would suggest that you don't take food from outside into a restaurant and it doesn't happen often."
Mr Parker said a restaurant was a business that relied on selling its own food to make money.
Herald reader Chris Kuhn said he was a regular customer of the Jit family's Nando's, and said they were "the nicest people to deal with.
"I have been going there for years and I find it hard to believe that they would be confrontational.
I have had nothing but fantastic and friendly service from them,M Mr Kuhn said.
"I have been there when somebody brought Burger King into the store and I was quite surprised how polite the lady ( I assume is the owner as she is always there) was when she asked the person to please not do that again.The patron apologised and left the store.
"She was very polite and respectful, hence I find it very hard to believe that there was a row."
Graham Anderson said he was disappointed that the restaurant had received "bad press."
"I've been to a lot of Nando's restaurants and this one is by far the best. The family who run it are lovely, friendly people who always greet their customers with a smile and even remember our names and favourite orders. Their service is the best I've seen at any Nando's restaurant... They certainly do not deserve the criticism that has been levelled at them," he said.
"I would certainly never assume that it was OK to bring food into a restaurant like the complainant wished to do, and if I did so I would not at all be surprised to be asked to remove it from the premises.
"It sounds like the staff were entirely reasonable in the circumstances and, having had the pleasure of dining with them many times, I struggle to believe that they would have been anything other than polite and respectful."
Herald opinion writer Shelly Bridgeman, said there were three main factors when deciding whether taking food into a restaurant was appropriate:
These were the age of the child involved, the provenance of the food concerned, and the wishes of the proprietors of the restaurant concerned.
If it had of [sic] been food from home then totally fine, no restaurant complains when you bring in snacks (apple, sandwich etc) for your child but this was another takeaway...
Lizzy Kiri: He was 5yrs old and wouldnt of [sic] broken the bank buy [sic] havin abit [sic] of sushi...bit petty Nando's.
B Ruce Wilson: What a moaner. It's the rules. This world is really going downhill. Lincoln road is my favourite Nando's, great owners and staff.
Mat Chavez: Wait, a restaurant following code? Oh heaven forbid! Tell said woman to grow up.
Janna Bradley: If your child is getting that hungry go earlier or take a piece of fruit don't go buying takeaway food to eat in another takeaway/dine in food place it is just rude. The parents know what time the child gets hungry so work to that time or get a sitter !!
Logan Douglas: If a parent comes in with their kids and the kids [sic] eating his own food whilst the parents order $65 worth of food, are you going to ask the child to throw out his food? Seems a media article has pointed out this issue. Hope you sort out this attitude, the lack of friendlyness [sic] at your Bayfair store was most likely its biggest downfall.