'Cafe's babycino ban makes no sense'

Let's talk about babycinos. My friend was told at a cafe on Friday that her daughter couldn't have a babycino because they "take too long to make".

Now, this isn't one of those cafes that give away babycinos for free (which would *almost* excuse the babycino ban). They used to charge $1 for them until they decided that wasn't enough compensation for the arduous task of the blasted babycino.

For anyone wondering, I've broken down the business of the babycino for you.

A babycino is typically around 50mls of milk. That means, from 1L of milk, you could make 20 babycinos. If you're buying generic supermarket brand milk at $1 a litre, that's $19 profit from one bottle of milk.

Into the mouths of babes: Ambrose Chiefari, 4, enjoys a babycino at Dulwich Hill.
Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Into the mouths of babes: Ambrose Chiefari, 4, enjoys a babycino at Dulwich Hill. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

But there's the time factor you cry! Let's be honest, it takes ZERO extra time to froth the milk for a babycino when you're also frothing the milk for a coffee. I've worked as a barista. I spent all day, every day frothing milk. That extra splash of milk in the jug isn't going to eat into your lunch break.

So there's no extra time for the frothing. Unless you're SUPER uncoordinated, it'll take approximately four seconds to pour that froth into a little cup. Maybe add an extra two seconds to pop a marshmallow on the plate. (A large bag of marshmallows costs $6 and has, on average, 80 marshmallows, making them about 7.5 cents each so that cuts your profit margin down to about $17.50 for the 20 babycinos).

So we are up to 6 seconds to make a babycino at a cost of 12.5 cents including the marshmallow.

Actually, it's not costing you anything because if you're charging $1 for the pleasure, you're making 87.5 cents for 6 seconds work. That's $8.75 a minute or $525 an hour which is a pretty decent take if you ask me.

But the real reason babycinos exist isn't just to make kids smile, is it? Because you don't have a queue of kids with their $1 coins waiting for their milk fix. You've got a queue of mums and dads with their wallets, waiting to get a caffeine infusion (probably also going to get a slice of $16 banana bread as well) which they totally deserve because of the aforementioned kids.

But even if they didn't "deserve" it, they're still bringing cash to your cafe, which is what you want isn't it? It's kind of the whole point, right? To make money?

When you tell a parent their child can't have a babycino, you're telling that parent their child isn't welcome in your cafe.

You can't be bothered going to any effort for that child and you'd rather not accommodate the parents so they can get their coffee fix in peace while their child enjoys a little treat in relative silence. You're saying to that parent that their business isn't worth it to you so they should go somewhere else. Which they totally should if you're that rude.

I'm not saying cafes HAVE to bend over backwards for kids or families. I get it: kids are loud and messy and annoying. No one *really* wishes more kids would come and trash their cafe.

I'm just saying that you're cutting off a source of revenue when you pit yourself against parents with kids, who, at 10am on a Friday are probably your best customers because they're the ones hanging out in cafes and not in an office.