What To Keep In Mind When Bringing Birthday Cake To A Restaurant

When it comes to planning a birthday celebration, sometimes you have a specific restaurant in mind for dinner but a different bakery in mind for the birthday cake. Naturally, you then want to bring the cake you bought into the restaurant to enjoy after dinner. This is certainly a good idea from the guests' perspective — but it may not be from the perspective of the restaurant staff.

If you want to bring your own cake to a restaurant, it may very well be possible. But there are just a few details you need to keep in mind to be as courteous as possible toward the restaurant staff.

First things first, call ahead. Not only is it polite to let them know ahead of time, but you need to find out if the restaurant even allows for outside desserts to be brought in. When you make your reservation, simply ask the staff member if you can bring in your cake and candles. This will also give the restaurant an opportunity to inform if they have a cakeage fee. The cakeage fee pays for the service of the staff cutting the cake for you, as well as the restaurant providing plates and silverware. The fee also makes up for the profit lost by the restaurant since the guests aren't ordering an in-house dessert — and because they'll be taking up more time at the table without adding to the bill.

Other ways to be courteous

Even if the restaurant happens to not have a cakeage fee, it may still be nice to ask if you should bring your own knife and silverware to make things easier for them (although they may be happy to provide it). Another thing you can do to make sure you're being as polite as possible would be to order another round of drinks while you're enjoying the cake if your budget allows it. That way, the restaurant continues receiving a profit while you spend extra time at the table.

Additionally, if you bring presents to open alongside the cake, make sure to clean up after yourselves afterward — it's not the wait staff's job to clean up wrapping paper or other miscellaneous items. Similarly, if you bring balloons, make sure you don't leave those behind — in fact, you may want to ask the staff ahead of time if it's okay to bring those in the first place, in case the restaurant has limited space.

Finally, make sure to tip as usual — if not more. This will show the staff your appreciation for allowing you to bring in an outside dessert.