London restaurant chain Bodeans Bar-B-Q is charging a £1.50 a head “cakeage” fee to people who eat their own birthday cakes in its branches. 

The ribs chain, which has branches in Soho, Clapham, Fulham, Balham and Tower Hill, levies the charge only if the cake is eaten on the premises.

A member of staff explained: “You can light the candles and sing happy birthday, there is no charge for that. But if you cut the cake, then it is £1.50 a head. Its because we sell desserts and if you eat your own cake you won’t be buying them.”

However, one branch told British Baker that it ignores company policy on this matter and lets its customers eat their birthday cakes without billing them.

Bodeans was set up in 2002 when Andre Blais decided to bring Kansas City slow-smoked barbecue to the UK.