View Full Version : Restaurant Bans Kids Under 6: Discrimination or Smart Move?

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07-13-2011, 05:43 PM
I don't think it's necessary or appropriate for all restaurants to be "family friendly." People who want to enjoy a special occasion dinner in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere without children disrupting it should have someplace nice to go. I support this restaurant's decision and wish more upscale, expensive restaurants would follow suit.

Sometimes kids are just too young to appreciate a fine dining experience or understand the behavior expected of them. Sometimes their parents have done a poor job of preparing them for public dining. Yes, there are rare exceptions where the parents have done a great job of teaching their kids how to behave in a nice restaurant, but they are a very small minority.

Upscale restaurant patrons are paying for not just higher quality food, but a more pleasant dining experience than can be had in a less expensive restaurant.

Some parents' insistence that they should be able to take their kids anywhere they want to regardless of how badly they behave deserves the backlash it is receiving. Other people should not have to put up with that in every single restaurant they go to.

Parents with difficult-to-control children who want to go to upscale restaurants in the evening should do the considerate thing and get a babysitter. If you can afford to eat out at a fine dining restaurant, then you can afford a sitter.

I don't hate kids. I think they're great, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with them ruining my anniversary dinner when I'm spending upwards of $140, not including drinks and specifically booked a late reservation to avoid such a disturbance.

Bev Johnston
07-13-2011, 05:54 PM
My clue... if they offer my kids a colouring book/ toy, then they are a place my kids can go.

Exactly! Another thing I looked for: mac and cheese and chicken fingers on a kid's menu. I never took my kids to an "upscale" restaurant when they were little. They behaved just fine in public, but why not make my life/meal easier and more enjoyable by going someplace were we could all relax. Save the fancy schmancy for date night.

I frequent a sandwich/soup establishment that serves a lot of families. I would say that the behavior of the large majority of the children I see there is fine for that establishment. However, I do remember one time when I was having dinner with a friend, and these little girls were running around and kept coming up to our table. The first time it was cute, but then it became disruptive. They started behaving more wild, and with people were carrying trays with hot soup, it was becoming dangerous in addition to annoying. A man finally got up and asked me and my friend if the children belonged to us. We said no, so he asked around until he finally figured it out. When he found the mother, who was involved in some sort of book club meeting, he really let her have it. Her response, "They're just being kids. Let them have fun." Unbelievable.

Really, I think kids need to get out in public so that they can learn how to behave, but parents really need teach them. What this woman was telling her children was that it's okay to act like a wild animal in public, and that man was just crabby. With that sort of reinforcement, those kids are going to be nightmares in any public situation.

07-13-2011, 05:57 PM
How many upscale expensive restaurants really have children running around? How many children do you think they are serving a week? The article that started this thread is by no definition of mine an upscale expensive restaurant. I would think that the majority of upscale expensive restaurants out there are pretty much childfree.

If you are eating at a restaurant where the smallest table seats eight or the appetizers are anything fried served in a bucket then I can't imagine it's the sort of place one goes for an intimate dining experience, they are clearly set up for larger groups and larger groups make noise. A screaming child is as annoying as a drunken lout tossing out obscenities.

I'm fine with the restaurant above setting their own rules, private business and all that, but I'm shocked at how many of you spend time dining in upscale expensive restaurants where the rugrats are running amuck. :D

07-13-2011, 06:03 PM
Really, I think kids need to get out in public so that they can learn how to behave, but parents really need teach them.

This. I was fortunate that my niece and nephew were "restaurant educated" early and didn't have any problems that might make it difficult for them to be relatively quiet for an hour or so. I still recall my niece at about 4 saying that "restaurants are like church, but you eat there."

07-13-2011, 06:07 PM
My sister-in-law owns a coffeehouse. She has a lot of problems with children. Many women come in to meet friends and let their young children do whatever they want while they talk. She has had things broken, plants destroyed, other customers have their drinks spilled, furniture knocked over.

She has said she would ban kids if she could get away with it, not for disliking kids but because too many parents make no effort to monitor or correct their behavior.

She and her mother and other employee do always make it a point to compliment and thank parents who do watch their kids.

07-13-2011, 06:30 PM
I've had many potentially nice dinners ruined by kids who cry, scream, run around the restaurant, all while the parents totally ignore them. I had one touring company's play ruined when our 5th row center tickets were right behind a woman with 2 kids (looking about 1st or 2nd grade, maybe a year younger). After 10 minutes, the woman went to sit with friends in the balcony. Her children decided it was time to crawl under the seats and play tag. Each would take turns making the other cry. We complained to the usher close to intermission. When we came back after intermission, the woman was sitting with her kids again. She had the younger one wrapped in her arms and looked at us like we had just cursed at her and the kids. They left about 15 minutes into the second act.

07-13-2011, 06:45 PM
Sounds more like you need a ban on bad parents :slinkaway

07-13-2011, 06:48 PM
This. I was fortunate that my niece and nephew were "restaurant educated" early and didn't have any problems that might make it difficult for them to be relatively quiet for an hour or so. I still recall my niece at about 4 saying that "restaurants are like church, but you eat there."

07-13-2011, 06:55 PM
Sounds more like you need a ban on bad parents :slinkawayProbably, but how would one determine who were "bad parents" who didn't exert any control over their children before the fact? Hence, the blanket bans on children of pre-school age that some places have instituted. I don't blame the wailing 6 month old at a chamber music concert -- I blame the parents who decided that it was an appropriate place to bring an infant. And who don't immediately leave the concert hall for a time when the baby starts fussing and crying but instead spend 5-10 minutes in a futile attempt to hush him/her as the cries get more frequent and insistent.

07-13-2011, 06:56 PM
Sounds more like you need a ban on bad parents :slinkaway

That is exactly the problem, marbri. My issue is never with the kids, neither is my sister-in-law's, it is the parents who do not attempt to control them.

If a kid does something inappropriate in public and the parent responds, I don't have an issue with that situation. Kids are not perfect and do not always know how they should behave. It is the parents who are oblivious that cause the problem.

And what happens when an issue like this comes up is all the parents who are considerate of other people come out to say "I'm trying...but stuff happens", and they feel picked on. And I think most people here would agree that the parents who are making an effort are not the problem.

07-13-2011, 07:00 PM
^^This^^....perfectly worded.

07-13-2011, 07:16 PM
I would never have dreamed of trying to take my kids to a fancy restaurant when they were little. Kids are kids, one just can't ever be sure what might set them off, and there aren't usually time-out rooms in restaurants. I think my kids might have been in their teens the first time we took them anywhere that I didn't have to worry about their behaviour -- or lack thereof.

As an empty nester now who dearly loves her grandchildren, I do quite enjoy an adults only environment on occasion. I'm sure this restaurant will do quite fine with its age restrictions. And yes, there are certainly many other choices for families with young children, some of them even with good food! ;)

07-13-2011, 07:44 PM
So what about parents with special needs children? ADHS, Autism - those children might never behave to your satisfaction. Are the parents supposed to keep those children away from society until the end of days? Should the parents and siblings of those children live a life in seclusion because the special needs child's behaviour does not fit in our/your expectation of "normal" behaviour?

If they cannot be quiet, they don't belong at, say, 21 or Nobu, or any restaurant that doesn't let you draw on the paper placemats. Sorry. Not their fault they were born that way (though a LOT of behavior excused as "Oh, s/he is ADHD" or "no, really, he's mildly autistic" is just parents who won't disicipline. I've worked with severely disabled children with parents who aren't clueless and they are FULLY aware that their child cannot always do 'normal' things or behave in a normal way. Because it is pretty fcuking obvious and they have bigger issues than letting Snookums fling food around the four-star restaurant.) That doesn't change that other people have a right not to have their dinner, concert, film, etc. interrupted by them.

And if I went to a bar and complained about people being drunken and raucus? I'd be an idiot. If I went to a family restaurant and complained, same situation? That's reasonable. You don't expect shouting drunks at Applebee's. Do I care if kids run around like idiots at a McDonald's? No, as long as they don't run into me or spill anything on me. Would I be VERY angry with parents who thought that, say, nine pm at the Ritz-Carlton is a great time to bring the four-year-old for dinner and let them shriek and carry on (because they are a tired four-year-old and that is what they do?) Yes.

Just because someone else has a child does not create in me any obligations regarding it or grant them the right to impose an undisciplined offspring on the rest of the world. Unfortunately parents who do teach their children manners get punished because of those who don't.

07-13-2011, 07:58 PM
Our time-out room was the car. My daughter was born a gourmet. From the time she was old enough to eat solid food she loved a wide variety of cuisines. Waitresses were handfeeding her kimchee when she was 13 months. She was quiet. She was always a woman who loved her food. My son, on the other hand, was a handful. From ages 1-3 he disliked restaurants and tolerated about 4 foods. He learned that at the very first moment that he raised his voice, his father or I would take him out to the dull dark car, put him in the carseat and sit with him quietly. By the time he was 4 he had learned how to behave in a public place. Now he likes kimchee, too.

07-13-2011, 08:22 PM
You mean like this situation?
So let's see--there was a table of obnoxious drinkers carrying on way above the ambient noise level, yet they found it funny to act like jackasses when asked to pipe down.

Ironic that the child at the neighboring table wasn't causing any problems--only the blowhards sitting next to them.

Sorry, at 10pm, the adults have no one to blame but themselves if they don't like the language or loudness of the table next to them. If they are offended by the language that their kids are around that late at night, THEY CAN LEAVE.

I find nothing ironic about it.