If you are a parent of well-behaved tiny foodies, this new trend may infuriate you. But more and more restaurants are ready to take heat and implement new policies banning children at their establishments.
The reality is most kids are not well-behaved while they are out. It seems some of their absent-minded parents do not care at all. Think of the banning of children not as a punishment for the kids, but rather for the parents who can’t control their kids.
If you are a parent of well-behaved children, this may seem hard for you to believe but it happens all too often! Allowing your child to wander around the dining room or into the kitchen is inappropriate on many levels.
First and foremost, it poses a safety concern for both the staff and your child. Imagine waitstaff carrying a tray of perfectly topped-off martinis or scolding hot food to have a kid barrel into your legs. My personal favorite is when the Chef looks up from plating in back of house and there is a child. A child standing in your kitchen full of fire and accessible knives. What about the damage at the restaurant that is caused by a child? Should the restaurant be responsible for the tray of glasses that got dropped, tears in the vinyl or cloth covered seats and crayons and markers on the walls? Children also include teenagers throwing food at employees, stealing beverages and breaking property.
Some folks don’t have kids for a reason and therefore don’t want to be burdened by yours. Not everyone thinks kids are cute and they also want to enjoy their dining experience. There is also parents who want to enjoy a romantic evening away from their kids. They take a break to hire a babysitter only to be sat near your child, who is having a fit because they don’t want to be there. No one else wants to hear on max volume, the cartoon your kids is watching on the Ipad to keep them occupied. They are trying to carry on their own conversation or waitstaff trying to hear customer orders.
These all affect the lively hood and bottom line of not just the owners, but chefs and waitstaff. Those five customers who just left with no tip in a hurry due to an unruly child. We lose money and are operating on slim margins, while dealing with the damages and lost customers due to misbehaving kids. This is why restaurants are banning children.
I happen to love kids… well the ones that are taught respect that is. The other night, I went out to a fine dining establishment with a friend. Our meal and conversation was interrupted multiple times by the child three tables over. The parent thought it was cute that she had free run of the dining room and was intrigued by the overhead fans. The next thing I know, she’s hanging on the back of my chair like we are at the playground. Thankfully after a few moments, she moved on to her next victims. Her parents just giggled and thought this behavior was cute. This type of behavior is not ok. The bottom line is if you are bringing your child out to dinner, they need to be taught respect, manners, and boundaries the same as is expected from any adult.
Most restaurants post on their websites if they are kid-friendly or not. This designation means that the restaurant is prepared for both you and your child. However, it does not mean they should not be on their best behavior as should you. Most owners wish they could banned children as they are working to make a living for themselves and support the staff.
Options that some restaurants have taken include…
“Minor children do not have the right to invade a business and take it over to eliminate their boredom, and parents don’t have the right to expect us to watch their minor children while we are in the midst of running a restaurant,” Christina Azbill operates a restaurant in Garden Valley, California and was forced in 2021 to create a teenager must be accompanied by an adult policy. Her staff has been able to focus more on providing a great experience for diners and less clean-up since the new rule.
Needless to say, banning kids in a restaurant is a very controversial topic! Ultimately you have to do what’s right for your establishment, but realize there are others that are taking action on what most of us wish we could do!