Five Reasons to Ban Disruptive Children From Restaurants
A bustling tourist restaurant, Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California, really rankled some parents when it recently posted a sign prohibiting strollers, high chairs, booster seats, loud kids and crying babies. Restaurant owner Chris Shake says if customers don't like the rules, they can go somewhere else to eat, and he isn't concerned about the decision affecting business. But is it the right sort of business to be effectively banning rowdy kids from restaurants?
You bet your asses it is -- and here are five reasons why banning disruptive children from restaurants is perfectly okay. Maybe it's time that lazy, unconcerned, pushover parents stop ruining everyone's dining experiences.
5. Poorly supervised children disturb other diners. This point is an easy one to make, and it's hard to deny. Unsupervised tots running amok in restaurants create a messy, noisy, chaotically frenzied atmosphere and it's irritating as all hell to try and have a calm, quiet, orderly meal while other peoples' less-than-adorable special snowflakes are yelling, throwing food, hitting and kicking things and nosing around the dining room. Parents are generally not fond of strangers chastising their offspring, and even less pleased when they are called out for their poor parenting and terrible manners, so what are harried diners supposed to do when their meals are being disrupted?
Aside from grabbing the nearest screaming hell-spawn and giving them a well-deserved whuppin' (wishful thinking, but not a good idea) there isn't much that can be done, so having a kid-free restaurant solves this problem.
4. Restaurants that are not kid-centered don't always have ways to entertain restless children. Some parents lack either the common sense or foresight to keep their children entertained or focused on eating their food. Many child-friendly (or at least child-tolerant) restaurants offer coloring books, crayons and paper place mats, small toys and expedited kid's meals to help parents keep their shorties from morphing into diminutive demons. But some parents seem to forget that these are given out as a courtesy, that dining establishments are not daycare centers, and that restaurant staff members are not babysitters.
It's the parents' responsibility to keep their kids reasonably quiet and orderly during the course of their meal, but when parents can't be bothered to do this, there comes a point when restaurants have to act in the best interest of their clientele as a whole.
3. Unattended children can get hurt and cause accidents. When children aren't properly looked-after and in full grabby-mode after being fueled by an extra-large fruit juice or soda, then hot food, full beverage glasses, sharp dining utensils, high tables and chairs and small objects can be a recipe not only for disturbances, but for actual damage. Kids running around a dining room unchecked also have the potential to slip and fall, smack into servers carrying heavy trays of food and drinks, climb on furniture or decorations, and even wander off into kitchen, bar or food prep areas.
Children don't always have the coordination, social skills or, sadly, the home training necessary to avoid accidentally hurting themselves or causing mishaps.
For more reasons why banning unruly kids is okay, read on...
2. Unsupervised children make unnecessary messes for restaurant staff. Food service workers can tell you all about how little fun waiting on tables with children can be, and aside from the obvious aforementioned issues, children who are badly-supervised find ways to splatter tables, dump drinks, destroy chair cushions, pelt the floor with sticky bits, smear walls and booth seats and basically get food everywhere but in their little mouths.
Adults usually don't gunk up restaurants like kids do, and since expecting some lazy-assed parents to clean up after their own children in public is just crazy, eliminating the problem all together doesn't seem like such a bad notion.
1. It's unfair to child-free diners. People who are child-free (or parents who are considerate enough to find sitters for their kids) absolutely should not have to pay money for a meal in a restaurant filled with screaming, disorderly, sloppy, unattended children. Parents who get sitters have a day or evening free, without their own kids, and should not be penalized because others won't find other accommodations for theirs. Folks who are child-free don't normally go out to dine in kid-centric restaurants to have cocktails and talk about adult issues, so why must they have to deal with carpet-Cheerios, itty-bitty nose-picking, and hear every single verse of "Let It Go?"
If lethargic, entitled parents won't properly teach their kids how to behave like small, polite human beings, they should not force other people to pick up the tab for their poor judgment and clear lack of parenting skills.
There is always Chuck E. Cheese.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.