Should Children Be Banned from Some Restaurants?

Ben at a restaurantWhat father hasn’t taken his toddlers to a restaurant only to grapple with broken crayons, spilled chocolate milk and untouched entrees?

It’s brutal, but justĀ think what the neighboring diners must feel. They just wanted to have a quiet meal to themselves, not oversee a wrestling match.

Restaurant owner Mike Anderson thinks he has the solution. He’s making his new Del Ray, Va. sushi restaurant a child-free zone. Anyone under 18 isn’t allowed in. No tantrums. No whining kids. No controversy.

Not quite.

Anderson, who owns other restaurants in the region, says he’s just looking for a niche in the competitive restaurant field. Who can blame him? And he’s touching on an idea which is likely a hot button issue for many childless couples and singletons alike.

It’s likely doomed to fail all the same, as well it should since it’s inherently unfair to block certain members of society from a restaurant.

For starters, the business decision has already stirred up discontent in the community. Enraged parents are vowing to avoid Anderson’s other, more kid-friendly restaurants. Parents too often see their kiddies as perfect little angels, and a restaurant that instantly labels them as a nuisance will leave a sour taste in their mouths.

The new policy would also ban pre-teens and teenagers, which doesn’t make sense. Those age groups are generally well behaved or too buried in their iPads to cause a dustup.

More importantly, the average restaurant experience can be wrecked by any number of factors – bad food, lousy service, loud music or even unruly adults. Who hasn’t sat next to a party having a wee bit too much fun during dinner time, especially if the drinks are flowing freely? Take away the kid factor, and a fine dining experience is still a matter of luck. So even if you’re childless and eager for a pleasant meal, choosing that rare restaurant without kids won’t guarantee you anything.

Besides, there already are plenty of restaurants that are unofficially kid-unfriendly. They don’t serve crayons with their meals. Their interior doesn’t include benches or booths, the kind of seating that helps parents deal with fidgety kids. And their menus lack the bland staples that most kids adore – no Mac & Cheese or chicken fingers, thank you very much. It’s not hard for a diner to select those restaurants when they crave a kid-free outing.

Besides, a father knows how grueling it can be to share a table with an unruly kid. For everyone else, it’s an annoyance that can be forgotten with another drink, a tasty appetizer or some sterling conversation.

Comments

  1. JMK says

    Anti-common-sense draconian. Maybe a no-kids section, the way there are kids’ play areas some places, or no-smoking sections.

  2. Christian says

    Great idea … no alienation of parents needed and those wishing to avoid kiddie conversations come away happy.

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