Restaurants: Only, Well-behaved Kids Welcome

If your child does not know how to behave in a restaurant, you should leave your child at home. Going out to a restaurant should be a relaxing experience for everyone. When your child misbehaves at a restaurant, it is an unenjoyable and stressful experience for everyone!

I know that some parents may feel that their family has the right to eat in a restaurant if they are paying their money, just like the next person. They are correct but only to a point. Their child does not have the right to interrupt every customer's meal with their awful behavior. Your child may be the center of your universe but your universe exists at your home, not in a restaurant.

The problem is the way that some parents handle their children in restaurants. My family and I were dining at a restaurant here in Chicago. There were two families dining in a large booth. The kids were throwing food and screaming and the parents just adjusted their speaking volume so they could continue their conversation and ignore the kids. My daughter began to scan the restaurant. When I asked her what she was looking for she replied "Is this an episode of What Would You Do? with John Quinones?". She could not believe that those parents were actually allowing this awful behavior. She just knew that these were actors for a TV show. These parents did not care that their children were making a mess and annoying the other customers with their screaming. I have witnessed children fighting, throwing food, laying on the floor screaming, running around the waitstaff, all while their parents acted as if their behavior was ok.

These are the types of parents that make restaurant owners want to or actually do ban children from their restaurants. Some of the parents who attempt to stop their child's behavior are not very effective. They don't understand that asking your child to stop doing something ten times is not effective. This is selfish behavior because while you are trying ten different times to stop the bad behavior, other customers are annoyed and not enjoying their meal or a great conversation. They are annoyed by your child's screaming or whining and by you constantly asking your child to stop his/her bad behavior.

When children are messy and throw food, it causes more work for the restaurant employees. Parents are always carrying cheerios for their toddlers. How would you feel if you had to clean up food items that weren't even on the menu? Parents allow their kids to leave food in chairs and on the floor. This increases the turnaround time for seating new customers and this can affect the financial outcome for the restaurant. There was an article and a cartoon on Huffington Post that contained the following text:
"Kids act the same whether we eat in our own kitchen or go to a restaurant – they throw their food, complain and spill at least three different things on us. So even though other childless tables may groan and shake their heads at us, there’s a reason we still take our kids out to eat: We don’t have to clean up after!"

So, basically these parents know that their children will not behave, but they don't care because their goal is to eat a meal and not have to clean up after there children. These selfish parents and their kids, need to be banned from dinning with the non-selfish civilized people. The fact that they are resigned to accept that their children will whine and throw food is disturbing to me. Why aren't these parents teaching their children what is acceptable behavior? Here are a few things that I would like for parents to consider.

- When your child begins to misbehave in a restaurant, please be considerate and remove your child from the restaurant.

- If you can't get him/her to behave, then get your food to go.

- Make an attempt to clean up your child's mess in the restaurant.

- Let your child know that dining out at a restaurant is a privilege, not a right.

- It's not ok for your child to ruin the meals of everyone in the restaurant and you should not be ok with that.

- Maybe your child needs to be a little older before bringing him/her to a restaurant.

It is my guess that restaurant owners would rather lose the business of the family whose child cannot behave than every other customer who is annoyed by the child's behavior. Four restaurant owners have expressed their feelings about children by not welcoming them or by setting rules for behavior in their restaurants. Several years ago Dan McCauley, the owner of A Taste of Heaven restaurant here in Chicago, took a great leap of courage and posted a sign in his restaurant stating "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices". According to Dan McCauley "Children were climbing the cafe's poles. A couple were blithely reading the newspaper while their daughter lay on the floor blocking the line for coffee. When the family whose children were running across the room to throw themselves against the display cases left after his admonishment, Mr. McCauley recalled, the restaurant erupted in applause".

"Sprout owner, Dale Levitski opened his new restaurant in Chicago for brunch and kids were not allowed. Dale wants his customers to have a true adult-friendly experience. There will be no cheerio spilling in his restaurant.

Mike Vuick, the Pennsylvania owner of McDain's restaurant, decided to make his restaurant for people ages 6 and up. Mike is tired of obnoxious children.

Brenda Armes, the owner of Olde Salty in North Carolina posted a sign in her restaurant window that reads "Screaming Children Will Not Be Tolerated". Brenda was tired of customers complaining about children misbehaving when they are trying to enjoy their meal.

These are some very brave restaurant owners. I'm sure they got a lot of backlash from parents and some bad press as well. All of these owners feel as though there is a sense of entitlement with these parents that their families can do whatever they want because they are paying for services. I believe that these owners have spoken and they have said that you are free to spend your money elsewhere. The bottom line is parents need to be respectful of others when it comes to their child's behavior. I realize that no parent can control their child's behavior at all times. Parents need to handle the situation in an appropriate manner.

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