So we’ve all heard about it by now…as of this weekend a restaurant in Pennsylvannia, McDain’s, is banning kids under age 6. Here’s the article. So should this spark controversy? Does it bother you? Would you patronize the restaurant?
I understand those that want to dine without whining, screaming or diners who are not behaving. I am one of those too. However it’s hard to draw a line. Can we also ban loud talkers? How about large parties who are laughing and too loud (acting like they are the only diners in the place)? How about an older adult with a hearing problem? What about a foul mouthed couple? Or what about a 7, 8, and 9 year olds? How can you prove your child’s age?
I don’t have a problem with banning children at some fine dining restaurants (though from the picture of McDain’s, I don’t think that qualifies). There I said it. I too like to go out on a date with my husband and not be listening to loud or crying babies and children (my own or otherwise). But perhaps it’s less about an all out ban of all children with the arbitrary age and more about times and expectations of dining out. I don’t expect small children to be out at prime date time (say 8 pm), but coming to the same restaurant at 6pm with kids seems reasonable. And I think it is acceptable for a manager to ask a patron to step outside if there is a crying baby in the restaurant (or a movie theatre or anywhere else a parent isn’t being considerate of other patrons).
As always it is more about the parents than the children. I would like children to be able to eat in good restaurants, whether they be casual or more upscale. My children enjoy experiencing all types of restaurants both locally and when we travel. I have met friends for diner at casual restaurants who allow their children to stand up in a booth or crawl under a table. My kids can’t believe it either. These are not families I want to dine with at a restaurant or at their (or my) home. Parents should take the time to teach good table manners at any type of restaurant and at home. However if never setting the expectation or exposing children to a restaurant better than one with a toy surprise or kiddie menu, then they’ll never know how to be good diners at any age.
I don’t blame the restaurant for taking control, I blame the parents for not taking it. What do you think?