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Restaurant Bans Kids Under 6: Good Idea or Bad?

A Pennsylvania restaurant riled some parents recently when it announced a new policy banning children under the age of 6 from its dining room.

As of Saturday, McDain’s Restaurant of Monroeville will no longer admit children under six, according to an email its manager sent to customers:

“We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

Unlike senior citizens, children are not part of a protected class, so there’s no law that prevents a restaurant from banning them if it chooses to do so.

One commenter at Huffington wasn’t very pleased with this manager’s explanation:

“I hope HIS restaurant GOES under with in [sic] a YEARS [sic] time. Who HATES children??? The owner sounds like a real LOOSER [sic] with no sense of humour and a personality of a ROCK…

But there seems to be a fine line a business owner is forced to walk.

He can either admit everyone and potentially lose customers who are bothered by children who are screaming, or he can refuse to serve young children and lose customers who want to bring theirs into his eatery.

I’ve talked to friends who have children, but who have complained about other people’s children screaming and throwing fits in restaurants. So it isn’t entirely a parent vs. non-parent issue.

How would you feel about a restaurant that took such a stance? Would it make you more likely or less likely to eat there? If you have young children, would that policy make you consider going there on a “date night” without your kids?

Restaurant Bans Kids Under 6: Good Idea or Bad?
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7 comments
deborrahc
deborrahc

Actually, the restaurants that ban children have all reported an INCREASE in business and much happier adult customers. I had a child and only took her to kiddie type places, never to a classy restaurant. Who wants to be bothered with kids when you are trying to have a good time? And I hate these OLD parents that waited until they were 40 (mom) or 48 (dad) to have children. Now your grandparent-aged behinds are too tired to make your children behave in public. You never tell them "NO!" or "STOP THAT!" or make them sit down and act like they have some sense when in restaurants. I think more businesses should enact such a policy. I hate that here in California children can come into restaurant bars. They have the whole rest of the facility to be in, and when you are trying to drink and talk openly about adult subjects, these parents have the nerve to try to tell you not to say those things because there are children present! GTFOH and go home then. Ugh.

TedtheThird
TedtheThird

Restaurants have more subtle ways to let you know if its a kid friendly place or not. The absence of a kids menu, high chiars, etc. is a pretty good indication. You can still go, but generally you won't. We know which restaurants have changing tables in the restrooms and stuff like that and make our choices accordingly. If you want to avoid kids, go later.Most of us have them in bed at a pretty early hour.

paigeworthy
paigeworthy

Yeah. Sorry, but I think this is ridiculous. Good for him doing what he wants to do, but I think his business will suffer as a result. Hell hath no fury like a mommy blogger scorned…or parent advocacy group…or book club…

Banning anyone from your restaurant seems pretty silly these days. I heard about one restaurant that instead of banning kids would offer a rewards program for well-behaved children. If they used their inside voices throughout their meal, they could get a free dessert next time they came in.

psalm23
psalm23

I wish more restaurants would have the nerve to do this--not all, of course, but nice places that anybody with a brain would know are not set up for kids. Some people are too dumb to get this, however, so they have to be TOLD that kids aren't welcome. And, yes, I am a mom, and I adore children.

patricksplace
patricksplace moderator

@paigeworthy The reward program is definitely a customer-friendly option for parents...and I think it'd say quite a lot to the patrons who've complained about the noise.

Is it reasonable for patrons who don't have young kids to have to sit through a meal with a screaming child in cases where parents aren't able to control their kids, though?

patricksplace
patricksplace moderator

@psalm23 Are there actually times when you'd WANT to go to a restaurant that you knew young kids were banned from?

psalm23
psalm23

@patricksplace Sure. When our son was younger, there were many times when the last thing we wanted to hear when we were out on a 'date' was the sound of a child; that was the whole point in paying a sitter and getting out of the house!