Banning Kids Better for Business [General]

2011 Nov 5

2011 Nov 5
This is as wrong as breed specific dog bans. It should be about banning the kids/dogs who can't behave properly in civilized society. I have no problem with restaurant owners asking disruptive people of any age to leave, but I've always enjoyed seeing small kids, dressed nicely, with good table manners in restaurants, and teaching kids how to behave in restaurants shouldn't wait until they are 6 or 7 years old.

2011 Nov 6
But how many times have you actaually seen a restaurant ask loud/disruptive customers to leave? I have never seen it happen outside of a bar. I wish restaurants would.

I was at burnt butter a few weeks ago and our dinner was ruined by the loud and obnoxious behavior of a table of 40-something women. We couldn't talk to each other, the server couldn't hear us. We skipped dessert/cofffee/after dinner drinks and got the heck out of there.

2011 Nov 6
In a couple of situations very similar to that, I've asked the waiter to cancel our order if they couldn't control their patrons. Only once I given a shrug, so we walked out and found another place. The other times I've done this, the waiter has gone to see the manager who spoke to the table and got them calmed down. Still, I've never actually seen anyone kicked out. They much rather talk about me quietly and send eye-daggers across the floor. I'm not easily intimidated or embarrassed, so this tactic might not work for everyone.

2011 Nov 6
I read somewhere about a town, where they did some research and determined that one legged people do not commit crime. So everyone in the town had one leg taken off and the crime rate went to zero.

The moral of the story? Kids are noisy and still learning. If we got rid of them, these problems would go away. And in a mere 30 or 40 years on, the human race will cease to exist.

2011 Nov 7
The bottom line is that a restaurant may choose to market itself as a child-free zone. The owner has to live with the consequences, positive or negative.

The interesting point from the article is that at least there, the consequences were positive - 20% increase in business worth of positive.

Obviously it could be a unique case, and no one has seen digits so we're taking the owner at his word.... but that said, how many restaurants does anyone know who would turn down a 20% increase in business?

Fiscal suicide for a family restaurant, but otherwise...

2011 Nov 8
Still such a policy it smacks of discrimination - age discrimination - and should not be allowed, even if it increases business. If they wanted to ban noisy patrons they could do that, because they would be banning behavior. But to ban a kid just because they are a kid, something which they cannot control any more than the color of their hair, eyes, or skin, seems retrograde to me.

So the rule of acceptable or not for me is not whether it increases business (would a white or black only restaurant be acceptable if it boosted business), but whether it is banning a group based on who they are (which is beyond their control), vs what they do, ie. their behavior, which they can consciously control. The former is unacceptable, the latter could be defensible.

2011 Nov 8
Francis, how do you feel about bars and nightclubs? I'm pretty sure kids are banned from those places already. Is that wrong in your opinion... What about strip clubs?

I find age discrimination distasteful too, but I don't think kids should be allowed in strip clubs -- not because they shouldn't see nudity but more because peeler joints give a somewhat unhealthy view of sexuality (my opinion).

There's a line to be drawn but as usual no clear place to draw it. :-)

2011 Nov 8
I blv bars and clubs, including strip clubs, have age limits because alcohol is served without food. The appraoch is that if you can show up and just drink booze, as opposed to consume food with booze, then the underage crowd is not allowed to be there. (as an aside, cinemas and theaters ban kids based on content ratings, not on the possibility that the kids will affect the adult patrons' enjoyment... )

Naturally that doesn't work for a restaurant that exists for the purpose of serving food.

But it's not as simple as the restaurants' decision to make re whom it wants to serve food to. These places aren't saying 'patrons of this race/color/gender/flavour/odour negatively affect the enjoyment of my other patrons'. This is not 'get to the back of the bus because you're not worthy'. Rather, it's saying to parents that THIER children are negatively affecting other patrons.

People tend to take that kind of thing personally.

Then again, people tend to take it personally when someone's charming toddler cranks the volume up to 11 and tries to replicate Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song... both the vocals and drum riff with cutlery... and the parents don't flee the premises.

So it's not discrimination, it's business. And yes, i know how that reads.

It's lose-lose... either the people with kids or the people without kids are going to end up pissed.

Y'know what makes the decision for me...? The people with kids can always come back without their kids. And yes yes i know... can't afford babysitting, shouldn't have to split the family, whatever... there are a ton of other places with great food absolutely thrilled to receive their dollars. They're not being punished.

So i fall on the side that says the restaurant decides which group it wants to keep happy in hopse of maintaining a successful business and lives or dies by
that decision.

2011 Nov 8
It's my understanding as well that under age people are permitted in establishments that serve booze AND food.

Does this mean I can bring my kids to a peeler joint if they serve food ? I want my kids to have a healthy view of sexuality.(my opinion)

Although these establishments are are open to the public, they are 'private property' and therefore can ask anyone to leave any time ... for any reason, stated or unstated. If they don't leave , they can be charged with trespassing. Is this not the case ?

2011 Nov 8
I have quite mixed feelings about this. In an ideal world, I think people should be left to make their own judgement. So if its me, I am not taking my 1 year old to Beckta, The Wellington Gastro Pub, Atelier or other "nicer" restaurants. In fact, she is not going to any place like that until she is at least 10 I think.

I definitely would take her to Montana's and restaurants comparable to that. I would likely take her to the Keg or to Moxie's which are certainly pricier if I could expect good behaviour (if she starts to regularly misbehave as she gets older she can have a visit with grandma when we go).

On the other hand, I would not hesitate to take my 13 year old to any restaurant in Ottawa or any restaurant anywhere. I took her to Atelier when she was 12 and probably would have done it when she was 10 as she is loves good food and is well behaved - at least when were out in public!

The problem is that its not a perfect world and sometimes people bring their kids to places where they probably should not. The key for me is the behaviour and not simply the age. If you have children that are well behaved and would not get bored by fine dining, it might be fine for a 5-7 year old to be there. However, I suspect that for the majority of children (including me when I was young) places like Beckta are likely to be dreadfully boring and encourage disruptive or loud behaviour. If I am at Montana's I really don't care that much. But when I go to a nicer restaurant I don't want my experience to be sabotaged by out of control/overly noisy children and/or babies. I want to be relaxed and take in a night of pleasure.

Having said all of this, I have to say the "no kids" policy does rub me the wrong way. When I hear about a restaurant that has such a policy, I am not positively disposed to it. I am not saying I will boycott it, but I am left with a bad taste before I even go there. But I say this with mixed feelings as I don't want my night ruined by a parent who makes a poor choice. I guess on this issue I find myself in the wishy-washy middle. Not necessarily a no kids policy, but a no kids policy if necessary.

On a more light-hearted note - a quick question for FF. With regards to children and an "unhealthy view of sexuality", I am wondering if kids should be permitted at Moxies - is it sexy good or sexy bad as the old thread says?

Personally, I would have no problem taking my kids to Moxies. I do like Moxies too - reasonably good food and nice scenery - but I frequently joked to friends I do wonder where the room is with the pole dancers when I am there.


2011 Nov 8

Well yes, under age people are not allowed in strip clubs, or bars that serve alcohol, or allowed to vote.

I guess that's the way it is, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily right.

In France kids are allowed to drink wine. They will sometimes give them a bit of wine diluted in water, and no harm done (I think). There are probably less alcoholics in France.

Strip clubs . . . well they probably wouldn't be interested in it anyway, until they became teenagers. So what we are really banning is 15 - 17 year old males. Good thing or bad? Well you could argue that sexual deviancy comes entirely from sexual repression. We know about island societies where there was complete nudity and open sexuality, and there was little violence (including rape). Perhaps violence comes from repressed sexuality as well. My hunch is a traditional society where people live and grow up in the nude could never produce a monster like a Paul Bernado. I personally see no benefit from not acknowledging the facts of biology with my children, but that's me (hey, it's not like they can't see worse than a strip club on the internet the minute they learn to use a mouse anyway).

Voting . . . you know, talking to my kids about politics over dinner (ages 13, 14 and 17) - they are far more knowledgeable on the issues than many adults. Perhaps the criteria for voting should be knowledge and not age.

@OSoloMeal, if the kids are quiet and respectful (behavior), then what's the rationale for banning them? Besides, how will our kids learn socially appropriate behavior if we don't give them the chance to in a real world setting?

@medcinejar, yes, it should be about behavior. We allow kids in church and they behave. We allow kids in libraries and they behave. We allow kids to witness childbirth (a no-no 30 years ago) and they fine with it. I think if we treat kids with person-to-person respect they will grow up that way - being respectful of others. And probably less rebellious as teens too - because there would be nothing to rebel against. It's kind of a Zen thing - every force evokes a counter force; every action an opposing reaction. What are we teaching kids when we ban them from places, or ban them from alcohol, or ban them from smoking etc.? Why surprise, surprise, those are the very things they want to have. You want the things denied to you, not because you intrinsically wanted it in the first place, but only because of the force-counterforce thing against the banning. That is not healthy.

2011 Nov 8
I can see both sides of the argument, but if I'm honest then my desire to visit a restaurant is inversely proportional to the likelihood of there being children in it. If I walk into a restaurant without a reservation and see a large party with children, I'm as likely to walk out and find somewhere else to eat - my experience is that single family tables are more likely to involve and pay attention to the children than large tables, where the anonymity and power of a crowd seem to give some parents the belief that their children can be left to their own devices while they enjoy the company of the other adults.

Whether the banning of young children will have a net positive effect on the number of customers is a decision for each individual restaurant, but I'd be annoyed at legislation that prevented them from making it.

2011 Nov 8
Just like France and wine, in Scandanavia they serve children beer diluted with water, from very young ages.

In Ontario it is a not very well known fact that there is no drinking age as long as someone is being served alcohol by a parent, at home. It is part of the alcohol act or whatever it is called.

EDIT : search for "by parent" in this doc (30-13)

2011 Nov 8
p.s. that doesn't mean that Child Protective Services couldn't take your kids away if they caught you doing it ...

2011 Nov 8
@johnnyenglish, interesting isn't it? You would be annoyed if the government banned restaurants . . . banned restaurants . . . from banning kids. Like a hall of mirrors isn't it? Would the government be annoyed if a higher power banned the government from banning restaurants from banning kids? :-)

2011 Nov 8
medicinejar, to answer your Moxie's question. They inevitably put children in the "dining room" part of the restaurant. I've never seen kids in the "bar" (aka short skirts) section.

Francis, my problem with strip clubs isn't nudity. It's the spectacle of leering and financial transactions -- artificial sexuality turned into a commodity. The question isn't whether kids would be interested or not, it's more how seeing what goes on there might hurt their developing values and sexual consciousness. When one gender is gyrating for the entertainment of the other (fully clothed and paying) gender, the sexuality is unidirectional and financially driven. This does not teach a child gender equality nor give them a healthy view of sexuality! As a former nudist I would have no problem taking my kids to hang out with naturists but I would not want them to witness a strip club. I have the same complaint about many hip-hop/rap music videos. Objectification of women (or men) does us no service as a progressive civilization. You can't go from leering at "ho's" to treating women with the respect they deserve in the real world.

Also, I'm pretty sure kids are allowed to drink wine here too. It's up to the parents. If you give your 14 year old a small glass of wine at a meal, nobody is going to do anything about it. Yeah, what zymurgist said! :-)

2011 Nov 9

Good points.

I think our society, and media are already saturated with sexuality (or it's caricature) turned into a commodity. Kids are already exposed to that everywhere from TV and the internet.

Muslims have often told me, wrt the Burka, that it prevents men from having lustful thoughts and objectifying women. But evidently banning evidently solves none of that. There is even Burka porn on the internet (face covered, body exposed). Perhaps it actually makes it worse?

And if banning was really the answer, why stop at 18? Why not ban these things, such as strip clubs, from adults too?

After all, prohibition did not stop alcohol consumption. :-)

2011 Nov 9
@Francis re "@OSoloMeal, if the kids are quiet and respectful (behavior), then what's the rationale for banning them? Besides, how will our kids learn socially appropriate behavior if we don't give them the chance to in a real world setting?"

I don't think any restaurant just randomly decides to do this. I do think, in fact i'm quite certain, that it's based on experience with patrons who bring their kids where those kids have a real negative impact on other diners. And no doubt there are an equal or greater number of perfectly lovely children with impeccable table manners who have passed through the same restaurant. But if they were the vast majority, the restau wouldn't have made this decision in the first place.

And it's not the restarant's responsibility, or the other customers', to teach anyone else's children anything. It's the parents'. And maybe it takes a village, but it appears that a large chunk of the village doesn't want to fulfill someone else's parenting duties at dinner time in a nice restaurant.