Should Restaurants be Allowed to Ban Kids?

Caruso’s Fine Dining in Mooresville, N.C. bans children under five years old. In Del Ray in Alexandria, Virginia, The Sushi Bar has gove even further. Owner Mike Anderson, the father of three, has an official ban in place at The Sushi Bar, banning all children under the age of 18. While not a common practice, banning children in public places is not exactly unheard of.

  • In July of 2011, McCain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, PA sent out an email to their patrons that going forward there would be no children under the age of 6 allowed in their restaurant.
  • In March of 2011, Chicago restaurant, Sprout, began a “No Kids” policy during their brunch.
  • In Singapore, there are more restaurants with variations on a “No Kid” policy

Discrimination or Smart Business?

Are restaurants that specifically ban kids discriminating kids haters or are they, smart business people? I say the latter, and here’s why: First, it should be noted that Mike Anderson, owner of The Sushi Bar, also owns two very kid-friendly restaurants: Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow. Couple that with being the father of three of his own kids, it’s highly unlikely that he would ever qualify as having “Kid Hate”.

His idea, mirrored by others in the industry, is that parents and non-parents alike deserve to have a place to just relax and have a break from kids.

It’s not the fault of the kids

There was a time that restaurants would not have had to ban kids, because kids were taught to the behave-in public if nowhere else-and those days are long, long gone. Today you can walk into any public place and witness rude and unruly kids doing whatever they want as their parents seem to be completely oblivious to their disruption-or worse, in support of it… “sure Timmy, see if you can climb that endcap display-I’ll post it on YouTube.”

While these restaurants may seem like they are targeting kids, they are really targeting parents. The truth is many parents are doing a bad job at raising their kids, and it shows. Whether it’s because they are afraid of being a mean mommy or the not-so-fun daddy, they are not covering the very basics of parenting with their own kids and the people that interact with their kids are forced to deal with the outcome.

Parents can be fun and have kids that behave

Really. It’s not even that hard. Love your kids, support your kids, nurture your kids, and set boundaries for your kids.

They are our children, not our BFFs, and if we are not teaching them how to behave, how to respect boundaries, how to give respect to others and how to have compassion for others, then we are doing our children a great disservice.

The real world is going to chew them up and spit them out when they grow up and parents can thank themselves for that.

Our answer is “Yes”

Yes, businesses should be allowed to ban kids if they feel like kids are disrupting their customers’ experience.

Strip clubs do it, many bars do it and if parents continue to turn a blind eye to their kids’ disruptive behavior you can expect even more businesses to join in on the practice. If you do not like the policy, don’t spend your money there.

Just because some parents can overlook their kids’ screaming and dinner roll throwing as they enjoy a glass of wine does not mean that everyone else can-or that they should have to.

I’m rarely without my kids so I would not be able to eat at some of these places, but that’s okay with me. I know that my kids are not the problem but I’ve been around enough kids that were the problem that I get it.

Some parents live so much of their lives surrounded by chaos because they don’t know how to parent or they are more concerned with being ‘liked’ than being a parent, that they don’t realize that the rest of us do not live that way, and do not want to. Ever. And, we shouldn’t have to.

I was raised in a “Children are to be seen and not heard” household. I raise my own children in a modified “Children are to be seen and heard, but should act like they’ve got some home training and common sense” style that works for us and it shows in their report cards, their teacher’s comments, their accomplishments, and personalities.

Kids aren’t bad, they behave how they are taught to behave.

There are millions of places that parents can take their children and let them run amuck, if that’s their thing. Now, there are places for adults that don’t want to deal with the muck a running while they eat. Something for everyone!


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