Rowdy Kid - 300 - © Thinkstock

Tough Call To Ban Rowdy Kids From Popular Restaurant…

Ever wanted to ban rowdy kids when they’re running around your fave resto screaming while you’re trying have a nice quiet supper? What’s a humble restaurateur to do when customers complain?

Rowdy Kid - © Andy Colwell

Damned if you do and…

Nettie’s House of Spaghetti in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, finally took the plunge – coming down on the side of banning kids under 10. The one-off announced its decision public simultaneously on all its social media platforms Feb. 9 that they, “will no longer allow children under 10 to dine in the restaurant,” beginning in March. Their decision, they said, was necessary because, “it’s been extremely challenging to accommodate children.”

“We love kids. We really, truly, do,” Nettie’s social media post began. “Between noise levels, lack of space for high chairs, cleaning up crazy messes, and the liability of kids running around the restaurant, we have decided that it’s time to take control of the situation.”

A line in the sand

Posting something like that is, for a resto that on the surface at least appears to have a family-oriented mission, is like drawing a line in the sand. Everybody has an opinion and the vast majority are strongly emotional.

“We know that this is going to make some of [our customers] very upset, especially those of you with very well-behaved kids, but we believe this is the right decision for our business moving forward,” the statement concluded. “Thank you for understanding.”

Feedback has been mixed

“You realize all the parents who dined with you now are expected to spend additional money for a sitter,” @thismomslife wrote. “You own a restaurant, you should expect kids to be dining there. Will you be checking birth certificates at the door? My 8 year old is the size of a 11 year old.”

“Can’t help feeling this will backfire spectacularly[…]” Linen_guy wrote. “The finest restaurants in NYC can accommodate kids but Nettie’s can’t? Seems like the trouble is your patrons not the kids.” Talk about complicating the matter! Once you start telling people how to raise their kids, you’re just asking for trouble…

On the other hand

“Nothing frustrates me more as a single working mom then when I get the rare chance to go out (with adults and not children and not to an Applebees or kid friendly restaurant) and there are kids not only acting up but parents completely oblivious to it, and not even trying to discipline their children,” Instagram user @ssevinsky commented. “I applaud this decision and can not wait to come dine there!”

Jill Sorrentino-Wilson, who works in the foodservice sector, called it a ‘fantastic idea’ and wrote that she could empathize. “Kids [can be totally] out of control and most parents are oblivious,” she said

My take

I won’t cop out and sit on the fence. I agree with Nettie’s management, that kids running around, tripping up servers and disturbing other diners should not be permitted. It’s been my experience that kids get bored pretty quickly. And, when they get bored, they tend to ‘invent their own fun’.

Back in my day, when a nice cozy get-to-know-you dinner was a standard ‘second date’ scenario for a courting couple, anyone with kids knew enough to make appropriate arrangements to have the kids taken care of. Now, it seems Gen Xers and later entitled millennials apparently believe the rest of the folks at any resto they want to patronize should expect to put up with their kids – presumably so they (the young parents) can avoid paying a baby sitter. That’s just a load of BS.

What we’re really taking here is, the young parents are just demonstrating their lack of consideration for others, their ignorance of social graces that have prevailed for many generations long before theirs, and that blasted notion of entitlement many of them carry around like a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

Bottom line?

I’ll bet that, once word of Nettie’s decision to ban kids gets around, the resto will more than replace lost ‘family’ customers with new ‘adult’ customers.

~ Maggie J.