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Babies/Children in Restaurants (merged topic)


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#1 Mark Sommelier

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 12:56 AM

Some of you know, I work in a very high end restaurant. I had the pleasure of working Christmas Eve and Christmas this year. This happens occasionally in our place, but, these two days saw lots of infants. I'm not talking about quiet, sleeping, adorable babies. I mean the kind that are squalling, talking loud, cholicy, throwing food and untensils, and screaming. What do you do? What can you tell these parents? Lots of other clients were visibly unhappy about the noise. People don't expect babies at Daniel, Jean-Georges, Bouley, Trotter's, or my place. What the hell do you do? Can't tell people not to bring babies. Can't throw them out. Real dilemma. What do you think? Have you had an expensive meal ruined by an innocent baby?
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#2 Pan

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 01:04 AM

I think the restaurant has the right to throw out customers who won't or can't control the behavior of their babies, within reasonable limits.

#3 torakris

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 01:08 AM

As the mother of 3 children under the age of 7, I feel that the parents know their children the best and should give consideration to the other customers. If have a 6 year old who can sit quiety and enjoy the meal then fine, but if your 3 year old has an attention span of 30 seconds and enjoys flinging things across rooms.
Can a restaurant not refuse children?
There are restaurants here in Japan, not even that fancy, that have signs saying they don't allow children......
Even one of the restaurants at the Tokyo American Club has that sign....

Personally I would not take my current 3 kids to a restaurant of a level higher than Denny's unless I had too, and I have been to some nicer restaurants with my in-laws and I spend the whole time fretting about keeping the kids occupied that I can't enjoy myself.

The moment anyone of my children starts fussing, crying, throwing things (even in a Denny's) it means it is time to take that child outside for a little while.

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#4 Fat Guy

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 01:19 AM

There's no easy answer. Obviously the restaurant can exercise a variety of remedies ranging from polite requests to get the kids under control to outright ejection. But there are consequences to those actions. If Mark's restaurant throws a family out on Christmas Eve at 8pm, it's going to make it onto the local 11 o'clock news. There's only so much a restaurant can do to impose the fundamentals of human civilization on its clientele. People are supposed to learn all that stuff in kindergarten; if they need to learn it from the maitre d', the situation is already so far gone that no easy solution is likely to be discovered.

Most high-end US restaurants, in my experience, choose inaction or various forms of passivity in these situations: they either do nothing, or if they're not full they'll move people to different tables (primarily, they'll move the people who are upset by the noise, rather than the noisemakers).

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#5 Bux

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 01:24 AM

I had lunch at Daniel once (when they were serving lunch, of course) and a table of three women arrived with a sleeping baby in a carrier seat. I think the kid slept through their entire lunch, although maybe the mom took it out of the dining room once. More than anything I was impressed with the bravery of the mother, but I suspect she knew the kid would sleep and be quiet. The baby was surely a newborn. There was no distraction and I have no reason to suspect that if there was crying, the mother would have wisked the baby away.

There are two things I don't understand, or at least for which I have no sympathy. That's management that has strict rules about infants and children regardless of their behavior and parents who bring their particular child to a place that is either not fit for the child or for which the child is not fit. Come to think of it, I guess the latter breeds the former.
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#6 Pan

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 01:43 AM

When I was a little kid, I was taken to Jewish delicatessens and Chinese restaurants which were used to having children there. I was also a pretty well-behaved kid, though one who did have a limited attention span at the age of 4 and enjoyed playing with the proprietor's son when we went to Nam Wah. I'm not sure my folks were going to high end restaurants when I was little, but if they did, that must have been on nights they hired someone to babysit me. I'm not sure how old I was when I first went to a high-end restaurant, but I do remember going to the Imperial Room in Kuala Lumpur repeatedly from the ages of 10 to 12 and behaving maturely. That said, though the Imperial Room was certainly a high-end place by Malaysian standards, and the atmosphere was usually a bit quiet and dignified, it could also be celebratory on days when there were large banquets. Children were not an uncommon sight there, and I remember seeing some Chinese kids who were too young to know how to use chopsticks eating with a spoon or with their hands. Their parents made sure they didn't scream and carry on, however.

I remember going with a friend to a Mobil 4-star restaurant in Lenox, Massachusetts, when I had some spending cash left near the end of a stint in Tanglewood as a 15-year-old. My friend was also 15. The staff seemed a bit nonplussed by our presence unaccompanied by adults, and I recall that the service was palpably rude as a result, but we didn't let that spoil our enjoyment of the food and etting, and from what I recall, we dressed up some (we were 15-year-olds but musicians!) and behaved appropriately. I feel sure that was the first time I went to a restaurant of that category without an adult (IIRC, the bill for my food was some $22.50 in 1980), but I'm equally sure that I had already been taken to some fancy restaurants in New York by my parents; I just don't remember which ones.

Edited by Pan, 26 December 2003 - 02:31 AM.


#7 budrichard

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 02:11 AM

I have never had this problem from either aspect as we would have never took our children to such an establishment until they understood what was required. If I did experience this, I would explain to management that this was ruining my dining and they had a choice, control the other diners with child or I would leave and expect not to pay for what I had orderd.
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#8 Louisa Chu

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 03:52 AM

Many high-end restaurants around the world do not allow babies in their dining rooms - ages vary, and private dining rooms are a whole other ball game.

#9 tammylc

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 06:28 AM

This is an interesting question for me, since in a few months I'm going to be a parent and having to make those choices.

I love visiting high end restaurants. I don't live in a city that has much in the way of culinary offerings, so for me this means I'll often seek out a special occasion restaurant when I travel. Next year, I'll likely have a little one travelling with me some of the time, and I won't always be in a situation where there will be qualified child care available to me. I'd like to not have to abandon fine dining altogether in those situations, since my opportunities to indulge are so limited!

Anyway, I'm interested to hear what people have to say. One thing I've seen suggested frequently is to aim for the earliest seating, so I'll be finished by the time the dining room fills up. And obviously the 4-5 hour many course tasting menus are completely out of the picture.

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#10 fifi

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:16 AM

I have very strong opinions on this issue, from the diner's perspective. Children (I will define that as somewhere under the age of 12) do not belong in high end restaurants... PERIOD. I really wish that restaurants could make that a policy up front. My kids are in their 30s now and we didn't take them to high end restaurants until that age and that was after they had gotten rid of their "training wheels" at more suitable dining establishments. Of course, it also depends on the child. My daughter was ready for the finer places at about age 10, my son maybe a little later. Of course, by the standards of some of today's parents, I would have been judged a tyrant of a parent and probably faced intervention by a state agency. I insisted on civilized behavior with a lot of lessons on consideration of others, particularly in public. (THE HORROR!) Of course, this was a lesson that took years for them to learn, one step at a time. Were they always perfect? No. I have had to remove them from the premises when that next step up proved to be a bit of a stretch. But I didn't give up and would try again. What I ended up with were two kids that liked to go to a nice restaurant with friends... on their own... as early teens. (This would usually happen when we were traveling and they met some folks at the hotel.) Being a sneaky and meddling parent, I would call the restaurant the next day and get a report. It was always a good one, usually with a large helping of surprise. The whole process required effort and thought with a long term goal in mind. The same was true for any social occasion, not just dining.

It is really a shame that clueless parents put the restaurant staff in the proverbial rock-and-a-hard-place situation. Maybe they were raised the way they are raising their kids. That is a scary thought. A second generation of self-absorbed navel gazers that have no social skills? Bleah! Put up a sign... NO CHILDREN!

Is it any coincidence that the newest burdgeoning cottage industry is "etiquette training" for new hires in the corporate world?

BTW... My applause to those parents out there that are still raising their kids the "old fashioned way".
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#11 hjshorter

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:27 AM

I have a 4 1/2 year old and a 19 month old. I would never in a million years consider taking them to a place like Citronelle. We go to family oriented places, or get a sitter and go alone. Period. And we go early, so that the kids can be home in time for their baths and bedtime.

While we are in the restaurant the must stay in their seats and we bring things for them to play with quietly at the table. We also never ever take them to places that allow kids to run around, like Chuck E. Cheese, because they will think that wild behaviour is appropriate sometimes.

The US seems to be full of parents who think that thay can have children and still lead the lives they had when they were single. Inappropriate restaurants are just on aspect of that, along with dragging the kids out to the mall obviously well past their bedtimes and taking them to inappropriate movies...
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#12 SethG

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:30 AM

People without children often feel they have to tread lightly on this topic, because they fear they'll seem insensitive. But since I have two small children, I feel no such trepidation.

You shouldn't bring really small kids to premium restaurants like Daniel in New York, or Mark's place in D.C. You just shouldn't do it. Other diners have likely reserved a lot of money for a special night out, and they don't want to hear your kid screaming, even for a second. They don't need the stress of WORRYING that your kid might start behaving badly and ruin their special night. It isn't fair to them. If you can afford a night at such a restaurant, you can afford a babysitter. And if you can't leave your kid with a sitter, there are numerous-- hundreds, thousands, it doesn't matter where you live-- of places you can eat that are very nice and are known to be family-friendly.

I also think Bux's example may be the one exception to the rule I outlined above. Very small infants-- I mean less than four months old-- often sleep for long stretches of the day. During such times, I believe it might be acceptable for a parent to bring the child to a premium establishment for lunch or a very early dinner. But even then, I wouldn't begrudge any super-fancy restaurant the right to say "sorry, no infants." Restaurants have no reason to trust what parents say about their kids' behavior.

There seems to be a creeping permissiveness towards children (and I mean real youngsters, not 10 or 12 year-olds) in places like high-end restaurants, movie theaters, even (as I saw once, to my extreme displeasure) in concert halls. I have no patience for this phenomenon. Parents with young kids are deprived of certain entertainments they once took for granted. This has always been true. With time, freedom returns. In the meantime, there are many ways to seek entertainment and good eating without spoiling others' pleasure.
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#13 Katherine

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:30 AM

As the mother of 3 children under the age of 7, I feel that the parents know their children the best and should give consideration to the other customers. If have a 6 year old who can sit quiety and enjoy the meal then fine, but if your 3 year old has an attention span of 30 seconds and enjoys flinging things across rooms.

Clearly, it is not the case that parents are the best judges of their own children's behavior, otherwise we would not see children running around a dining room, throwing food (and leaving the mess behind for someone else to clean up), or screaming. Or perhaps they judge their own children's behavior well, but fail completely on the question of how that behavior should fit into a restaurant situation.

This is an interesting question for me, since in a few months I'm going to be a parent and having to make those choices.

I love visiting high end restaurants.  I don't live in a city that has much in the way of culinary offerings, so for me this means I'll often seek out a special occasion restaurant when I travel.  Next year, I'll likely have a little one travelling with me some of the time, and I won't always be in a situation where there will be qualified child care available to me.  I'd like to not have to abandon fine dining altogether in those situations, since my opportunities to indulge are so limited!

Anyway, I'm interested to hear what people have to say.  One thing I've seen suggested frequently is to aim for the earliest seating, so I'll be finished by the time the dining room fills up.  And obviously the 4-5 hour many course tasting menus are completely out of the picture.

The important thing is that you need to be flexible. You need a backup plan if the child is unexpectedly cranky, and can't be expected to sit for an hour. You probably won't ever be able to plan a meal much more than an hour's duration between the time when your child is 6 months old and becomes completely adult-like in behavior, except when you can arrange for child care.

If you are willing to be flexible with their bedtimes and naps, you can often arrange wakeup periods to occur coincidentally with the time you wish to be at the restaurant. By keeping a child up late, and delaying a nap, you can often arrange to have them well-rested and happy when you need them to be.

If you do not have a dining partner who is willing to share the responsibilities of taking the child outside, there is no way you can count on being able to remain at a restaurant when your child's behavior is intolerable.

#14 alacarte

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:35 AM

I think the restaurant's hands are tied unless other patrons complain about the screaming child(ren) in question. And shooting dirty looks doesn't count.

#15 john b

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:44 AM

We knew that when we decided to have kids, we'd have to give up movies and restaurants for a few years. It appears, after seeing toddlers in R rated movies and babies in "nice" restaurants, that too many parents are not willing to make that same sacrifice.

Children do not belong in upscale restaurants until their manners and attention span are developed. We take our kids out for pizza, to Friendlys or to diners. If one misbehaves, I take them out to the waiting area or the car. They're way too young (the oldest is 4) to even consider going anywhere else to eat.

I think diners are a good training ground for kids.
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#16 Bond Girl

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:45 AM

I usually do not mind babies, infants and toddlers in a high end restaurant as long as the parents know their children and can control them reasonably well. What I can't deal with parents who insisted on taking their obviously cranky child into a restaurant and then ignores all the screaming, crying and wailing. I am aslo somewhat conflicted about women who insisted on breast feeding their child in a high end restaurant. On one hand, I think it's every woman's right to breast feed their child whenever and whereever she feels like, on the other hand, I find sitting at a table with woman opening breast feeding her child is somewhat embarrassing. Then again, I don't have any children.
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#17 Pan

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:48 AM

There seems to be a creeping permissiveness towards children (and I mean real youngsters, not 10 or 12 year-olds) in places like high-end restaurants, movie theaters, even (as I saw once, to my extreme displeasure) in concert halls.

Seth, as a musician, I disagree with the idea that kids shouldn't be brought to concerts. Kids are the audience of tomorrow and should be introduced to live music. If you think your kid will behave reasonably, bring him or her. Your responsibility as a parent, then, is to take the child out of the hall immediately if s/he starts crying or otherwise starts making noise and won't stop, and to stay out until or unless the child is ready to be quiet. Any parent who doesn't take that responsibility should be thrown out of the hall by management. But the fact is, musicians don't expect absolute silence at concerts, and hearing coughs and such-like proves that you are listening to a recording of a live performance, not a spliced studio recording.

When I was 8, my attention span was too short to sit through a whole concert at Tanglewood, so my parents and I came to an agreement: I wouldn't bug them and would sit quietly for the first half, and then I would walk home a few hundred yards to the house we lived in for the summer and let them enjoy the second half of the concert in peace. The following summer, when we were at Yale Summer School at Norfolk, I was mature enough to sit through concerts quietly. I also began studying the flute that summer.

#18 Fat Guy

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:49 AM

I agree with Bux that a blanket prohibition would be unfortunate, though I can see how a large number of parents with poor judgment could force a restaurant to make this unfortunate choice.

I also think it's important to point out that sometimes parents just have to deal with the genetic hands their children are dealt. Quite aside from all issues of good parenting and judgment, some kids just have strong propensities towards quietness and calmness, and some will be poorly behaved even if you religiously apply every known form of behavior modification.

Tammy, here's hoping you get a quiet baby!

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#19 Katherine

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:50 AM

I am also somewhat conflicted about women who insisted on breast feeding their child in a high end restaurant.  On one hand, I think it's every woman's right to breast feed their child whenever and whereever she feels like, on the other hand, I find sitting at a table with woman opening breast feeding her child is somewhat embarrassing.  Then again, I don't have any children.

People should not be offended by the fact that breastfeeding is occurring, but at the same time, breasts need not be displayed for breastfeeding to occur.

#20 fifi

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:51 AM

Heather, you bring up a good point. The Chuckee Cheese places of the world aren't helping. I never thought about that. Bravo to you for not buying into the madness. :wub:
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#21 alacarte

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:51 AM

I usually do not mind babies, infants and toddlers in a high end restaurant as long as the parents know their children and can control them reasonably well. What I can't deal with parents who insisted on taking their obviously cranky child into a restaurant and then ignores all the screaming, crying and wailing. I am aslo somewhat conflicted about women who insisted on breast feeding their child in a high end restaurant. On one hand, I think it's every woman's right to breast feed their child whenever and whereever she feels like, on the other hand, I find sitting at a table with woman opening breast feeding her child is somewhat embarrassing. Then again, I don't have any children.

and on the "third hand," breast-feeding, even at the table, is probably one of the most effective ways of quieting a wailing baby in a restaurant.

#22 Fat Guy

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:54 AM

Just to bring some focus here, because we've had discussions in the past about children and babies in restaurants and will surely have more, I'd encourage everybody to keep Mark's original question (the topic of this thread) in mind: how can restaurants respond to poorly behaved kids.

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#23 docsconz

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 07:56 AM

I don't think one can or should make a blanket statement about whether or not any kid should be allowed in a high-end restaurant.First off, I think parents should be considerate. If the child can't hack sitting still and not being noisy they shouldn't bring them to a high-end restaurant at any time. However, if the child can do it and has a positive track record at lesser establishments, then I have no problem with it. I have successfully done so with my boys over age 8 in such places as Toque, Tabla, Eleven Madison Park, Union Square Cafe and Bouley. The fact that they were good and they enjoyed their meals made the meals that much more enjoyable to me. They are now 14 and 12 respectively and are both great to take to high-end places. My 4 y/o, on the other hand is not quite ready for prime time, although we are training him at more family oriented places.

One thing to realize, in my experience a poorly behaved child in a restaurant is not a pleasant experience for the parents either.
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#24 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:13 AM

Having just spent the last 14 years considering this question on a fairly recent basis, I have some pretty strong opinions on this subject.

1) high end dining is not for kids. Until a person is old enough to sit still, help hold up a conversation, and read and be interested in a menu and at least some parts of a decently prepared and served meal, I do not believe that parents should subject either the children or the other diners to "an attack of the bored, unhappy children".

2) The other thing is that, while I am hardly a poor person, I am not willing to shell out the big cheese for a meal that is likely to be constantly interrupted by bored children or shortened by my worries about annoying other customers (I am, after all, Southern and rediculously worried about being polite and not being a nuisance) .

How old is old enough? I think that depends entirely on the children and the dining situation at hand. Both of my boys are at this point, fairly well traveled by pretty much any standard and have eaten in some wildly varying situations (street food in the third world to white linen in the first) and are pretty comfortable trying new things and rarely scream out "eeeeuuuuwwww!!that's gross!" (just don't EVER put any escargot in front of them :shock: ). They are smart enough to ask a few questions about things before they order (origin of the food and the method used in cooking or not cooking it) and will pretty much eat anything.

We did not take them on anything above the level of local family places until the oldest was ten or so (they are now 14 and 11) and the first time either of them saw really good sit down dining involved a couple of Holiday situations in New Orleans that were pretty good practice, as there were lots of other children and they were all expected to behave, so there was lots of peer pressure and that helps.

Do you have to make some personal sacrifice and maybe not go to some of the places that you would normally go when traveling? Yes, but so what? We just looked at it as an opportunity to try something new. I really don't like sitting next to ill behaved children in restaurants and don't want to subject anyone else to the bored quirks of mine and expect the same in return.

On the other hand, an older adolescent or a young teenager can be an excellent dining partner. They are inquisitive and,if they have been fed a fairly diverse diet at home, will be interested in just about any kind of food that looks good (and sometimes even more interested in something that looks scary-and that can be fun too- "Here bubba, these fried crickets are reaalllly gooood with hot sauce" :laugh: ). They are usually eager to talk about the food and the history of it, something that many adults either take for granted or are just not interested in.

Anyway, to sum up the dining with kids deal-don't do it until they are old enough to behave and enjoy the experience. It is a waste of money, a waste of your time and thiers, and really not fair to the other diners or to the young people in question. There are plenty of places that are kid friendly and still nice places to dine. There will be lots of time for fine dining later. Spend the first few years trying to broaden their tastes for different kinds of food and give them a wide range of experience. You will be glad you did this later on when it is time to start eating a little more upscale.

Sushi is a great place to broaden children's experience. Sushi bars are generally extremely kid friendly and there is plenty of stuff for them to eat besides sashimi. Tapas is another good place to start. Actually, any ethnic food with a wide variety of choices can be very helpful to broaden the experience. My kids both love Thai food and actually scan strip malls for likely looking spots (all truly great Thai Family Dining occurs in suburban strip malls :laugh: ). They also love noodle shops (once again, strip malls) and part of this is that the places are always so nice to children.

Anyway, start em out young and give them as broad a range of experience as you can, both at home and away, but keep the kiddies out of the sit down and pay big places until they are lod enough to enjoy it. It is not fair to them or to the other diners around them.

Edited to say that while I was typing Dsconz said the same thing but in a much more concise manner. :wacko:
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#25 Katherine

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:17 AM

I've often thought that in a multi-room restaurant that expects children, one room should be set aside for families with children, and other loud or distracting parties. When my child was small, I wished at times that there was such a room I could request being seated in.

#26 Fat Guy

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:18 AM

The thing about generalizing is that there are almost always exceptions. However, generalizing is just about the only intelligible way to interpret the world and therefore policies are often made based on statistical generalizations: if a high percentage of kids can't behave in restaurants, and a high percentage of their parents bring them anyway, restaurants are left with little choice but to impose a ban. Those who are exceptions to the rule need to live with the ban as well, just as an excellent 10-year-old driver can't be given a license.

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#27 Alex

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:31 AM

Some of you know, I work in a very high end restaurant. I had the pleasure of working Christmas Eve and Christmas this year. This happens occasionally in our place, but, these two days saw lots of infants. I'm not talking about quiet, sleeping, adorable babies. I mean the kind that are squalling, talking loud, cholicy, throwing food and untensils, and screaming. What do you do? What can you tell these parents? Lots of other clients were visibly unhappy about the noise. People don't expect babies at Daniel, Jean-Georges, Bouley, Trotter's, or my place. What the hell do you do? Can't tell people not to bring babies. Can't throw them out. Real dilemma. What do you think? Have you had an expensive meal ruined by an innocent baby?

Mark, I strongly believe that management can, and should, ask that a disruptive child be removed from the dining room until the child's behavior is appropriate. Whatever ill will you might create with the child's family will be more than compensated by the appreciation (and potential return visits) of the other diners. If the family refuses to do so, they should be asked to leave. Comp part of the check if necessary. I mean, what would management do if two adults kept up a screaming argument or insisted on wandering uninvited from table to table? I also think it's perfectly ok for a restaurant to set whatever policy they would like concerning children, although I would focus on behavior rather than an age limit.
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#28 wawairis

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:31 AM

I think they should be forbidden. If they are allowed entrance, as soon as they started whining, wandering, or screaming they should be removed immediately from the dining room.

(I don't have kids)
Iris

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#29 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:33 AM

And, since my answer was not exactly keeping with the topic (although I do believe my answer would make the subject matter here moot) I will address the actual topic.

I think that the burden is on the parents, but since some people are so callous towards the rights and privacy of others that there needs to be policy.

Seat them as best you can away from other diners. Provide what you can in the way of efficient, speedy service, and get em out as quickly as you can. Is this fair to the parents? Yes. They are the one's that brought the kids, so they can hardly expect to linger at a table for three hours over coffee and after dinner drinks.

If a baby gets loud and stays that way? Ask the parent to remove the child from the dining room until the child calms down. Once again, remember, they brought the kids. It is not the restaurant's fault that the child is cranky (nor is it the childs fault) so, in my mind anyway, the reponsibility is all on the parent. If they are unhappy with the service as it relates toward them and the child, too bad for them. They brought the child, they should be expected to do their best to keep the other diners from being annoyed.

The dining establishment should certainly excercise their right to ask a patron to remove his or her self from the dining room until the child calms down. Or for good if it continues to happen. And yes, the diner who brought the child should still be responsible for food ordered even if they have to leave due to a child that is annoying other diners.


There. I've solved that. Next Problem? :laugh:
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#30 prasantrin

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 08:33 AM

Children tend to behave better when confronted by strangers than by their parents. When in the same vicinity as crying, badly-behaved children, I will more often than not talk to them. It tends to shup them up quite quickly, since they are usually quite surprised to hava a stranger speak to them. When I say "talk to them" I do not mean (necessarily) in an angry or scolding manner. If a child is throwing food around, for example, I might say, "Are you throwing food? [child stops and stares] Do you like throwing food? [child might nod] Other people here don't like it so much. Maybe you should stop." All said with a calm and light-sounding voice. It works more often than not with most children, but there will always be those who will burst out crying, instead :biggrin: .

It also help to distract the children. However fine an establishment, having some crayons or pencil crayons and paper around for emergencies would not be too much of a hardship.

If that fails, I don't think there's anything wrong with asking one of the adults in the group if they wouldn't mind taking the offending child(ren) out until they've calmed down. It must be done in an apologetic manner, of course, for fear of offending the adults (whom I think are offensive if they allow that type of behaviour from their children--doubly offensive for allowing it in a public place).