Most restaurants want to cater to their customers’ whims and needs as much as possible. And so they serve the food customers like, remember their names, and in general, make the atmosphere welcoming and conducive to bringing in future business.
But some restaurants are having to turn away customers – and not because they don’t have room for them. What these restaurants can’t handle is the children.
The latest restaurant to ban children from its premises is Hampton Station in Florida. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the restaurant was quite attractive to families with children, particularly since it uses action figures as part of the décor. But owner Troy Taylor recently put an end to allowing children through the doors for one simple reason:
“The no-kids decision, he said, was the end result of ‘a lot of people who couldn’t keep their kids under control.’ He wouldn’t share specifics, but pointed to a recent incident as the catalyst. He’s sure he would have been sued had the worst happened.”
Taylor’s restaurant is not alone. Earlier this year, a North Carolina restaurant owner took a similar action. The final straw was when staff could not persuade a little girl’s parents to turn down the volume on her iPad.
And these establishments are not the only ones that have wrestled with out-of-control children. As the Tampa Bay Times goes on to explain, other restaurants have had to post clear rules regarding children’s behavior so they can point them out to parents when children need to toe the line. The reason for this, one restaurant worker noted, is clear: “I think there’s been a big shift in how people are comfortable disciplining their children, especially in public.”
Dr. Leonard Sax would likely agree. In fact, he goes so far to say that today’s parents are raising their children in a culture of disrespect – one that allows them to behave like children far past the age when they should be trained to act like respectful, mannerly adults:
“I think you should treat kids like grown-ups. I think you should expect them to be mature and to behave, and I think that’s what it means to treat someone like a grown-up….”
Not surprisingly, many parents are upset about their children being banned from Troy Taylor’s restaurant. But should they really be?
The fact is, no individual is going to make a very big success in life if they can’t control their attitude and actions when they’re with others. Instead of lashing out at restaurant owners like Taylor, do parents need to take such an incident as a warning of what their children will encounter as adults if they do not take the time to instill mature, respectful manners in their children while they’re young?
[Image Credit: Flickr-Obama White House]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.