Earlier this week WTAE, a Pittsburgh ABC affiliate, reported about a local restaurant’s new ban on children under the age of 6. Mike Vuick, the owner of McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville, PA, reached the end of his rope with uncontrolled children in his restaurant and instituted the policy after receiving many complaints from his other patrons. The story was quickly picked up by the national media, including Time and The Wall Street Journal.
Though McDain’s has predictably been on the business end of quite a few outraged parents, it seems that even more folks are applauding the decision. According to the online survey on WTAE’s website, 64% are in favor of the ban and according to The Journal, Vuick saw a 20% uptick in receipts following the announcement.
Having not yet reproduced myself, perhaps it is easier for me to join the masses in smiling at the story. Perhaps once I’ve passed my genes on to the next generation, that empathy switch in the back of my head will flip, and a screaming, uncontrolled child in an age-inappropriate place won’t bother me. Perhaps.
I just got a puppy, so I’m going to make a canine analogy here. A trained dog is a free dog. You can’t let your pup run off-leash until you know that it will come to you when called.
The same goes for parents, kids, and restaurants. I don’t agree that there should be a sweeping ban on kids in a restaurant, but until your little bundle of joy is mature enough to go off-leash, maybe the best strategy is to stick to restaurants where a little ruckus and an temper tantrum or two would go unnoticed.
While many will make the airplane argument here, and I’m just as much a fan of sitting next to a screaming infant in coach as the next guy, that is a completely different scenario than dining out. Little Johnny doesn’t need to join Mom and Dad for a four-star meal just so he can make it to Boise for Christmas with the family.
Which side are you on? The “hire a babysitter” camp or the “I can take my kid anywhere” crowd?
-By Jon Watson, Food & More blog