We look at all sides of the debate over this recent news story
The restaurant debate- is it okay to ban children?
Yesterday we covered a story about a woman being turned away from a D4 Restaurant as she had a 15 month old with her. The Manager of the restaurant told her that they did not cater for children between 12pm and 2pm but she would be welcome to come back after this time! According to one newspaper the Manager said “There are restaurants that are for families and that’s what they set up their stall for but we are not one of them”.
It has created a lot of coverage the last day or so, upsetting parents the country over and creating the debate whether it is ever right to ban children from a restaurant?
If restaurants start banning children, where will it end? Will it become customary to ban cheeky teenagers, or perhaps it will be customers that may require extra space? This would start a huge uproar, but vilifying these said restaurants will do irrefutable damage to their reputation.
Naming and shaming is common on social media but at what cost? These people have livelihoods and behind one manager/owner are a number of employees that are trying to earn a living, if their main turnover of profit is by adhering to a certain type of customer and dismissing another is that really so bad?
Is it ok if corporate business people on a working lunch meeting are interrupted by noisy or unruly children? For restaurants especially, when dealing with new customers and first impressions are imperative. These restaurants might end up losing that valuable boomerang business and at a trying time for the hospitality industry maybe we should accept that every business has a target customer.
How many of us have gone for a “quiet” meal with a partner only to have been ruined by a racket caused by other adults in large or small groups?! It is illogical to assume that children are the only ones capable of creating noisy environments? It is possible to have well behaved children enjoying a meal with their family.
Should the restaurnant association look into implementing a logo for child friendly restaurants and have it displayed on their websites as well as the windows/doors of restaurants that is instantly recognisable to the customer. This would have avoided the lady’s embarrassment of been turned away, if she had ample warning that the restaurant was geared towards business clients and not family friendly!
As there is a huge amount of restaurants in Dublin and any busy city, maybe it's better to plan ahead and book a table. On booking, advise the restaurant that you will be bringing a child and do they have facilities to accommodate you and your little party? A little pre planning never hurt anyone right? However this isn’t always the case and a lot of business in these restaurants is generated on impulse.
So is it ever right to ban a child from a restaurant? Fundamentally a restaurant can ban anyone for whatever reason, you may notice most (if not all) restaurants have a sign saying…“Management has the right to refuse entry/service” this (however frowned upon) is there to protect the owners. For families though (or in this case the lady) there is no such protection and while this very public spat is a storm in a teacup and it'll likely dwindle in the media in the next few days, I can’t help thinking that this debacle will continue outside of the media. For as long as restaurants don’t become clearer about their target punter (if any) and more families arrive to be refused at restaurants, this certainly won’t be the last we hear of this.
PS- the humurous image we supplied in this is comonly found hanging on walls in eateries