Is it ok for restaurants to ban kids?

A restaurant owner has made headlines for deciding to ban kids from dining at his joint.

It wasn’t a fine dining restaurant, either – it was a burger bar.

But scratched tables, broken chairs and destroyed menus pushed Fabian Prioux, owner of Abbey Road Burgers, Bar & Café in NZ, over the edge.


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Sick of paying to repair the damage that kids were causing, he introduced a ban on any guests under the age of 12… and says since making the move, he says it “has been like heaven”.

When I first read the headline, I thought he was going to be obliterated on social media. “How dare he!” I expected the comments to rant. “This is an outrage!”

That’s not quite what the response has been, however.

“We’ve had some great feedback from people saying that it was a good move,” he says. “Even some parents with kids have said it’s great because when they go out they don’t want to take their kids with them, and they hate going somewhere where it’s going to be noisy.”

And that right there is why I think his policy just might work!

Here’s the thing: I’m a parent. I eat out with my kids begrudgingly.

Anyone with children can attest to the fact that dining in a restaurant with your family isn’t generally a fun experience. Kids don’t like sitting down for long, so they’re restless. To earn the ability to eat our chicken without being interrupted, we throw screens in their faces or cover the table with crayons, markers and colouring books.

Then there’s the worrying about whether they’re being too loud, too boisterous, too messy, too annoying for the other patrons… All of this makes the experience slightly fraught.

Well, for considerate parents, it does.

Because here’s the real truth of the matter. This isn’t a ban on kids. It’s a ban on crappy parents. The ones who let their kids run around restaurants and cafés unabated, and don’t reign them in when they’re screaming, chasing each other, and crashing into waiters.

If we could ban thoughtless parents, that would be ideal. Until then, I guess a child ban in restaurants will have to do!

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