All parents know that there are certain restaurants that cater to kids with children's menus, coloring pages, and booster seats. They can bring their kids for a family meal without having to worry. But what about those restaurants that seem to come with a "no kids allowed" sign? The subject of adults-only restaurants is a hotly-debated topic that makes parents wonder where their little ones really are welcome.
The rules are different for every restaurant. Some places love having families during the day, but they close their doors to children during the dinner hours so adults have a more mature and relaxing environment. Most parents have no issue with an adults-only window, especially if they've been waiting for a date night. In many cases, the establishments leave it to the parents to use common sense. Restaurants with loud music, expensive menus, and no child-friendly options just don't cater to kids. Adults may leave it to the restaurant to decide, allowing them to serve who they want at their discretion, which takes some pressure off the parents. With this in mind, the restaurant needs to be wary of discrimination when admitting customers since it is technically illegal to refuse a customer based on their age.
Unfortunately, parents know more than anyone how plans can fall through. If the babysitter cancels, they're left with only one option: take the kids with them. And when a restaurant enforces a no-children policy at the door, these parents are left frustrated. If a parent is refused service for bringing a child into a restaurant, they may never come back, losing business for the establishment and possibly giving them a bad reputation. Some places accept that there are no guarantees when it comes to childcare arrangements, and they allow kids at the parents' discretion.
The touchiest subjects involving this debate are the other customers who may prefer an adults-only dining experience. Restaurants need to listen to what their customers want if they want to stay in business. Adults looking for a fun night out probably don't want to hear crying or yelling from children, and parents who want to spend time with one another don't want to have to worry about feeding or cleaning during a date. It doesn't matter how good of a parent you are or how well-behaved your child is. Sometimes people just want a child-free environment. On the other hand, some may argue that it depends on the child. Many people wouldn't see an issue with a well-behaved child dining with their parents. They may not even notice them. It only matters if they cause a disruption for the other patrons.
This debate continues to stir controversy, especially since some more modern restaurants are enforcing a plain "no children allowed" rule that wasn't there before. In most cases, the choice is left with the parents. It's best to use common sense when choosing a restaurant for your little ones to eat at, and family-friendly choices will ensure a pleasant dining experience for everyone involved, including the other customers.