Is it ageism or common sense to ban rowdy children?
A few months ago I wrote about a handful of restaurateurs that discouraged diners from bringing children into their establishments. And many of you commented, the majority (parents and non-parents alike) saying things along the lines of "all kids don't need to be banned—just the badly behaved whiny ones who use mashed potatoes as projectile devices and run around like the Tasmanian Devil on amphetamines." (I may be paraphrasing a bit here.)
But now Mike Vuick, owner of McDain's restaurant just outside of Pittsburgh has officially banned anyone under age 6 from coming through the doors, starting July 16. "I'm doing this on behalf of all the kind, refined people who have e-mailed me who have had meals ruined," Vuick told the Wall Street Journal. "I've decided someone in our society had to dig their heels in on this issue."
One regular customer emailed Vuick to suggest he ban kids after a certain hour or partition off a kids-only area, but said he wouldn't concede. "All children do not have meltdowns, and I don't feel I should have to suffer the repercussions," said the customer, Stephanie Kelley, who has a one-year old son.
Still, response to the ban seems to be favorable so far. Sixty four percent of 10,000 people polled by a Pittsburgh TV news station support Vuick's new policy, and business was up 20 percent on a recent night.
I have three nieces under the age of 3 and they are very well behaved at restaurants, casual and formal alike. But I also know that their parents are very conscious of scheduling their meals out at times where they aren't tired and cranky, as well as providing games and diversions for the times when the kids aren't so interested in their entrees. So while Vuick—and other restaurateurs that discourage kid diners—have already made that choice, it's equally important that parents are considerate of the restaurant atmosphere as well.
What do you think? Is Vuick justified in banning children at his restaurant?
CLARISSA CRUZ is the Fashion Features Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the former Style Editor of People magazine and has written for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Food & Wine, and Budget Travel. @clarissanyc1