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Jul 10, 2011 04:10 PM

Restaurant bans children under age 6 - What do you think?


Noise Prompts Pennsylvania Restaurant to Ban Kids Under 6

Published July 09, 2011 | Associated Press
MONROEVILLE, Pa.-- A restaurant in western Pennsylvania says it's no longer allowing children under age 6.

McDain's Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville says the new policy will take effect July 16.

Restaurant owner Mike Vuick said there's "nothing wrong with babies, but the fact is you can't control their volume." He said all that screaming and crying disturbs many of his customers.

Some restaurant customers said they support Vuick's right to set rules that he thinks are best for his business. But others said they're offended by the policy.

See the rest here:

Personally, I think the restaurant owner can do anything that he thinks is best for his businss (within the law of course). This should be interesting.

I cannot recall a recent restaurant visit we have had that was impaired by the behavior of small children, although I know it has happened in the past.

  1. I get the idea that the restaurant owner can do what they want. But what if they decided that they wouldn't serve people over 65? Or they won't serve women? It's a slippery slope.

    9 Replies
    1. re: donovt

      I'm pretty sure what you suggest is illegal. The courts have already ruled that adults only establishments are legal. There are apartment buildings and other places that are for adults only and also for those where being 55 years old or older are a requirement to get a lease.

      1. re: John E.

        Yeah, that's what I get for breaking my "no posting after drinking all day" rule.

      2. re: donovt

        Restaurants usually have the right to refuse service to anyone but could get into trouble if they systematically discriminate against a protected class. Don't think kids fall into that category, though.

        Clearly, kids are not the only ones that could disturb other diners, but I don't see any reason why a restaurant couldn't have a policy against both kids and rowdy drunks.

        As for kids in restaurants in general, there are some restaurants that cater to families, but for those that don't, that's what babysitters are for.

        1. re: donovt

          The elderly along with others are a protected class, not so with children so that scenario does not apply.

          1. re: Duppie

            This may be apples and oranges but I believe that in California it's still against the law for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone with children.

            1. re: bobcam90

              I think that aspect only applies to housing and there may be exemptions for senior housing.

              1. re: nocharge

                Thanks. I had a feeling that was the case.

              2. re: bobcam90

                When I specified a protected class, I used it in the context of a food service establishment and not housing laws,where children are not to be discriminated against unless it is deemed a adult community, or a adult medical facility.Most certainly apples and oranges

                1. re: Duppie

                  Yep. nocharge set me straight :)

          2. I also agree that the owner should be able to run the business as they think best but as pointed out, it is a slippery slope.

            An arbitrary age number isn't going to solve all of their noise or disruption problems. What about a rowdy, drunk crowd of twenty somethings? What about mentally disabled people who may not have the same filters about noise that someone else would have? Etc.

            I would prefer to see businesses have a general policy about behavioral standards and then reserve the right to not serve people who don't meet them, irrespective of age or whatever. But that takes having the cajones to actually do so. It is a lot easier for some people to stand behind an arbitrary rule.

            It will be interesting to see how this goes.

            10 Replies
            1. re: jlhinwa

              Great point. Bad behavior is NOT limited to children. As stated elsewhere in this thread, I have had more issues with over-21's (and probably up to 70), than children. Much might depend on the restaurants, that we frequent, but still - more adults are total boors, than most children.

              Going back some years, we were dining in a lovely South San Francisco area restaurant. All was excellent, except for one table, that was having an office-party, moved from the office. They were shouting and screaming, while others, around them, were trying to enjoy an evening of "fine-dining." The management approached that table several times, but were ignored repeatedly. Finally, the GM walked to the table, and directed the group (six youngish adults) to leave immediately. As he escorted them out, the entire dining room (full at that point) stood, and everyone applauded. When done, everyone went back to enjoying their food. Not one child in the unruly group. Any, were with family members in the dining room, and no one even knew of their presence.

              It is more to do with behavior, and less to do with age.

              Still, were I a restaurant owner, I would try to make the majority of my patrons comfortable. I am just not sure that this would be my choice.

              At about six years of age, I was introduced to both Antoine's and Galatoire's in New Orleans. I knew what to do, and what to not do, and my parents were right there, should I have gotten other ideas. In those situations, I learned a great deal, and would not trade them for anything, but understand other diners' concerns. In a lesser restaurant, I once stood up in our booth, and spoke to the diners behind us. My mother took me aside, and explained that such was never done. I should have known better, but learned that lesson. Along the way, there were others, but they ONLY happened once, and were never THAT bad.Still, they were NOT appropriate. Some came, after the age of six. Having a sign - "you must be this old," or "you must be this tall," might not have worked.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Unfortunately, not all parents are like yours were! Discipline in some households is nonexistent. I resent going to a very nice restaurant and having my evening ruined by an unruly child, on the other hand I resent my evening being ruined by unruly adults, usually alcohol related,which I have run into far more then the unruly children! It is the responsibility of the manager of the restaurant to take care of what ever situation arises! K

                1. re: Mother of four

                  I agree...this is a good start but should be extended to drunks, loud shriekers and the like.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Loud drunks = higher revenue

                    Loud kids = less revenue

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      You can make the dough off getting them drunk..just throw them out when they start to make noise....I once told a restaurant-owning friend to put a locked box out front (sort of like a "suggestion box".) Suggested he put a sign on it that said "Deposit you money here [name some figure] and go home. Tomorrow you'll be just as broke but you'll feel a lot better." he never took me up on it.

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        Well, "loud drunks" = lower revenue from me, and I have been known to spend a bunch on fine wines. I try very hard to avoid loud, unruly restaurants, and have been mostly successful. In the instances, where I have not, the management has been notified, and the reviews reflect my impressions.

                        When looking at restaurant reviews, I look closely at dB levels, and for terms like, "live music," "big-screen TV's," "sports bars," and similar.

                        Just my way of thinking,


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Convesely, there are customers who actively seek out noisy restaurants since this indicates the place is trendy, hip, and has lots of "buzz" wheras a quiet restaurant where you can focus on your meal is often described as "dead." There are numerous restaurants that serve excellent food but I still avoid because the place is a deafening echo chamber.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Oh, I do agree, and they are welcome to them. They are just not MY style.

                            Most of my favorites would easily be described as "dead" by many.

                            In the end, all they will miss is the conversation with their guests.


                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              and then there is a 3rd type who seeks out good food, and the noise level of the place is not a primary consideration.

                      2. re: Mother of four

                        Establishments "bounce" unruly drunks. But heaven forbid that you ask a parent to remove a screaming child. Now that's a law suit waiting to happen. I see nothing wrong with having an adult only eating establishment.

                  2. If one has children, younger than six, then I would look elsewhere.

                    Unfortunately, unruly children have ruined many a meal for me - though unruly adults have ruined many more.

                    I greatly welcome well-behaved children, and relish having them around me, while I dine. Though I have no children, so long as they are young ladies and gentlemen, they can sit at my table, or near-by. Unfortunately, they are not so common anymore, though I cannot pinpoint the why. Maybe their parents are the unruly adults, with whom I also have problems?

                    Many years ago, a high-end restaurant seated us below a table (raised about 4' below another level) with two children, probably 6 and 8, with their governess. I expected the worst, and it was our anniversary. All that I can say was that the two children were perfect, as was their governess. They were an absolute delight to have near.

                    To me, it should not be about the age of the patron, but the behavior of the patron.

                    Just some observations,


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Your post reminded me of when I was growing up in a small town, (no governess) our family would go out for birthday dinners at one of two restaurants in town that had tablecloths. That's how I differentiate a 'nice' restaurant from what are now casual restaurant/bars like Applebee's, TGIFriday's, etc. Anyway, we would get dressed up and go out to dinner as a family, my brothers and I would take turns pulling out the chair for our mother, holding the door etc. Years later I was talking about those birthday dinners with my mother and she said something like, "you know what we were doing don't you, we were teaching you manners and how to behave in public". I was the youngest, but I'm sure these dinners started when I was younger than five years old. I was a little disappointed in myself when it came time for birthday outings for my own family we ended up doing the Chuck E. Cheese thing when they were young and more recently Texas Roadhouse type places. The 'nice' restaurants in the city are a little too pricey for family birthday dinners.

                      1. This reminds me of a story about a fancy hotel in Cap D'Antibes in the South of France (where they really love their small dogs, so much so that dogs sit at the table in numerous restaurants and have their own seat and meal with their owners).

                        A dog at the hotel bit a child.

                        So the hotel banned children.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: smartie

                          Ha! I saw lots of dogs in the restaurants in the South of France, Bordeaux and Carcasonne.

                          1. re: smartie

                            Ha! I'm sorry - but I really love this.

                            1. re: uwsister

                              Me too! Businesses should be free to attract whatever type of patrons they want to. plus I am a dog person, not a child person ; )

                              1. re: MissMechante

                                Id rather see a babies in a restaurant than a urine and feces stained floor.

                            2. re: smartie

                              Having both dogs and children, my experience is that it usually is the child's fault.

                            3. It is their restaurant, so it is their choice.

                              In this economy, if a restaurant wants to limit their patrons, it might be their loss, but I believe it is still their choice.