Restaurant bans kids under 6. Discrimination or smart move?.

[deleted account] ( 12 moms have responded )

I found this article this morning and will comment on it later:

by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff, on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:41am PDT
At McDain's Restaurant, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, kids don't eat free. And starting next week, they don't get to eat at all. Mike Vuick, owner of the Pittsburgh area eatery has just announced a ban on children under 6 at his casual dining establishment.

After receiving noise complaints from customers about crying kids at neighboring tables, Vuick decided to institute the policy, which will go into effect July 16.

In an email to customers, Vuick explained: "We feel that McDain's is not a place for young children. Their volume can't be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers."

The owner of the "upscale, casual and quiet" restaurant explains to WTAE Local News, he's got nothing against kids in general, but their endless screams at public dinner tables are "the height of being impolite and selfish."

Last year, North Carolina's Olde Salty restaurant made a similar decision. Owner Brenda Armes posted a sign that read "Screaming children will not be tolerated", making it clear to parents when their kids scream, they'll be asked to take it outside. Armes said the move has boosted business, and Vuick is confident his ban will benefit McDain's as well.

But not everyone is on board. Some Monroeville locals are offended that they're being singled out for having young kids, and pointing fingers at noisy adults.

"If they're so concerned about noise, what do they plan to do about the loud people at the bar?" asks one local resident.

It's not illegal to ban kids from eating establishments, but some parents consider the move discriminatory, and potentially a violation of rights for certain special needs kids. What do you think: are kid-free restaurants a great idea or flat-out wrong?


Barb - posted on 07/13/2011




Here in Indiana it used to be the law that children (under 18) could not eat in places where the bar could be seen from the eating area. I think that has changed over the years since we have Applebees and of course the bar is the center of the restaurant. I guess they paid enough in lobbying to have that law changed.

Anyway, that was the distinguishing mark. If you wanted to eat at a kid free place you went somewhere that had a bar. If you wanted to take the kids out to eat, you went someplace that didn't have a bar. Of course the downside is the loud drunks at the bar, but they are usually quickly removed.. everyone likes to serve the drinks, they just don't like everyone to see the effects of the drinks.

Another distinction would be price. Most families don't take small children out to eat in places where the cheapest plate is $50.00. Would that be considered class discrimination?


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Barb - posted on 07/23/2011




I would like to point out that this restaurant is only banning kids under the age of 6. I guess they think that by the age of 6 that kids are more able to control themselves or at least maintain some decorum.

There does come a time in a child's life where they should learn proper table etiquette when dining out.. this of course should be started at home but put into practice at a restaurant eventually.

[deleted account]

I just realized I never came back to comment on this! Oops!

I can see why some people might be offended by this owners actions but some people have no common sense as to what restaurants would be apppropriate for the little ones. I would never dare bring my kids into an upscale or semi upscale establishment. Kids are wonderful but extremely unpredictable. I feel uncomfortable having my kids in a family friendly place and they have a mini melt down because they are hungry and sick of eating the bread, crackers or other snacks while wating for the food to arrive.

Ginger - posted on 07/23/2011




I wholeheartedly APPLAUD the restaurant owner for their decision to ban young children.

Now. BEFORE you get all pissy know this: I am the mother and proud as hell of my 5 sons. But I can pretty much guarantee that you are not so adoring of them. Why? Because they don't belong to you. You don't know them and you have no idea how they are in or out of the public eye.

Of course mine are much older now ...but when young I would NEVER dream of forcing my screaming meanies on any one else in a restaurant.

It's a matter of respect and consideration of others rather being self centered in your own world.

It may be that your child is tired and cranky and just needs a nap, but no one but you wishes to deal with that through an entire meal. Little ones are HUNGRY so whine and cry or struggle to get down and wander around. They throw things at people or on the floor creating messes that no one wishes to deal with and you usually wont either. You have no issue leaving the crushed crackers or spaghetti noodles on the floor under the table... or mashed into the walls... or guests sitting too close at the next table...

When your child cries you are geared to his/her sound, you're immune to it and usually know what it others it's a screeching cringing loud raucous worse than fingernails down a chalkboard.

No offense meant to parents of young children, that's just the way it is.

Yes you have every right to go eat out with children in tow but those without children or those who've managed to get a break from their children have a right to sit down and enjoy a meal too...

As for people being loud at a bar? Well sit away from the bar. I guarantee that should one of the patrons start throwing food, or screaming at other patrons that person would be asked to leave and under police escort should it be necessary. Ive seen it happen.

What you may see as minor and endearing others see as dining hell. No offense meant but it's the truth. There are PLENTY of places that you can take young children to dine. And as a parent you should know by now that it is not a matter of what you 'want' but what you should do in regard of your children. And it's going to be like that for at LEAST 18 years.

ANd one more little thing? WHY in the WORLD would you take young children somewhere to eat that is nothing but HELL for them? The waits are too long... the atmosphere is boring to them and its not safe to allow them to wander about. When you spend more time nagging at your kids to be quiet, behave, sit down, stop crying, don't yell, put that down, don't spill that.... the child learns to hate going out and becomes more resentful of the dining out experience... why put yourself, your child and complete strangers through that kind of nightmare for food that you will not be able to enjoy anyway? It's beyond me and completely boggles the mind....

Michelle - posted on 07/22/2011




Took it out of context, again, didn't you? I addressed YOUR 'ageism' issue. And some would argue that Hooters would fall under an 'adult club'.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/20/2011




Sorry, but taking my kid to a strip club, verses a restaurant???? Yeah, little different.

Konni - posted on 07/20/2011




I think it's a good idea. Not everyone loves my children as much as I do lol and if they want to go to a resturant and be guarenteed peace & quiet well go for it! It would only be a select few resturants that actually implement this, so I don't see the big deal. I know what it's like on the occasion when my husband and I go out for dinner without the kids and someone else's kids are there running a muck, I would prefer to go to a resturant with no kids on my night off :)

Michelle - posted on 07/18/2011




Private property rights. Just like some restaurants say "no shirt no shoes no service"...they can place age restrictions on them. Ageism? Discrimination? No...or else you'd be able to take your kid to a strip club. Or a 12 year old would be able to go to an "R" rated movie.
As a mom, I did what I could to make sure my then baby did not bother other diners when me and my ex were out. He loved eating out, but on the nights our daughter was fussy, moody, teething, or being a bratty toddler, I'd try to calm her down. If I couldn't, I was out the door, and he was either getting our not yet arrived entrees to go, or boxing them up to take home. Never, ever did it enter my mind to just sit it out. Both mine and his parents raised us better than that.
Now, she's 14, and when she's at a nice place with her dad and sees bratty kids, she'll tell them to "Be quiet and go find your parents!" Only once has a mom come back to reprimand her. And my then 12 year old said, "I bet you're the type to if your little baby collided with a waiter or waitress and got hurt, you'd blame them...and sue the restaurant. They're trying to work, and carrying hot food, hot drinks, and sharp knives. Also, the cups and drinkware are GLASS. It's dangerous..and you're selfish."
And I know this much....if me and my husband are going to spend the money for a nice, romantic dinner....I sure don't want it ruined by a screaming baby, a toddler throwing a tantrum, or a kid running around upsetting the wait staff. I would seek out restaurants catering to adults only.
(And those of you who want to know about 'loud adults'...well, when kids get jobs and can pay the dinner tab, then we'll consider your argument. Otherwise, it's just stupid.)

[deleted account]

I get it, and I have an excessively loud special needs child who is just the sweetest thing, but I do respect that where I've had 3 years to grow accustomed to and learned how to cope with his sometimes excessive volume and actions others have not. I wouldn't fit over there being a ban for a restaurant I just wont go there no biggie now if it was every restaurant I'd have a problem. I dunno I understand many people have amazingly well trained dogs who are like family to them but I don't neccessarily want to have them barking and running around while I'm trying to enjoy my meal, maybe the dog is just having an off day who knows but I think everyone has the right to be able to enjoy themselves without outright disruption. I love my kids and I'd never bat an eyelash if someone elses kid was being loud in a restaurant but thats me not everyone has the same values as I do and maybe a kid playing music with their silverware looks cute to me but to someone who has decided not to have kids its rude.

Another way I think parents should look at this kind of ban is, when its your date night and you finally get a breather from the kids do you really want to go to a nice restaurant and have to listen to everyone else's hollar and carry on? Time and place, Evening dinner at a fancy restaurant=no kids, lunchtime at chuck e cheese=kids, makes sense to me :)

[deleted account]

I saw this on another forum. Everyone there was all for it saying how annoying kids were. Needless to say most of them are either teens or in their early 20s without children.

I find the age the funny part. To be honest I've seen more 10 year olds act out in resturants than 3 year olds. At least with the 3 year old you know that they'll most likely quiet down when their food arrives. I've seen teens (with and without parents) trash a place, just because. Adults can be the most annoying when being loud, and when they get pissed nothing makes them happy. At least you can shut up the toddler with a cracker.

There is a resturant near us that is 21 and over. They have a lot of live entertainment and it's a hot spot for the young adult crowd. Doesn't really bug me, chances are I wouldn't want to take my kid in anyway.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/13/2011




I answered this on DM already, but will answer the same here. If they are going to ban kids, they need to ban ALL kids and make it an adult only establishment, otherwise I think it is ageism, and discrimination.

Amy - posted on 07/13/2011




I think it's up to the business owner. Depending on what they want their establishment to be.

As a parent, you take your kids to "practice" restaurants. -denny's, buffalo wild wings, etc/ Even pretend at home. Teach your children how to properly act at the dinner table. My kids know to sit at table until we're all done. Shouldn't matter what environment. Sit, eat, when we're done, we all get up.

Back to restaurants. They can do whatever. They're probably only lowering their business because parents locally will boycott. and imagine potential new customers who are driving through. oh, sorry, you must leave because you have kids. Bad news travels faster than good. however....he got lots of free advertising from it all. And don't parents sometimes deserve a spot to eat where they can get away from the antics of kids? The date spot.

So...I don't think it's a great idea, but it's not flat out wrong either.

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