Children and Dining Out-Reaction to Cafe Owners Decision to Kick Moms & Kids Out:

If you haven’t already heard about this story on social media, here is the link to bring you up to speed.  Basically, a cafe owner kicked two moms out of her restaurant because their children were being too loud and too messy.  To pour salt on the wound, she then posted a picture of their mess on Facebook. (see image below)  As you can imagine, people everywhere had something to say and that includes Mommy Masters!!!

Crumbs Everywhere

Here are my initial thoughts on this issue:

  • Kids are kids and they make noise and messes!  Get over it!
    • We can’t expect children to not make a crumb when eating, as much as I wish that were true.
    • Even though it might take longer for restaurant staff to clean up after children as opposed to adults, should parents not be allowed bring them out to eat?
    •  I get dirty looks all the time from people when I dine out with my three children, all under the age of six.  Even if my 17 month old is simply babbling too loud, I get the stink eye.  At least he isn’t whaling and freaking out.  If the sound of a baby entertaining themself while smiling and exploring their food bothers you, eat your pancakes at home!
  • If she doesn’t want people to mess up her ugly carpet, don’t own a restaurant.
    • If the restaurant doesn’t specify adults only, she can’t complain.  I wonder if she is the type of woman who makes people take off their shoes if she throws a party in her house.
  • Does she seriously consider that a mess(referring to image)?  You should see the floor after we dine out with my 17 month old.
    • I don’t know about you, but all I see are a few crumbs.  After my son is done eating, it looks like we could actually open a restaurant with the amount of food on the floor.
    •  If they are big items, I always pick them up and I think the staff appreciates it.  I often get told, “don’t worry about it…we’ll just vacuum it up”.
    • In one restaurant we often venture too, the staff puts down newspaper under the highchair which I think is brilliant.  This way, neither them, nor I, need to stress about the mess.  I recommend more places do that, especially that horrible cafe owner.
  • Does she own a vacuum?
    • Seriously, she could have cleaned up that mess in a matter of minutes with a vacuum.  What if an adult accidentally knocked over their plate or their drink?  Would she kick them out too?
  • Clearly she has too much time on her hands to be posting negative images like this.
    • I get it, she was frustrated and angry so she decided to let the world know about it.
    • Maybe she should be spending her time in anger management or patience classes instead.
  • Is she a mother?
    • I can’t imagine she is a mother because if she was, she would get it and clearly she doesn’t.
  • I wonder if other diners complained or if this all came from the owner.
    • If people were complaining, then I understand that as the owner, she needs to address the issue. However, kicking people out of her restaurant and making a scene is not the solution.
  • How can she think kicking people out of her restaurant for something so ridiculous is okay, especially when it involves children?
    • Asking these people to leave was drastic and she could have handled it a better way.
    • Were the children being loud, annoying and creating a mess?  Perhaps, but if you own a restaurant, you are in the people business and she needs to reevaluate her manners and approach.
  • Did the mother recognize her child was having a tantrum and remove him for a few minutes to calm him down out of respect for the other patrons?
    • It’s definitely up to the mother to discipline her child and address any tantrums or meltdowns at a restaurant.  I will side with the owner on that thought.
    • If my child is carrying on at a restaurant, I will take him into the bathroom or even outside for a few minutes, out of respect for others dining.
  • Were the moms ignoring their children or addressing their behavior?
    • Again, I wasn’t there so I don’t know details but I do know that it’s definitely up to the mom to pay attention to her child and make sure he is behaving appropriately in a public place, especially a restaurant.
    • Perhaps she was busy chatting with her friend and the children were getting away with inappropriate actions.
  • Did the owner politely ask them to please step outside for a few moments while the child calmed down?
    • As a restaurant owner, she has to make sure all of her clients are happy and I get that.
    •  If the children’s behavior and mess are causing her to lose business then I understand her frustration.
    •  I hope she confronted them in a nice way though before she took the drastic step of throwing them out.
  • Did the moms apologize for making the mess or attempt to clean it up?
    • It’s really impossible not to notice if your child is creating a huge mess on the floor of a restaurant.
    • I have been in that situation many times and always attempt to pick the larger items up but in no way am I going to get down on my hands and knees and pick up crumbs.  That’s what vacuums are for.
    • If I wanted to clean up after myself and my kids, I would have eaten at home.
    • Even so, it’s always a good idea to at least recognize the mess and apologize so the waitress knows you empathize with her.

Here’s How NOT to Get Kicked Out of a Restaurant with Children! 

  • Before your waitress even hands you a menu, apologize!
    • Apologize for what’s to come, including the loud squeaks, spilled drinks, and the meal that will most likely end up on the floor.
    •  Trust me when I say she will appreciate you addressing the issue, and you warning him/her with add a little humor to the situation.  If she doesn’t crack a smile, you may want to run.
    • Suggest putting down some napkins or newspaper under the highchair to catch the mess for easy clean-up.
  • On the way to dinner, make sure you have a discussion with your children about the expectations you have for them.  
    • Everyone is expected to sit in their seats and stay there, use their manners, use their inside voices, etc.
    • This actually works with my kids and all I need to do is give a look if they stray.  Usually a dessert threat comes in handy as well!  
    • If your plan backfires, and at times it will, at least you know you tried.
  • Do not take your kids out to dinner if they seem tired, cranky or had a bad day.  
    • You are asking for trouble so just stay home!
  • Take your child out to dinner early when other children will be dining.  Wait staff will be more patient and know what they are in for.
  • Make sure and bring toys or something to occupy your children until the food arrives.  
    • I don’t allow playing video games at the table so we utilize the time to bond as a family
      • Using the alphabet, try and name items in the restaurant that begin with each letter (if you have little ones).
      • Talk about everyone’s day.
  • Set a good example and apply the no phone rule to you as well.  If you are paying attention to your phone, you are most likely not paying attention to your child, which means he can take advantage and act out.
  • Make sure before you go out, you are also in the right mood to handle what may be ahead.  If you are tired, cranky and already inpatient, you will less likely to handle a situation in a calm manner.
  • Know when it’s time to go.  Don’t linger after your meal.  Pay the bill and head out the door.
  • Leave a nice tip for your waitress, who has most likely worked extra hard for your table.  
    • This way when you come back, she will remember and continue to give you great service, despite the extra work.
  • Let your waitress see you attempting to help clean up.  
    • Pick up any larger items off the floor, i.e. silverware, a roll, an entire chicken breast, etc.
    • In my experience, you will usually hear, “Don’t worry about it…we’ll take care of it”.
  • Apologize to the table next to you if you feel your kids were louder than they should have been.
    •  I always do this with a bit of humor and everyone ends up with a smile.  
    • An example might be, “Have a good night.  Enjoy the quiet portion of your dinner now.  So sorry if we were loud”.  I usually get back, “No worries…we have grandchildren so we understand.  They are adorable!”
  • If someone is constantly giving you dirty looks and you feel they are unwarranted, you have two choices.
    •  A good stare back usually sends the right message.
      • Some people just have no tolerance for children and for them, I feel bad.
      • How many times have you been out to dinner and some adults are so loud and annoying, you want to kick them out yourself?
    • You can be the bigger person and ignore them, which is hard to do.
      • You know your family is enjoying themselves and everyone is acting appropriately so who cares what anyone else things.
      • Perhaps this person is having a bad day, just heard some bad news or is just not a happy person.
  • Lastly, if you know your children are their worst behaved when out to dinner, stay home and you will be doing everyone a favor, including yourself!

To all the moms (and dads) who dine out with your children:

Next time you dine out with your children, be aware of their behavior, be sensitive to the restaurant and other diners, and think about how you would feel if you were your own waitress.

To all the restaurant owners and waiters/waitresses:

Next time you see a table with children, be patient, be kind.  Understand that you might not be the only one irritated by the loud noises and mess, but the parents are most likely also frustrated, embarrassed and ready to walk out the door.

Mommy Masters would love to hear your opinion on this topic and your experiences dining out with your children!