Sunday, October 21, 2012
As a parent, I feel compelled to write about children's presence in restaurants. I love when young people go out to eat with their parents and know how to conduct themselves in a manner that lets me know they have manners in a public place. Young people should be exposed to all types of culture and places at a young age, so, they can learn how to act when they are in restaurants. Not all children are unruly and obnoxious in restaurants, blame the parents lack of discipline or rules not instilled in them and allowing their children to act in such a destructive manner. I've eaten at several restaurants that do NOT cater to children for this rule and I've even noticed as a disclaimer at the bottom of menus "If your children are not behaving properly, we have the right to charge you an additional $20". I won't mention the restaurants name, but I did laugh when I saw that the restaurant charged people with unruly children for this reason. Does this mean that young people have to be a certain age in order to dine out with their parents? I don't think that it has to be that drastic in order to achieve the ambiance for other guests that are dining in your establishment. As an adult with children, seeing restaurants take a stand in order for their other paying customers to have the same exact dining experience as a child, makes me believe that they aren't holding the young people's interest at heart. Yes, they are "just children" and sometimes you can please them with simple foods like chicken tenders and mac and cheese, and they'd probably be excited. Adults dine out for totally different reasons and do not wish to be bothered unlike children who are very engaging and highly interactive when they eat. First, you must treat children as a paying patron as well (although they are not physically paying for the check), it pleases the parents, and it gives you a sense of trust with that child. I've noticed whether if I serve or if I'm Floor Manager that evening, if I engage with children and not acknowledge the adults at the tables, I usually get an honest answer or a handful of spaghetti (dripping with pasta sauce) and a smile from the adults. Children are sponges and will only do what they see and what is allowed. I don't treat children like adults, but I will make sure that I acknowledge them, so they won't feel ignored. In order for you to enjoy all of your "Tasty Bites", even with your little ones, keep in mind you were a "little bite" yourself!!!! :)
Chef Tara L. Browning
P.S.- Provided below is a link to a few Kid-Friendly establishments here in Atlanta... Check out the city nearest you!!!