A Pennsylvania restaurant is making national headlines this week for banning patrons under the age of six. The owner says the decision was based on the noise level and general bad behavior often displayed by this age group and their parents’ failure to control it.
Parents, let me be the first to admit I’ve so been there and done that. There’s a phase a lot of kids go through, beginning at about 18 months, that makes dining out almost impossible. The volume is unusually highly. The attention span is insanely low. Throwing food is a favorite pastime. This isn’t a result of bad parenting, it’s just a phase. And believe you me, it’s not fun for anyone. We left several restaurants before coming to the conclusion we needed to focus our efforts on take-out for a few months.
My question is this – would a child-free restaurant in the Grand Strand take heat for such a policy or have a reservation list two miles long? It’s rare that I get the opportunity to dine out with my husband sans kids. It’s not fun when someone else’s preschooler becomes a fixture at your table, expecting entertainment. “Hi!” “Peek-a-boo!” “Mmmmm, carrots. Some? Eat?” “Hi…hi…hi…hi!” It’s less fun when the parent of said child gives you a smile, shrug and offers, “He’s just so curious. He loves people. What can you do?” I have a few suggestions.
I don’t think we’re on the cusp of a new trend in restaurants, especially not in our own family-centered Myrtle Beach. That would, obviously, hamper profitability. But if there were a handful of child-free restaurants, how likely would you be to dine in them, assuming the location, atmosphere, and menus were appealing?
Want to read more? Check out the latest on the Myrtle Beach for Families blog.