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Anna Papachristos | August 14, 2013

No Respect, No Manners, No Service

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food-fighting-1.jpgOnce upon a time, in the not-to-distant past, parents began teaching their children manners at a very young age. Children learned to respect their elders, be kind to others, and behave properly in public. But, as many restaurants are beginning to notice, parenting appears to be headed down a different path, leaving these establishments no choice but to take drastic action in response.

Recently, numerous small restaurants across the country have been making national news for banning children who disrupt the dining experience. For La Fisheria in Houston, TX, children under 9-years-old are not allowed to dine after 7 p.m. to prevent noisy, rowdy disturbances from bothering other patrons, while Rainy Days Caffe in Lake Stevens, WA, made the decision to selectively refuse service after one particular incident. Lorraine MacDuff, owner, told ABC News that she asked one family to leave after the child stomped crumbs into the restaurant's freshly cleaned carpets. MacDuff then posted a photo of the messy floor on Facebook to highlight her appreciation for those who respect her business, but was met with dissention and controversy.

No matter the restaurant, the public seems torn. While some find such measures to be exclusionary and extreme, others appreciate the sentiment. Many parents bring their children into these establishments, but neglect to control and discipline their kids when their behavior gets out of hand. They allow their offspring to run rampant, turning the restaurant into their own personal playground. In such cases, the problem does not lie with the establishment for implementing such rules, but with the parents who refuse to set boundaries.

These owners retain the freedom to refuse service to certain patrons, children included, and by asking families to leave, they display their gratitude to those who consistently respect their establishment. Owners across America, just like MacDuff, believe such measures preserve the customer experience for those who wish to escape the chaos that unruly children can create. For some, going out to eat offers an opportunity to escape from the hectic world of child rearing, and these restaurants want to maintain that integrity and offer the most enjoyable atmosphere possible.

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Do you believe this growing trend might be too extreme, or do you think these establishments are on the right track? Let us know in the comments below!

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