A German restaurant, Oma’s Küche (Grandma’s Kitchen) has decided to implement a ban on children under the age of 14 after 5pm. The restaurant’s owner told the press that the ban was necessary because poorly behaved children had been disturbing other diners.
“We have been thinking about this for a very long time. We have somehow reached that point where you say: This just can’t go on like this,” said Rudolf Markl, the restaurant’s owner.
Examples of disruptive behaviour included physical damage to the décor, spilt drinks and torn tablecloths. Markl added that the ban has less to do with the children and more to do with parents who seem to turn a blind eye to poor behaviour.
“[Parents] acknowledge it with a smile, keep on eating, and don’t care at all,” he said.
Markl says that he hopes the ban will allow his restaurant to become an “oasis of peace”.
Read more about eating out with children:
- Head down, bum up: The ultimate guide to eating out with toddlers
- Desperate times! This is why I’m putting my toddler under house arrest
- Dad “greatly offended” when restaurant serves him behaviour rules for kids
Doing parents a huge favour
It’s not the first time that a restaurant has taken this step. Last year a Florida pizza restaurant put a “no children” sign in their window. Closer to home, a French and Italian restaurant in far north Queensland banned under sevens after an altercation with parents over a screaming toddler.
Unsurprisingly, all of these bans resulted in social media outcry. The Oma’s Küche ban is no exception with disgruntled parents branding the restaurant ‘heartless’. But is it really that heartless to ban kids? The way I see it, Oma’s Küche in doing parents a huge favour.
Eating out with children young children can be incredibly stressful. Little kids don’t like sitting still. They don’t like using ‘inside voices’, and they definitely don’t enjoy making polite conversation.
Sure, dining out is good for development but …
And yet, taking kids to restaurants is good for their development. When you eat out with children, you expose them to social skills, grown-up conversation, table manners plus, depending on where you eat, new food experiences too.
Most of the time, parents aren’t thinking about their kids’ social development though. They’re thinking about the long week they’ve had, they’re thinking they can’t face cooking, they’re thinking it would be nice to have an adult conversation in an adult setting – they’re clawing back a semblance of normality.
And that’s why banning kids from restaurants is a good thing.
There’s nothing worse than knowing you’re not really welcome. I’ve been there. Desperately trying to shove scalding hot food into my mouth so we can get the hell out of there. Fielding passive aggressive comments from restaurant staff about my children (“aren’t they a pair of characters!”) while trying to ignore snooty side-eye from other diners.
When restaurants (and cafés) ban children, parents no longer have to take a gamble on how our families will be treated. We can eat our dinners in peace (jokes, there is no eating in peace when you have small children) knowing that no one is going to make a shirty complaint to the manager.
There will always be restaurants that welcome families (however noisy and disruptive they are), so there is no need to protest when a handful of places close their doors to kids. Bans like this are doing us a favour – we can take our business elsewhere and leave everyone else to their “oasis of peace”.