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Dining out with a baby

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Anyone who's had a baby knows how difficult it can be to enjoy a dining experience.  Thankfully our little boy is very good at restaurants even though he's a wee little 8month old.  Forget fancy restaurants we usually eat at diners and casual dining places these days, mostly lunch time.  Last weekend we braved a sunday brunch outing at a french restaurant we used to frequent; I was really in the mood for crepes.  The restaurant wasn't busy at the time but the hostess seemed a little irked with us for asking for a 4-top.  Babies come with their own cargo unfortunately but thankfully we didn't have a stroller or anything, we brought our handy dandy little booster seat that attaches itself to the side of the table.  The hostess insisted that we should use a 2-top but naturally we refused - baby has to have a clear surface in front of him, not one muddled with forks and napkins etc.  She gave us a bit of grief but finally conceded to our wishes.

 

To those of you who are in the industry and are restaurant operators/owners, does it really bother you that much that a baby comes into your restaurant?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 19

We did it. And we got compliments as the kids got older about their good behavior.

 

There will be times you  end up getting your order to go and one waits in the car with the upset baby while the other waits for the order.

 

I think its more common experience for restaurants is that the babies disturb the other patrons and tend to leave a bigger mess behind.  Doesn't make it the rule, just the expectation.

post #3 of 19

I run a restaurant/lodge.

As far as I'm concerned babies/kids are welcome and we try to accommodate parents and kids as much as possible.

Maybe we are different from your normal setting in that most people come and stay for a couple of days and are in a relaxed mood.

 

I must say though, that when I'm off and go to town to a restaurant I wouldn't like it if there are screaming kids running around. And it's more the screaming than the running around

 

Life is too short to drink bad wine
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Life is too short to drink bad wine
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post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Kids are kids, what can you do?  Sometimes they will turn up in a public setting, an airplane or what not.  As someone who does not have anyone to leave the baby with he must come with us when we're out and about and unfortunately that might include restaurants from time to time.  I think what really had the hostess miffed is that we were taking up room for a person who was not eating when that table might have been used for someone else who would be spending money.  I understand that but then again if the baby is not welcome then we won't be eating there either.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 19

Thought this to be of interest to those with young children:

 

Kiddie Friendly Restaurant in NYC ...

 

Located at 90 Prince Street in the heart of Soho - Little Italy, just around the corner from where my paternal Grandmom lived, is Restaurant Zoe.

Chef Kevin Reilly calls Zoë´s, Kiddie Friendly.

 

This is a Soho Bistro where children are such important customers, that they get their own entertainment on the premises, a culinary education from executive Chef Kevin and Kitch Staff at the 12 seat Chef´s special counter.

 

Kevin gives each child a taste of carved out animals of vegetables, and explains all he is preparing. The kids are entranced !

 

He also provides an ambiance, where the parents feel a necessity to return with their children.

 

OTHER USA KIDDIE FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS ARE:

 

Seattle:  Etta´s

 

Los Angeles: Campanille

 

Atlanta: Grappa

 

Boston: Tremont 647

 

Dallas:  York St.

 

Chicago:  Frontera Grill and Coco Pazzo Café

 

Hope this has continued to be the policy as it was a couple of years ago.

Margcata

post #6 of 19

The kids are never an issue; it's the parents.  This isn't directed toward the OP, but it's a response to the questions they asked.

 

Parents, especially those with their first kid, sometimes expect accommodations that aren't always reasonable.  A four-top for two paying customers (baby isn't ordering anything) is taking up valuable real estate if the place is going to be busy.  If it's not, it should not be a big deal. But other patrons may have to get around strollers, car seats and so forth.

 

Quiet infants and toddlers are fine and a shrieking, whining or crying child is simply behaving like a baby; that's what they do.  Older kids who are loud, wander around, and act out are not necessarily poorly behaved.  They're usually bored having to sit in the same seat for a long time.  

 

Kids are kids, what can you do? 

I take issue with parents who allow their children to behave this way and remain in a restaurant for more than a few minutes.  They're bothering everyone else who paid good money for a meal and a decent dining experience.  If a child is causing any kind of a ruckus, even screaming with delight, a parent needs to take them outside until they're quiet.  When my kids were small, my wife and I alternated whose turn it was to sit and eat and who took the kids outside.  Most times no one had to get up.  

 

The kid friendly idea of keeping the little ones entertained is a great idea.  

 

Parents who don't return to a restaurant because children "aren't welcome" are probably making the right decision.


Edited by mano - 5/2/12 at 3:58pm
post #7 of 19

I hate to say it, but it totally depends on the parents not the child. My kids are now fully grown but I have had to do everything from demanding the size table I wanted to escorting my precious little hellions outside while my food was getting packed to go suddenly. I however respect other peoples right to a quiet meal in a restaurant. I have also sent my bill to another table by explaining to a manager that no way in hell would I be paying for my dining experience due to the disruptive nature of the couple with four screaming children running rampant in a restaurant and noone (especially management ) telling the couple to get a clue. Frankly, I don't care if you (not you KK, just in general) dont have someone to watch your kids. I get it, I have been there, but if they are not behaving it's time to leave. If they are being angels (a rare blessing sometimes it seems) then whats the problem? That server was rude in my opinion. 

 

of course I have left my meal halfway (more then once) to sit down at someone else's table that was talking loudly into a cell phone while I am trying to enjoy a dinner that isn't a diner or family style place. One time I just glared away while they tried to ignore me, they finally took notice when I ordered a nice bottle of wine the next time the server came by. They asked me what I thought I was doing, I explained I was being as uncouth as they were, but thanks for the wine.  :P

"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

 I however respect other peoples right to a quiet meal in a restaurant.

This is very important.  Normally our kids were (and still are) well behaved in a public setting.  For the most part the place to correct is not when you are out but at home at the dinner table/etc (learned that from my wife).  When on occasion, they would act up while out, I would quietly remove them to a private place and talk to them or if they needed let them calm down.  I cringe when I am at a restaurant and a kid is there screaming and carrying on and the parents are like "oh little johnny, mommy and daddy don't want to put on the mean face" while the kid is wailing and throwing food...no way.  Thankfully those times are few and far between.  I think if I encounter that situation again I may mention something to the parents.  You always run the risk of them getting weird and upset but hey, if I was yelling in a restaurant then why should it be any more tolerable for a youngster.  Eating out is a luxury not a right.  Eat at home or leave them at home and go out as adults.

 

This of course refers to a quiet, lower key place.  Some diners/etc are so loud and have a million kids anyway it doesn't matter as you can't hear across the table. One place I went had a separate room with sound dampening just for families with little kids.

post #9 of 19

I was always amazed when travelling around various European countries to see how well-behaved children were in restaurants.  Even if the family weren't eating until at least 10.00 pm. 

 

I cannot remember ONE occasion when I had to remove my children from a table due to bad behaviour.  They are now adult!

post #10 of 19

IMHO, there are no "misbehaving children", only adults who are not raising children, laser.gifthey're only providing food and water.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #11 of 19

I have been in the restaurant industry for 30 years, I am also a father of 3 and have dined out with all of them.  The industry is really about selling service rather than the food or beverage (those with poor products tend to fail).  Sadly, due to poor management and poor training, many in the industry have never learned, or forget that service IS the business.  You should never be denied a table of your choice in the circumstances that you have described...by service I am not singling out the front of house interaction in a restaurant, but the all encompassing experience that you are paying for from the moment you enter to the way your silver or plate has been washed.

post #12 of 19

And the other patrons are to be treated to a normal relaxing enviorment without babies screaming. And management and the industry HAS learned to seat them in a spot where they will bother the least. I have seen many times where the kid is screaming and mom and dad just sit there smiling whilenot getting up and taking the screaming baby outside. This is not fair to other patrons. Same thing applies on an airline, or other public place. You decided to bring the child, therefore you control it. Go to Mickey Ds so you can take them into the playground area. Same applies to weddings and other socials, leave them home hire a sitter.  Most of us did.  Unfortunatly its not only infants , here in America the parent always thinks the teacher is wrong or picking on little Johnny, in Europe this does not apply, thats why at dinner you will see their chilren mostly well behaved. Sorry I am being hard assed but I call it a I see it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 19

Yes times they are a changing. It's difficult to explain without offending, but my take on this subject is pretty straight forward. You, as parents are responsible for that child until it's old enough to understand table manners, politeness as well as self control. Until that time, I feel parents should not expose their children to restaurants, shopping malls, or any public venue. 

post #14 of 19

Chefross, you are trying not to offend the offensive.  Children should either be taught to behave in public venues or stay home. 

 

I was in a restaurant that I frequent a week or so ago.  One of the other patrons had two of the most ill behaved kids I have ever seen.  Running around, shouting, and "being kids".  Mama actually put the youngest down on the floor so that she could eat.  My limit was reached when the kids began banging my silverware on my table.

 

Frankly, there is not a lot the staff can do about unruly kids.  Can't throw them out, can't make them behave.  The fault lies solely with the parents.

post #15 of 19

Management can do something. Simply notify them that you are leaving if the noise and nonsense does not stop, but do this after you order.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #16 of 19

I agree with chefross. Can't tell you how many life experiences have been ruined by parents who don't properly control their children in public. I myself have a son (who is now grown) and God help him if he ever misbehaved in public, especially a restaurant. Some parents expect so much allowances just because they have a child.

 

 

On another note, I was recently on vacation in Europe, and there was a child (8-9 years old) behaving rather unruly, pushing shoving strangers (me), so the father swatted him really hard. I felt so bad, I immediately wanted to comfort him, but had he not done that I would've been teed off that he was allowed to carry on in that manner. The kid is the better for it. If your kid misbehaves, just hit him, or remove him from the situation entirely. Sounds harsh, but hey, I raised my kid like that and he's now a wonderfully, well-behaved adult who knows how to behave in public. I guess you could say I have a European approach to raising kids, and there's no shame in my game.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #17 of 19

LOL - I hear and understand your method Pollopicu...  too many people don't these days.

 

Quite often I find that the problem kids are the ones who have parents that aren't much better and even sometimes worse.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #18 of 19

Exactly. I find people have less manners than children these days. It's really quite unfortunate.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #19 of 19
We charge a baby-ing fee just like a corking fee for bringing your own wine.
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