Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Restaurant Bans Screaming Kids

This morning I received a call from our local radio station. They were doing a piece about a restaurant called Olde Salty's in North Carolina banning screaming kids - and wanted a mums opinion.

So should noisy kids be thrown out of a restaurant? 

"Hell no" was my response, I suggested that a group of gaggling mums can make way more noise (she thinks back to the bar antics after this years CyberMummy... not mentioning any names..... you know who you are).

But this is an interesting debate and of course it has thrust Olde Salty into the news around the world making it North Carolina's most talked about food establishment.
My children have always been used to eating out and I can hand on heart say that I don't remember a single incident where my dinner would have been in jeopardy due to their behaviour but I'm well aware that a calm toddler or child can flip into devil mode without a seconds notice. Would that mean that a waiter marches up to you and throws you out onto the street mid bite before you get a chance to calm your little one down?
Luckily ModelGirl was not in a food establishment whilst screaming.

Call me a bitter old PR, but whilst the "SCREAMING CHILDREN WILL NOT BE TOLERATED" signs on the door have kept some families away trade in the restaurant is said to be booming.

What do you think?


  1. I reluctantly have to confess to being secretly pleased at this because there is nothing worse than being stuck next to a screaming child which is ignored by its parents and screams for ages and so ruins your enjoyment of whatever you are doing whether eating, watching a play or listening to a music concert. I am sympathetic of course but the child can be taken out to calm down surely?
    I don't think I ever had a screaming problem either and would have taken child out of it had happened.
    Our head bans screamers from the school carol service BTW because it is not fair on the children performing (which I think is a little harsh in the circumstances!)

  2. I think it's all a big publicity stunt!

  3. It is common in many fine dining restaurants to discourage parents from bringing children to dine with them. I work in one of these establishments, we do not have a children's menu, or booster/high chairs, or cups with lids. Although, with a name like "Ole Salty's," I doubt that it is fine dining. Most of our patrons are spending a night away from kids, and paying a lot of money to do so. The people who bring their children do not spend as much, tip as well, or come back as often, and usually leave a bigger mess to clean up.I bet the waitstaff is thrilled!

  4. I take Lola out to eat all the time, if sge gets grumpy I just take her for acwalk outside until she calms. She's nearly 1. And as someone who has waited for years I agree with the comment above, it's why I ALWAYS clear up lolas mess.however, if im going fine dining there's no way I'd take her.

  5. Coincidentally, I wrote a post on a similar topic, about whether there should be child-free cafes:

    It's a bit of a publicity stunt though, isn't it? In most restaurants, screaming children aren't tolerated: the manager might ask the parents to step outside to calm the child or otherwise let it be known that it's affecting other diners. Kids aren't a free pass to being a jerk - most sensible parents know this.

    As for this particular really wouldn't want to lower the tone at a joint called Ole Salty's, would you?

  6. There was a family restaurant in Chicago a few years ago that posted a sign in the window (at a toddler's eye level) asking kids to use their inside voices. There was almost a riot about it, and people boycotted the place! Ridiculous. We also have a cupcake eatery (I know) that promises to give unruly children a puppy and an espresso, which doesn't seem to have gained as much attention.
    I would hope that anyone with a screaming child would have the decency to take it outside without having to be asked to leave. I don't really see how it would be enforcable without getting your ass sued, but I don't have a problem with it (now that my kids are old enough not to do it. Wink.)

  7. My child is normally the one screaming and having a tantrum, we don't eat out with her often.

  8. I think it depends on the restaurant, if it's fine dining then I think it's fair enough, but maybe banning is a bit excessive. I enjoy going out for a meal with my OH and it can be spoiled by a screaming child but at the end of the day it's what kids do they shouldn't be punished for it. I tend to only take the kids to child friendly restaurants that way you don't feel so bad when they throw peas around. And yes I pick everyone up, I never leave a mess. x

  9. It depends on the restaurant and the time of day - 8pm on a Saturday night I'd be fairly narked to have my romantic, once a year fab meal with hubby disturbed by shrieking smalls when I've gone out of my way to leave ours at home

    That said, Saturday lunchtime at Pizza Express its a free for all

    People know when and where children are going to be around and that's great but there are a few places you'd prefer not to have them

    Or I could just be being unreasonable... ?

  10. I don't think children should be banned from restaurants - although most pubs do have a 7pm rule. I say if you want to eat somewhere in peace, go to a library. Or stay home. There are some chain restaurants which attract families but I've only been to one where the children have been so outrageously whiney that I've felt it overwhelmed the experience. It's important that kids learn how to eat out from a young age and know how to behave in a restaurant.

  11. I had a terrible experience in the Chelsea Brasserie on Sloane Square, when Poppy was a couple of months old and Issy was 2 - they both started screaming at the same time and the waiter told us to leave. I said that they usually calm down after 5 minutes, but he insisted that the other diners were complaining. I was so embarrassed, as the staff had been so friendly to us and our children on previous visits, needless to say, we haven't returned, even when we were by ourselves. This from a restaurant next to The Little White Company, Peter Jones, Caramel and countless other children's stores....makes my blood boil thinking about it! Liz x

  12. Call me a bitter old PR, but whilst
    the "SCREAMING CHILDREN WILL NOT BE TOLERATED" signs on the door have
    kept some families away trade in the restaurant is said to be booming.
    restaurants in schaumburg il

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx


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