Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Bauer notes that bringing children to upscale restaurants is causing considerable controversy among restaurateurs and patrons. “Some parents don’t see why they shouldn’t bring their children anywhere they want; if their children aren’t accommodated, they get angry,” Bauer writes. Parents who’ve splurged for a babysitter, however, don’t want their evening ruined by someone else’s misbehaving kid. Caught in the middle are dining staff, trying to handle “parents who let kids run wild.”
“I think fine dining is for adults, period,” one Chronicle reader commented. “I do not think kids have any place in these restaurants.” Draw the line “based on behavior, not age,” another wrote. “Restaurants should not be ashamed to cultivate a reputation for welcoming civilized children (and adults), and expelling savages, fully grown or miniature.” If a restaurateur complains “about me bringing my kids,” wrote another, “then we'll gladly stay away. He'd rather have none of my money versus some of it?”
Although some restaurateurs pointed out that being “family-friendly” was a boost to business, several readers noted that the numbers may not work out for all establishments. “Kids eat less and they certainly don't drink alcohol…a profit friendly item,” wrote one. “Unless they are on a caviar and oyster diet,” echoed another, children may not be “very healthy” for a restaurant’s bottom line.
Tell us what you think: Do kids belong in expensive restaurants, or at home with the sitter?