Restaurant Bans Kids, Sees Immediate Surge in Reservations


Kids in restaurants are a topic of much controversy. When kids behave badly in a restaurant–especially an upscale sort of place surrounded by people who got babysitters for their own kids–and the parents won’t actually do anything about the situation, what does anybody do? Is the restaurant allowed to ban them? Does the restaurant have to send free desserts to everyone inconvenienced by someone else’s baby?

While some people insist that banning children from fancy restaurants is age discrimination or unfair to parents, others say that it’s only fair to the staff and other diners. It looks like the latter group of people might be bigger, because when one North Carolina restaurant banned all children under five recently, they said reservations and sales instantly started booming.

According to The Daily Meal, an Italian restaurant called Caruso’s in Mooresville, North Carolina, recently announced a ban on all children under five. Caruso’s describes itself as “classy Italian,” and its website says “proper attire required,” and it says right on the front page: “No children’s menu.”

Children were not officially banned, however, until a recent incident that the staff described as “the last straw.” A little girl was reportedly using an iPad in the main dining room with the volume on high, and the sound was bothering the rest of the diners. Staff say they asked the girl’s parents several times to turn the device down or off, but the parents refused, so the restaurant asked them to leave.

After that, Caruso’s owner and manager said they were just not willing to keep arguing with parents about little kids anymore.

”Banning children has always been a topic in the industry and every owner says, ”˜I wish I could do it,’” Yoshi Nunez, the restaurant’s manager, said to the Washington Post.

Since banning children, Caruso’s has been hit with dozens of furious Facebook comments and Yelp reviews from angry parents, but they’ve also seen a huge surge in reservations. Nunez says they used to do serve about 50 diners a night on average, but now it’s more like 80.

Restaurants that ban kids are actually doing themselves and parents a favor, because it lets us know where not to go when we want to take our kids out, so we don’t have to guess. It’s especially useful for a middle-tier place like Caruso’s, where it’s impossible to tell from the menu or decor if the place is going to love your kids or not.

An explicit “no kids allowed” policy is great for everyone trying to pick a restaurant. If you want to go to a place where you know there won’t be children, go to Caruso’s. For people looking to take their kids out, a quick Google indicates there are at least a dozen good Italian restaurants in Mooresville, N.C. If you have a kid or don’t want to eat at a place that bans children, go to one of those.

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