Dining out with kids – for better or for worse

alineaEarlier this year Chicago restaurant Alinea was in the news for a tweet contemplating banning babies from their uber chic establishment and this week social media is abuzz from Calgary restaurant, Carino Bistro, offering a discount to well behaved kids. We don’t want kids banned and we don’t want well behaved kids acknowledged. What do we want folks?

IMG_5574Pre-baby most of us parents enjoyed scoping out the IT spots around town, from bars to restaurants I was always on the hunt for the flavour of the month. Luckily the addition of two kids who are still under the age of three hasn’t stopped us from dining out. It has however made us more aware of our surroundings. We’ve figured out what works for us and what doesn’t and how exactly we should navigate the social situations. We’ve had restaurant patrons compliment us on our toddler’s behavior and servers mention that they didn’t even know that there was a baby out for dinner. On the flip side we’ve had absolute nightmare episodes where we’re so thankful that the restaurant has the music cranked up high to drown the unsoothable child. Nothing to be done but to gobble the meal, tip well and rush out the door.

Being a parent is hard enough but to ban young kids from dining establishments is absolutely ridiculous from my point of view. If I’m willing to battle the baby gear, wash my hair and put on some blush… I deserve a Whiskey Sour and some beef tartar. Nobody better get in my way! It’s up to the parents to discipline the kids. Now what if the kids are so well behaved that a restaurant decides to offer a discount? Well  I for one will say thank you and take it, I don’t say no to free money! On  the flip side some parents have their forks twisted in their noddles about this. If they don’t get a discount does this mean their kids are social rugrats? Shouldn’t well behaved kids be the norm? Perhaps should we have a ‘bad kid’ tax instead?9834098

From what I hear the Calgary restaurant has been offering this discount for a good while now and are even contemplating offering couples who don’t stare at their screens for the entire meal, a similar discount.

Does the idea of a discount for well behaved kids seem like a nice gesture or does it make you cringe? Would a free bowl of fruit make you feel better about it?

Comments (3)

  • That’s kind of funny to offer a discount for good kids haha its hard to tell if your kids will be in as good of a mood as you are when you go out to eat. I’ve gone out and my kids are angels, then a week later under the same circumstances, they’re nightmares. I certainly don’t intend for them to go crazy right in the middle of a meal out but it happens! That being said, I don’t take my kids to nice restaurants. We go to family friendly pizza places or fun diners. Places where there’s a salad bar for quick food to entertain them before entrees come out are big favorites too. We did go to a really nice restaurant for our anniversary and people had small kids near us. They were running around, banging things, and while I understand, it happens, we kind of wanted to escape that for a night and couldn’t. So I’m not going to lie, we were a bit annoyed. When you’re spending a lot of money on a really nice meal, you don’t want toddlers running laps around your table 😛

  • I agree with you Emily. It’s all about finding your comfort zone. It is a bit unfortunate that those kids were running around like that at the fancy resto. I’ve taught mine that she can sit in her chair or on our lap (she’s 2) but that’s about it. If she wants a walk we’ll take her out. I think it’s only fair for the other patrons.

    Yashy Murphy
  • I think I would be so offended – no matter how good my kids are the majority of the time they will still have their moments and melt downs that we can’t prepare for and they don’t ever seem to happen at home (go figure right?!). It is hard enough as parent trying to deal with these meltdowns in public but then knowing you are being judged by others and by the restaurant as well – it’s awful! I cringe just thinking of it. I think when you go to a family restaurant you take the good, the bad and the ugly just like you would expect at a family get together. Just my thoughts 🙂

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