Last week an Italian restaurant in New Jersey – Nettie’s House of Spaghetti – announced that children under 10 were no longer welcome to dine.
In a Facebook post, Nettie’s cites several reasons for the bold decision, including excessive noise, a lack of space for highchairs, messes left behind by kids, and the liability of children running around.
Not surprising, the audacious policy has been covered by local newspapers as well as national broadcasts, including New York Post, Fox Business, Yahoo!, and Asbury Park Press. And social media is abuzz. As of today, Nettie’s Facebook post announcing the move has more than 38,000 emoji reactions and 11,000-plus shares.
Restaurants generally applaud media attention and reviews. While Nettie’s anticipated this was going to be a controversial move, I don’t believe they envisioned the response thus far.
Overall, the sentiment is positive with many people supporting the move, recanting previous “not-so-enjoyable” dining experiences because of unruly kids. Others were dismayed, claiming they are being discriminated against because of a few bad apples.
One person commented on Facebook, “Fantastic idea… having worked in the industry since I was 14, I have never seen anything like it in the recent past. Kids are out of control and most parents are oblivious.”
Running a restaurant is an extremely tough business. Nearly three years removed from the pandemic, the economics and logistics have significantly changed. Employees are unreliable and difficult to retain. There are supply chain issues. Food costs are through the roof. And then there are the patrons toting their misbehaved kids.
Clearly this was a tough business decision for Nettie’s as they admittedly love kids. But bad behavior has brought them to the brink.
While the kids seem to be the problem, it is really the parents (or lack of parenting) to blame. Dining out should be presented as a special experience for everyone to enjoy. It must be earned.
I applaud Nettie’s for its conviction and believe more restaurants will follow their lead.
For those that do not like it, there is always take out, with the added bonus of cleaning up the mess at home. 😉