Being a Millennial, I only tend to go to date-friendly restaurants or places that give me as many ribs as they can, for as little money as I am prepared to give them. Family-friendly restaurants may as well be on another planet to me. It’s not that I don’t like them, just if it’s not the Pizza Hut buffet, there is little to no reason for me to be there.
Family-friendly, as we know, is shorthand for an establishment where no one is technically allowed to yell at you if you bring your kids and they misbehave, because you were warned beforehand that the little cretins would be there. It’s unclear whether having this type of restaurant helps or hinders business.
Some restaurants take a much sterner stance on their clientele not allowing children at all, in fact. Case in point: a neighborhood pizza joint in Tampa, FL called Hampton Station. The joint allows dogs to hang out with their owners on the patio but as of recently, kids are no longer allowed anywhere on the premises.
“No children.” Sitting at the top of the door, in all caps, in the biggest font. This is all after the restaurant has been accepting money from families for two years, interestingly enough. One Yelp reviewer gave the place one star.
They continued in their review: “the owner is entitled to his opinion. ‘No Children Please’ would suffice. Have some class … Seems that they’re banking on alcohol sales. Won’t be getting any from me.” It seems that it has really riled up Tampa residents, as another wrote: “Now that children are banned, I don’t see any reason to go there.”
Another Yelp user suggested Hampton Station, which also specializes in craft brews, wasn’t family friendly to begin with, saying: “this isn’t some dive it’s a neighborhood pizza place. Yes they serve beer but so does many restaurants.” And the debate spilt into a heated thread on Facebook.
Enter the keyboard warrior/moderator from Tampa Bay Moms. Posting a pic of the sign on the door she wrote a message saying: “If your establishment was built on families, then you should support families” with someone else adding “if families is what made them it will be families that destroys them”.
Does the owner of the restaurant have anything to say about the comeuppance? Of course they have: it’s free publicity. Owner Troy Taylor says that the kid ban was a tough choice, down to a few select cases, and that it was partly a question of liability:
“It’s been hard. The problem is having adults come in and drinking and letting the kids just run around. The majority of the families and parents are great. They have some food, a beer or two — it’s a few that ruined it. From a liability standpoint, we couldn’t really handle it.”
Taylor has had the restaurant for three years, and though he is yet to divulge on the exact incident that led to this change, he admits it was a tough choice. Ultimately it’s for the good of the kids so they don’t endanger themselves.
Fortunately for Taylor, not everyone on the internet was fuming. Some, like the mom who posted the sign on Facebook, say they understand and appreciate why the rule was put in place, and there were others that agreed.
Whatever your quarrel, the Hampton Station’s owner asks is that people “agree to disagree”, and stop bashing the choice online because it was really hard. I just don’t understand how anyone can be upset around pizza or beer, no matter how old you are.