Should all restaurants cater to young families?
Last year, this question was at the center of a Facebook debate involving a popular Canadian restaurant chain.
A woman dined out with her husband and 9-month-old son at Earls in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and they quickly learned that children were not welcome.
“I was quite disappointed when we asked our hostess for a highchair and were told that the restaurant didn’t have any. Our hostess offered us a booster seat, but as any parent knows – a booster seat is completely useless with a baby,” she wrote on Earls’ Facebook page. “I was also unhappy to find there was no change table in the restroom (most restaurants will have them discreetly installed on the wheelchair stall wall).”
Hundreds of people chimed in on this subject, with half of the commenters saying they don’t want to hear crying babies while they dine out, and the other half arguing that restaurants can’t discriminate against families.
Now, another Canadian restaurant is in the news as this debate rages on. But on the contrary, Carino Bistro in Calgary, Alberta rewards parents who have “well behaved kids.”
As such, a photo from the eatery has gone viral, showcasing a receipt handed out to a family with a toddler, which included a $5 discount for their stellar tot.
“We’ve been doing it for about a year,” owner Toshi Karino tells Global, adding that he’s shocked by all the attention his Japanese restaurant has received. “This is the first time that we’ve ever given it out that people have noticed.”
Karino says the discount is a way to thank families who enjoy their meal together, instead of arguing or spending their time glued to technology such as smartphones and iPads.
“We only have a 35 seat restaurant, it’s pretty small, and between the tables it’s close together,” he says. “We want to show some appreciation for the kids and parents, if they don’t make [other diners] uncomfortable. We don’t say anything, we don’t let the customers know. We just say thank you when we [hand over] the bill.”
But now that the secret is out, Karino might have to change his policy.
“If customers feel unhappy when we don’t give them the discount for the kids, we are concerned about that,” he says. “Maybe we’ll have to think of something different…maybe to some people having a nice, quiet dinner.”
What do you think about rewarding families for “well behaved kids?” Is this the most genius idea ever, or does it strike a nerve for those who don’t receive the discount? Does this mean you’re a bad parent and your kids are brats?
Could this be a unique solution for restaurants like Earls who frown upon family diners?
What is your best solution for this ongoing debate?