Restaurants

Restaurant: Take your crying kids outside!

Feb. 17, 2012 at 3:18 PM ET

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Would you kids keep it down, I’m trying to eat here!

A family restaurant in the Atlanta area has added a disclaimer to its menu asking parents to take their crying children outside, out of respect to their fellow patrons. Grant Central Pizza in Grant Park added the blurb after seeing some negative reviews regarding crying and unruly children in its restaurant on Yelp and other sites as well as enduring a run-in with a parent whose child threw a toy that hit another patron in the head.

Restaurant co-owner Donnie Parmer made it clear that Grant Central Pizza is a family establishment and he in no way wants to alienate that segment. He just believes it’s a logical addition to let patrons with children know the rules in advance.

“It’s been easier to deal with people since we’ve added it,’’ Parmer told TODAY.com. “We’re just asking people to follow the guidelines. I’m really surprised by all the media attention it’s generated because it seems like a common-sense thing to me.’’

The disclaimer reads:

“Dear all present and future patrons: GCP is proud of its reputation as a family restaurant, a title that we will work to keep. Unfortunately a number of our diners have posted unpleasant experiences because of crying and unsupervised children. To ensure that all diners have an enjoyable lunch or dinner with us we respectfully ask that parents tend to their crying tots outside.”

“We’re just trying to have general happiness across the board,’’ Parmer said. “It’s been great so far. There’s been no negativity [regarding the disclaimer]. We understand that kids will be kids, but we want parents to be parents and have everybody act neighborly at the dining table.’’

No complaints have been received since the disclaimer was added, and Parmer said it’s too early to tell if there has been any drop-off in the number of families eating at the restaurant.

A TODAY.com poll last August found that 92 percent of readers thought that restaurants had the right to ban kids altogether. 

Parmer has been contacted by a child psychologist in Chicago telling him that this is the way the situation should be handled. Preventing children from throwing toys also can be a safety issue.

“We are handling hot food and have servers who are very busy, so it can be dangerous,’’ he said. “I had one bad experience with one lady who said she would never be back. Her child hit a customer in the head with a toy, and she was still angry when we asked the child to stop. That made me put this [disclaimer] on the menu because even though it was an isolated incident, I felt like we had to do more.’’

This way when parents are approached respectfully about taking their crying or unruly children outside to calm them down, they are already aware of the guidelines with one glance down at the menu.

“Now we have it said before I’m saying it, so that it’s not a surprise,’’ Parmer said. 

Do you think the restaurant's policy is fair? Do crying kids ruin your restaurant experience? How do you handle it?

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