Brat Ban

Kill me now.

I’ve made no secret of how much I hate kids in the restaurant.  Not all kids; unruly bratty kids who make huge messes, scream, cry, wander around and in general cause my anxiety to go into overdrive.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember many of the good children, but the horrible ones never leave my mind:

    • On a 4 hour flight from Houston to Belize, a 30ish year old couple informed the flight attendant that if she wanted their toddler in a seat belt, she would have to do it herself because, “we can’t do anything with him.”  They read their magazines while the toddler screamed at the top of his lungs for 4 freaking hours.  They were completely unapologetic and told anyone who complained to try and make him mind.  By the time the plane landed and the couple strolled off with their still screaming toddler everyone on that plane, including the people who shouted, “Praise the Lord!” every 5 minutes, wanted to kill the entire family.
    • On another trip to Belize I went on a Mayan ruin tour which involved a 2 hour boat ride (I hate being on water), an hour van ride, mosquitoes bigger than birds and 3 screaming kids all under the age of 6.  When we picked them up at the dock, all the people already in the boat wept.  Their parents were a middle aged couple who believed in giving their kids a “learning experience” and by the end of the day everyone on the trip wanted to give all of them a “learning experience”. 
    • At a sushi restaurant, my dinner partner and I had the displeasure of listening to a toddler scream for 45 minutes straight.  She was screaming when we walked in and I wanted to ditch and go to the Mexican restaurant, but he really wanted sushi.  We paid nearly $70 to listen to a brat shriek and bawl for 45 minutes.  When her middle aged parents finally carried her out she was still screaming.  Several customers asked the servers and management to do something about the toddler, but they refused. 
    • A place I worked at in Laramie had a middle aged couple and their 5 year old son as regulars.  Mom and dad would order while the kid yelled, slapped the menus and threw stuff from the table to the floor.  They waited for their food, and ate their food, with heads down while the kid ran around the restaurant, climbed onto other patron’s booths, walked on the window sills and one time actually stood on someone else’s table, kicking dishes to the floor.  When asked to do something with their son, the said they couldn’t because letting him act out was important to his mental growth or some such shit.  No one would do anything about this couple because, “The customer is always right”. 

    Who is the Brat Ban truly targeting, unruly kids or bad parents?  From the research I did (all 5 minutes of it) the people who complained the most were the ones with the brattiest kids.  They were outraged that their kids would be denied access anywhere.  Surprisingly, these were not young parents either.  As with my experiences, most of the parents are older (30-45), they seem well educated and at the very least middle class.  So what gives?  Are they afraid if they tell their kids ‘no’ they will damage their psyche?  Do they think their crotchspawn are so intelligent that they will learn manners on their own?  Are they so entitled they believe everyone else should be subjected to their brats?

Most of my serving career has been in “family friendly” restaurants and I look at children and their parents as emotional terrorists.  Heaven forbid you tell one of the little shits to sit down for their own safety or the parents will see that you are fired.  Don’t even think of asking them to not let their brats tear up the caddies or you will be told that it’s YOUR JOB to clean up after them…for $2.50 an hour because they sure as hell aren’t going to tip you after that.  If I can help it, I will never work in a family friendly restaurant again.

Does this look like a place for kids?

Kids are welcome, but not encouraged at the Spaghetti Western.  Crayons go out on request only.  The kid’s menu is very basic with 4 different choices.  We don’t have sippy cups, cups with lids, or child size glasses.  If a kid starts screaming, the parents have about 15 seconds to shut them up or get them out of the restaurant.  The other patrons don’t put up with that shit.  If a kid is out of their seat, they are told to return to it immediately.  If the parents complain, Pro Rodeo lets them know they aren’t at McDonald’s, and they can either sit their kid down or leave.

This attitude does not hurt business.  Pro Rodeo happily tells us every month that this year is 50 to 75% better than last year.  My income is 50-75% more than it was at the Harribalsac.  We cater to middle to late age people without children, but with disposable income.  My favourite group of people from the summer was 3 elderly couples that I waited on twice.  The first time one of the men wanted to order a $20 bottle of wine and one of the other men told him, “You drink shit” and ordered two $45 dollar bottles of wine.  The second time I told the gentleman who was paying that the table had been auto-gratted and he asked, “Can I leave you more?”  He left me a 50% tip.  Their conversation was all about “back when we were poor”.  They cracked me up. 

On the financial side of it, I made $140 off these people for about 2 hours of work.  Contrast that with the Harribalsac where there was no auto-grat and most of the time I was lucky to make $10 on a family of 6.  So yeah, I would rather have a child free environment which attracts older guests with more money and manners.  

What do you think of the Brat Ban?






20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Connie
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 19:33:01

    I say AMEN!


  2. Heif
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 19:41:14

    One time, and one time only did my child start to show his butt in a restaurant. Within 2 minted of it starting I was out the door with him. The ex got the to-go boxes and paid. Turned out the next morning the boy was super ill. Let me tell you, sick or well, that behavior wasn’t acceptable. I don’t want to ruin a nice evening out for someone with my child’s behavior, nor do I want your brat to ruin mine.

    Mine were always good in restaurants because dining out was a treat. There were other places where we had to leave in a flurry of embarrassment.


    • opjedienblad
      Nov 11, 2011 @ 19:44:46

      I love you. When I was a kid and I misbehaved, even if it was just in the supermarket, my mom would put her trolley aside, drive me home, and continue shopping without me. You bet I learned not to be a prick rather quickly! When my mom said no she meant business, and that’s the kind of attitute I expect from any parent.

      When my kids (okay, my son) was bad in the supermarket, he got to ride in the cart. Imagine a 10 year old sitting in a shopping cart looking like an asshole.


  3. opjedienblad
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 19:42:20

    You know, occassionally I get parents who really care about their children and their children’s behaviour. It shows in details such as the children knowing how to politely ask for something they’d like, or in the parents explaining certain things to their childreun like what is going on in the restaurant around them, or why certain biological/political/economical/… facts are the way they are.

    I adore it when parents take time to talk to/with their kids, instead of just ignoring them and have a “boring” conversation amongst each other. Allow the kids to participate in your night out and it will be a better experience for /everyone/!

    Sometimes it just shows in children ordering something off the menu instead of just French fries with mayonaise. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid I loved to get just French fries and sometimes my parents let me ask for that, but most of the times they urged me to get something off the menu. They wanted me to try and learn appreciate other kinds of food. That’s just great!

    Unfortunately, these situations are the exceptions. Children sitting/crawling/running in my pathway, where I try to walk with dishes so hot that I barely dare touch them, bowls of soup that’s just stopped boiling, or trays with steaming hot tea? It’d surprise you how often parents don’t give a sh*t, not even when you point (multiple times!) out the hazards their kids are posing and facing.

    Besides the fact that it’s annoyinh that those kids are in my way, it’s also downright dangerous. I haven’t started talking about the screaming, crying, only aggitating kind of children yet…

    Long story short, DYDTAH, I feel you…

    Kids running around in a restaurant is dangerous. It should be obvious to everyone, but I’ve found wayward kids in the kitchen at the Harribalsac.


  4. A
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 22:39:10

    i’ve started making it a policy to give one warning and then to just run over the child, when the parent gets upset out comes the server stare and the “well i did warn you that this could be a potential safety concern”. so far all parents have then felt like complete asshats (exactly where i want them).

    one of my most memorable experiences though was on a day that i hosted and some india indians came in–they were sat in the back of the restaurant and let their toddler just wander around. it was super slow so the kid didn’t get run over or anything but she did sit at the host stand for a good 20 min before the parents came looking for her.

    We had some regulars at the Harribalsac who were short a lot of IQ points, but their daughter was quite smart. That kid was everywhere, but at the table. When I would return her to the table, they all looked confused and said they didn’t even realize she was gone. Awesome.


  5. Fuck My Table
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 22:50:35

    I love it. Kids aren’t to blame; parents are. I always encourage politeness when I witness it from a child, just in the hope that someday parents will realize that polite kids are welcome everywhere, while snot nosed brats result in people running as fast as they can away from you and your demon child.

    I love working at BC for the same reason you like the Spaghetti Western. Chili’s was such a shithole and no one backed us up on anything. Kids can scream for a short time at BC and then, inevitably, either a guest or manager will say something about it. I’m not sure if management would actually kick someone out over it, but I know that incessant remarks from other diners usually shame them into shutting their kid up or leaving.

    We’ve actually had families come in, take a look around and leave because they felt it wasn’t a place for kids. Unfortunately, THOSE are the kinds of people who have good kids who would be welcome anywhere.


  6. michele
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 23:07:35


    Unfortunately, they always sterilize the wrong ones.


  7. DarcsFalcon
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 02:07:28

    What these irresponsible parents forget is that their rights end where the other diner’s begin, they paid for a night out too, they have a right to enjoy their meals in peace too, and you brat-parents don’t have the right to inflict your fit-throwers on the rest of us!

    Amen! I always say, “If I wanted to listen to kids scream, I would have brought my own.”

    For the record, their kids don’t appreciate it either. Kids NEED rules and boundaries. It shows them that someone cares about them.

    I’ve always believed that and when my kids became teenagers faced with peer pressure, they knew they could say no and blame it on me. I was their excuse to behave the way they should.

    I’m so glad you don’t work that other place anymore!
    Me too!


  8. Rebecca Gaskins
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 05:15:44

    I agree with you all the way, that is why when our kids were little,4,5&7…. they were taught manners when eating out, we didn’t do it often,and we expected them to behave. So I have never been more proud then when a nice young server came over and complimented us on them and their manners…. we were so happy that day,and they still have them,and so do their kids.

    It is nice to hear that your kids are good and accepted rather than brats everyone wants to kill.

    I want to muzzle the brats that come into our grooming shop. grrr.

    Maybe you could do a little quick grooming on them. 🙂


  9. skippymom
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 17:05:18

    If we could manage 5 kids under 10 at a restaurant – that didn’t disrupt, get up, get in the way or throw shit or tantrums – than others can do the same. And when they don’t one of my kids [now 23 – 14] will be the first to say something. I don’t even have to bother.

    I remember when my daughter was about 17 and we went to a restaurant with a screaming kid. We listened to it scream for about 5 minutes before she politely said, “Lady, I’m going to put your kid’s head in a basket if you don’t shut him up.” I about peed my pants. Then she loudly said, “I wasn’t allowed to act that way in public, so I fail to see why she can’t control her kid.” She did shut the kid up, but it turned out the woman was a teacher at the new school my daughter was attending and they never got along.

    True story. We were on a two hour flight with our 11 month old [her first flight] and it was packed – also along for the ride were THREE other babies. Not a peep was heard out of the four of them the entire trip and believe me, we parents were sweating it. We all got a round of applause and thank yous when we disembarked. The reason being is – we paid attention to our offspring and made every effort to entertain or distract them instead of ignoring them the whole flight [which I have seen tooooo many times.]

    Flights are tricky. Kids can sense that you’re uptight so they start fear crying or acting out and where are you going to take them? It’s not like you can leave. Making an effort to keep them quiet and entertained makes all the difference to other people, though.

    I am by far a perfect parent, but I can guarantee you I will make sure my kid doesn’t annoy me before he or she EVER annoys you. heehee

    Same here.


  10. Anton
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 10:05:46

    I wish there were more restaurants (and other venues as well) that didn’t allow children so I could choose to patronize them. I only go to a movie theater in town that has a very strict set of policies – no children under 18 unless accompanied by an adult, no kids at all under 6 unless it is a special baby day showing, and if you talk during the movie or disrupt your neighbors a manager gives you one warning. If you persist, they throw you out (and are cheered by the other patrons for doing it!) After enjoying that, it is hard to go anywhere else.

    I make an effort to go out when or where kids won’t be…I shop after 10pm, I go to a movie after it’s been showing for weeks, I eat at nice restaurants…so when I encounter a screamer where they shouldn’t be, I tend to lose my mind.


  11. Ahmnodt Heare
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 15:05:09

    My parents never took me out for dinner when I was a kid. Mostly because I acted up quite a bit as a child at home and they were afraid I would do that in public.
    A “Wall of Shame” of the parents of the children who act up would encourage parents to make sure their children behave.

    I love the “Wall of Shame” idea, but there wouldn’t be any room on the walls at the Harribalsac after all the shitty parents and kids I saw.


  12. Hira Animfefte
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 19:34:55

    My parents couldn’t afford to take us out to dinner when we were really little. Not that we ever misbehaved much in public. If we ever misbehaved in the grocery store, Mom would yell at us and trundle us home. We learned not to misbehave in public.
    My brother’s 3-year-old was an angel child when he was 2, but he has learned the Art of Tantrum. His parents end up taking him outside a lot.

    My son got to go outside a lot too. Sometimes it’s just in their nature.


  13. Kim Chase (@KayCeeInRVA)
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 17:45:10

    Mom did not allow acting up…anywhere. She would use “the look” (I, child-free, inherited this while my sis with 3 boys did not) so Mom rarely had to do more than glance our way & whatever we were doing stopped. No yelling, no threats, no smacks…we were raised to respect adults and if said adult wanted best behavior, they got it! Nothing worse than hearing “I am ashamed of you” – horrors! I am thankful I was raised right every time I ask the host for a table far away from children. Brat Ban!!

    My mom didn’t put up with bad kids and neither did I. I know when my kids have kids, they won’t put up with it either.


    • Lauren
      Nov 16, 2011 @ 21:08:40

      Priceless. I actualy silenced a patron’s kid the other day with the look. I don’t have kids either, but that child shut the hell up real quick. His mother just ignored him, so I finally lost my ability to do the same and shot him the death stare. He stopped mid-scream.

      A death stare from a stranger is sometimes better than a gag.


  14. denise
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 09:36:07



  15. Mommetts
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 20:24:49

    I had the horrible child, I was the parent that got to do NOTHING because the child was a beast. I left more places than I care to think about. I was mortified that people would see the hellspawn in action and I cannot stand it when I see parents today shoo shoo Billy or Mary Sue 7000 freaking times as they double fist martinis. I knew that my kid was an ass and hightailed it out of everywhere because of it. It took about 6 months of cut short shopping trips and meals before the kid got the plan. I fully support the child ban, just like movie ratings, some things are not meant for children and some parents are too stupid to realize it and outside forces have to come into play. Im not perfect and I busted my ass to raise a decent kid…I shudder to think what a monster he would be now at 19 if I let him run all over me at 5.

    I look at parents who let their kids run wild and think, “Have fun visiting him/her in prison”. It’s sad more parents don’t realize that if they can’t control them when they are young, they won’t be able to when they are teenagers.


    • christina
      Aug 26, 2012 @ 15:33:58

      Have fun visiting them in prison? Wow…lol. you’re just ignorant.

      Actually, I am not. I raised two very nice, productive members of society BY MYSELF. Many of their friends were allowed to run wild and do whatever they pleased. Their parents are visiting them in prison.

      It appears as if you have nothing else better to do than troll blogs. Your comments will no longer be accepted.


  16. Peter
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 01:27:59

    Hi from afar.
    My wife and I run a small restaurant in a rural area in South Africa. About 9 months after we opened (6 years ago) we decided we had had enough of small children charging around, pulling up plants in our garden, stabbing wooden dining tables with fork tines and generally irritating us. So we imposed a ban on all children under 12. Magic, 99% of our customers were delighted. They are adults and they want to eat in an adult space.

    It’s sad to know people everywhere can’t/won’t control their children. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!


  17. christina
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 15:31:25

    I think you’re only worried about YOUR money. And the fact that you said the main people who complain are the ones with the brattiest kids is just ignorant. My kids are well behaved and I think its wrong. Sure you dealt with shitty people in your “career” choice, but that’s everywhere you go. Sucks that some people treat you like that but get over it. I deal with shitty people too. If you can’t stand to listen to kids scream, or deal with asshole parents then get a better job. Juss sayin’

    Ahhhh…there is so much wrong with this paragraph, I don’t even know where to start, so I won’t. Have a nice day, don’t come back.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: