Restaurant Etiquette

A friend of mine’s family owns a restaurant. She came to me with a conundrum a while back.

Here’s the scenario:

A family is out to eat at a local restaurant. Their baby starts to cry. The mom and dad fuss over her at first, but then, seemingly, give up on quieting their child. They continue to eat. Their baby continues to wail. People sitting around them in the packed restaurant start to complain. The owners of the restaurant need to do or say something, but what?

I’ll tell you how my friend’s restaurant handled the situation, but I want to hear from you first.

What’s the best plan for the owners? What is the least offensive thing they can do for the parents, while also accommodating the other patrons?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Harper
    Jun 26, 2013 @ 10:15:07

    Situationally it could change, but I’d probably ask them to take care of their child as the crying is disturbing fellow patrons. You have to respect other diners in that situation, and it sounds like they weren’t. If they refused, I’d say peace out, players!


  2. Stephanie B.
    Jun 26, 2013 @ 12:41:46

    I would go over and ask them nicely to try and calm their kid cause other customers are complaining, If they make a big stink about it then ask them kindly to leave. I have a friend who tries to keep her 4 year old son under control if he starts throwing a fit her or her husband will take him out to the car till he calms down and is ready to behave. I know that doesn’t work with babies but the parents could of tried harder to calm their child. I find most babies fuss at restaurants cause they are being ignored and just want some attention from their parents, or the parents are selfish and go to a late night dinner when the baby should be asleep so they are over tired and cranky. That’s just my thoughts though


  3. AKFrost
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 09:09:17

    I agree with David! There are restaurants that are designed for the entertainment of children (McDonald’s comes to mind) and there are restaurants for everyone to enjoy. And then, there are some every parent should admit that maybe they should think twice before they take a toddler. If parents choose to take their children to a restaurant then they should be prepared to “parent” their children.
    Eating out can be a hit on someone pocketbook, something they may not get to do but on a rare occasion. It may be a place to relax with a spouse after a long day at work. But whatever the reason no one wants their meal to consist of:
    cry / screaming / whining / a child running around their table / food throwing… I’m sure this list can go on with a lot of our experiences that we have seen with poor parenting in restaurants 😦 And I do not blame the children as much as I do the parents.
    I feel and owner / manager has every right (due diligence) to ask the parents to please quiet their child or leave the restaurant.
    Good parenting begins at home. Every parent knows how their child acts in public, and a restaurant is no exception. If you know that your child can not handle a meal without a meltdown then maybe a sitter is the way to go until they can. Or be prepared to walk / carry the child outside until they have calmed down, or worse case scenario be prepared to double team. Once parent takes child to the car while the other parent packs the food and pays.
    Being kind to other patrons is the way to go, and in the long run you are instilling a lesson in your children that such behavior is unacceptable.
    Eventually you will be sitting at your favorite restaurant beaming with pride, while the surrounding people are amazed at how adorable, well mannered, and behaved your children are, and so envious that they could not bring their own children. 🙂


  4. cabg
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 23:11:46

    I am guessing that this child could be one of those kiddos who is frequently fussy in the evening (colic?) and doesn’t really take well to consoling. Maybe it was a difficult day at home and the parents wanted to see if a different setting would help. Not sure, but as a restaurant employee I would have asked them if they wanted to be reseated in an area that wouldn’t bother the other diners or if they would prefer a “to go” option (while holding the “to go” containers in my hands). At any rate, I bet their anger was really misguided embarrassment mixed with personal frustration. I also bet that they don’t go out to eat for a while.


  5. Chris
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 13:20:45

    When our children were that age one of us would take the child outside and to the car if necessary until they calmed down. If they didn’t, then we would take shifts – while one ate the other parent sat in the car with the crying baby. We would have never put a restaurant or any other business in the awkward situation of asking us to deal with our crying baby.


  6. RC
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 03:53:02

    I would simply walk over and ask if they would like anything, (crackers, juice,) talk to the baby to distract… Usually the baby is in need of something. The parents shouldn’t get the hint from that.


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