Banning kids from a restaurant is not illegal.
The restaurant is on an island off of Germany's coast.
- in Germany recently banned children from dining in the establishment.
- The decision led to an increase in sales.
- Other restaurants in the US and around the world have enacted similar bans.
It's no secret that bringing small children to a restaurant can be difficult. That's why it's not exactly surprising that some restaurants end up banning kids altogether, despite the fact that it's a very controversial decision. A restaurant in Germany is one of the latest spots to ban kids completely and while there's been some backlash, business is booming.
The restaurant, called Oma's Küche (translated as Grandma's Kitchen), is located in Binz, which is on the island of Rügen on Germany's Baltic Sea coast. On August 13, the restaurant banned children under the age of 14-years-old from coming into the restaurant after 5 p.m.
The reason is simple: the owner, Rudolf Markl, had spent years watching kids behave badly in his restaurant, and he decided he had had enough.
In an interview with Quartz, Markl explained, "guests complained that they wanted to have a nice evening, with dinner and a bottle of wine, and time and time again children ruined that. They throw food around, play tag, shout loudly around the place, climb under the tables - and other guests have no patience with it anymore."
Markl also placed most of the blame on the parents of disruptive children, saying that they don't care how their kids behave and get upset when they're asked to control them. He defended his policy, saying, "it has nothing to do with discrimination. It is a restaurant and not a playground."
Oma's Küche isn't the first restaurant to instill a policy like this.
Banning kids from restaurants is becoming more popular. Sean Gallup/GettyImages
Markl certainly isn't the first restaurant owner to keep kids out of his restaurant. In fact, it seems like it's slowly becoming a trend. In 2012, Spiegel reported on a cafe in Berlin introducing a "no children" policy.
But this isn't limited to the US.
Old Fisherman's Grotto, a restaurant in Monterey, California, has a policy stating children "crying or making loud noises" are not allowed to dine there. Caruso's, a fancy Italian restaurant in Mooresville, North Carolina, banned kids in 2019. Hampton Station, a pizza place in Florida, also banned kids in 2019.
The establishments all had the same reasons behind their no-kids policies: children can be very disruptive to other diners, and many parents do nothing to try to stop them from acting out.
On top of that, many business owners argue that having small children running around can be dangerous — not just for them, but employees and other customers as well. Servers who are walking around carrying hot plates or busboys holding huge piles of dirty dishes could easily collide with the kids and cause an accident.
The decision is met with outrage from some, but overall, restaurants that ban kids see an increase in sales.
Some parents were upset with the decision. Lynne Sladky/ApImages
Still, the decision of each and every one of those restaurants was initially met with the same reaction: public outrage, mainly from parents who feel the rule is "discrimination." Old Fisherman's Grotto has had their policy in place for years, but every once in a while, it gains attention and a slew of negative Yelp reviews.
Hampton Station gets similar reviews on Yelp, with one review saying, "Have some class… seems that they're banking on alcohol sales. Won't be getting any from me." The angry reaction from parents and others isn't uncommon.
It also isn't the only kind of reaction these bans get. In fact, they seem to have something else in common: once a restaurant enacts a "no children" policy, their sales usually increase. Markl at Oma's Küche, for example, says that since enacting the policy, business has been great, and he's gotten over 1,200 emails of support.
When Caruso's in North Carolina introduced their ban, owner Pasquale Caruso told the Washington Post that they saw a "dramatic increase in reservations" with a spike in diners from about 50 each day to around 80.
And although there are plenty of negative reviews from angry parents and other kinds of social media backlash, a lot of people saying they appreciate the rule.
Banning kids from a restaurant is not illegal.
So, at the end of the day, is it discrimination to ban children from a restaurant?
Legally, the answer is no. As Lindley Law Office has pointed out, "businesses are given leeway to set their own rules and have the right to refuse service. Under federal law, however, (The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act), business owners are only prohibited from discriminating based on race, religion, national origin, or disability. Age is not a protected class."
Basically, at the end of the day, a restaurant is allowed to ban kids if they want, and even though it won't please everyone, it certainly seems to be something that could significantly increase sales, as well as attract attention.
Video: "Banning kids helped my restaurant boom"
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