An upscale Italian restaurant has raised its public profile after making the bold decision to ban children from its dining room, garnering some criticism but also keeping their reservation book filled up.
Management at Caruso’s in Mooresville, North Carolina decided in January that there are no longer any spots open at the “kids table” after one particularly truculent toddler refused to turn the volume down on her iPad while her parents took no action.
Caruso’s manager, Yoshi Nunez, said the situation created chaos for other patrons who want to enjoy a relaxing and delicious meal. Eventually he had to ask the family to leave the restaurant because of how disruptive they were being.
“They were upset, but they didn’t seem to care about what the other guests thought. We tried to be nice about the situation, but we’re here to take care of customers and we can’t tell a parent how to control their kids,” he told the Washington Post.
This event led to a ban on any child under 5 years old, which has been a controversial subject in the fine dining business for years.
“Banning children has always been a topic in the industry and every owner says, ‘I wish I could do it,’” Nunez said. “Our owner has the full support of the staff. We work here to make a living, too, and we support our owner 100 percent.”
Since the ban, Caruso’s has garnered some criticism from parents who say banning all children under five is discriminatory, but most people support the decision made by owner and namesake, Pasquale Caruso.
The ban is not the first of its kind. A restaurant in Rome called La Fraschetta del Pesce also has a children under five ban. In Australia, one restauranteur has a ban on children under seven, reports Eater.
“A lot of parents think they’re paying for the space and service and taking a break, and therefore taking a break from parenting as well,” Liam Flynn, owner of Flynn’s restaurant in Queensland said. “There’s a lot of people that feel they are not accountable for their own or their child’s actions.”
Caruso’s ban has actually had a positive impact on its business. Its owners are seeing spike in their dinner service with reservations going up from 50 to 80 tables a night.