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Entries in restaurant (2)

Monday
Apr072014

We Don’t Know How…

A weekend course I was attending ended early.  Clearly the instructor wasn’t interested in staying until 6PM when he announced we could leave shortly after 11AM.  He was wise; it was a beautiful day and one better spent outdoors after the miserable winter.

The class was being taught ten minutes from my granddaughter’s house, and I was excited to sneak in and see the 9 week old.  Heck, I might even get to see her parents.

Arriving at the house after texting my intent, my daughter-in-law had the baby ready to see me.

“It’s a beautiful, warm day.  Let’s get the little one outside in some fresh air,” I quickly hinted.  Everyone’s house is sealed up, and it is time for everyone to get out.

“She’s not been 100%.  We want to make sure she’s well, and we don’t want her getting sunburn,” mom quickly pointed out.

I pushed.  The only time the little girl has been out of the house is to go to the doctor’s office.  “Tell you what.  Let’s go to brunch!  We’ll get everyone together and grab a bite.”

Mom was perplexed.  She squirmed a little.  “We don’t know how.”  And we certainly don’t want to disturb everyone around us.

There are many facts about children coming to play when raising a child.  One is they don’t come with an instruction guide.  Another is it does take a village.  This is an example where the grandparent (me) can share some tricks.

“This is easy.  You need to figure this out early on.  It’s better for you and her,” granddaddy shared.  “First off, fill her up so she’s sleepy.”

Mom kicked into gear.  As she fed the little one, I shared some pointers.

Most babies will sleep through a meal if they’ve already eaten.  It is important to take your baby out of a dining area if the little one starts wailing.  Wailing is what a siren sounds like…and is many times greater volume than fussing.  (This reminds me of one time when out with one of my kids at a toddler age.  The toddler was tired and the siren was being prepared to go off.  My wife took her cloth napkin and gently covered the child’s mouth as she whisked him out of the dining room of the somewhat fancy restaurant we were enjoying.  It is hard to say who was more startled, our child or me!!)

For our inaugural voyage with the granddaughter we chose a busy kid friendly restaurant, Joe’s American Bar and Grill.  When our group arrived, a quick visit to the hostess station got us set in a good direction.

“We have a group of five with a baby who has never been out to a restaurant.”  The hostess quickly sat us in a corner of the restaurant.

“If she starts fussing, just rock her car seat turned cradle.”  There is a reason some car seats have rounded bottoms….it allows a gentle rocking action out of the car.

The waiter likewise understood.  “While we’d like a leisurely Sunday brunch, the truth is we need to move along before the granddaughter awakens.”  He made sure our food service moved along.

The granddaughter did great.  She fussed just a bit, easily overshadowed by a teenager having a hissy fit across the room.  Of course, it’s hard for family not to hold her, so when she did awaken she got passed around our table to loving family.  She was never a disturbance to anyone.

Sometimes accommodations by parents will make all the difference.  We were once in Montreal for a conference and wanted to enjoy a nice meal.  We spoke with the restaurant, and they set us up in a private area so we could bring the baby carriage in with us.  While we ate early and before the rush, we had our fancy meal and the baby slept through it all.

On this sunny Sunday, we had the first of many family brunches!

Wednesday
Sep262012

Why one restaurant declares, “No Lifeguards on Duty”

Restaurant owners are a fickle bunch.  They basically dedicate themselves to a lifestyle, toiling away long hours to make a living.  Yet one thing they all seem to agree on is kids need to be watched.

Let’s think about making a pizza.  For purposes of this post, let’s assume the owner has $6 profit on every pie sold.  And let’s assume re-upholstering a booth costs $1000, or 166 pizzas.  One hundred sixty six pizzas.  That’s a lot of dough.

Is it any surprise restaurant owners bristle when the soccer team comes in for a celebratory pizza and jump up on the upholstered seats with their cleats on?

To be clear, the restaurant owner wants the soccer team to come celebrate and have a nice time.  What restaurant owners do not understand is why parents allow their kids to “run free” in their restaurant.

Many owners are hesitant to say anything as they don’t want to offend the parents.  However, if a running child knocks down an elderly patron, who is at fault?  The child’s parents or the proprietor.

We recently saw a funny sign at a restaurant we frequent.  While keeping with the theme of the restaurant it gives parents a subtle hint at appropriate behavior.

I celebrate this.  It’s only common sense, and something some parents seem to lose when they go out with children. 

To be clear, I am not suggesting children be “little angels.” It’s just they can have a nice time without destroying the efforts of others.

What’s your view?