GYB Trend: To Ban or Not to Ban

I can’t help but notice the changing face of restaurants today. The mentality that a restaurant was just an extension  of your kitchen table is no longer the case. Recently Rogue 24 in Washington, D.C. began requiring patrons to sign a 2-page reservation contract as well as submit a credit card number to make a reservation. The “Reservation Agreement,”states that cancellations made up to 72-hours before a reservation will result in guests being charged for half of the price of a meal, which can cost $175 per person. Any closer to dinner time and they are required to pay the full price. That’s not the only contract you’ll sign when eating at Rogue 24. Cell phone and PDA usage is also banned in the dining room (you can still use these devices at the bar or in the restroom). McDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, PA went so far as banning all children under the age of 6 and Luigi Q, an Italian restaurant in Long Island, prohibits all kids under 14.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been guilty of all of these things. If my phone rings at a restaurant, even an upscale one, I answer it. The call is never a matter of life in death, and I know that, but I answer anyways. Occasionally I’ll take my young children to a restaurant on a Saturday night and even though I try to keep them quiet, I’m pretty sure they end up annoying the couple at the table behind us. Shamefully I’ll also admit that on the rare occasion, I’ll make a reservation to a restaurant and then not show up and not cancel my reservation.

So, does that mean I agree with the rules at McDain’s, Rogue 24 and Luigi’s? Yes and No. Ok, I know I got off easy by agreeing with both sides of the argument, but it’s not a clear cut issue. Let’s look at Rogue 24. If I’m dining out and will be paying nearly $400 for my and my significant other to eat out, I do not want to be distracted or annoyed by other patrons talking on their phone or tapping out a text message. As the owner of Rogue 24, multiple no show no call customers each night could seriously impact their profitability and potentially cause them to shut down. Now, the child thing is where it gets a little tricky. While it is preferable that parents just use their own discretion when dining out with children, they don’t always do so. What’s a restaurant left to do when they have a half a dozen screaming 4 year olds on a Saturday evening? However, my only argument is if your restaurant has a children’s menu, parents are going to bring children. Nix the children’s menu, especially in the evening and parents will eventually get the hint.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion on all these

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