Kids Free Restaurants

Apologies for not updating the blog for a while,  I have been involved in a few projects and was busy launching my first book on buying a food franchise – Click here to check it out…)

How often have you been in a restaurant with your significant other enjoying a romantic dinner or attending a business dinner with colleagues or clients only to have a family with small screaming children sit at the table next to you? You end up listening to screaming kids all through your meal or even worse, having a grubby fingered urchin running around the restaurant playing hide and seek under your table while their parents eat in blissful silence, totally unaware and uncaring about the havoc their child is creating.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a child myself but I am one of those people that like children when they are at least a mile away and under strict parental control. My wife will tell you that I go green at the gills just watching a baby eat…….Yuk!! And that included my own! Another story she loves to tell is about a time some years ago while at a party where a variety of dips and snacks were laid out on a low coffee table. Unfortunately two small unsupervised children, who were not chained to the nearest lamp post, were eating in their own little way which meant double dipping and fishing broken chips out of the bean dip (with fingers of course). I turned a few shades of green and had to move away from said table or risk  embarrassing myself in a number of ways.

So, it was with some interest when I read a Yahoo news story about an English restaurant that imposed a  “Baby Tax” equivalent to $5 on anyone bringing a baby or toddler into the restaurant. Of course there was an uproar from the local community and the restaurant ended up apologizing and retracted the “Baby Tax.”

Now, my question is, did the restaurant retract the tax because they upset a few parents or did they retract the tax because the local newspapers had gotten a hold of the story and blew it up with interviews, etc.

After doing a bit of research (it took 5 minutes) I found that this seems to be a growing trend not only in the restaurant sector but in other areas of business as well.

Malaysian Airlines have banned kids in first class, some theaters are having adults only nights and I don’t mean xxx movies. Some hotels, resorts, cruise lines and condo’s  have bans or restrictions on children so there is obviously a need for these services.

The growth of kid free restaurants, businesses and areas while not outstanding, still shows a trend that needs considering. One North Carolina restaurant has a sign that says “Screaming kids will not be tolerated.” In another part of the country a restaurant called McDains has banned all kids under 6 years of age and have claimed that sales have increased!! This is unfair, there are a lot of 7 year olds that could be banned as well but where do you stop!!

I fully understand that kids and families have the same rights as everyone else, but those rights also relate to people that want a quiet dinner without the interruption of screaming children. While I do not agree or disagree with the no kids policy, people should have a choice and you have a choice to spend your money in a no kids restaurant or take your patronage elsewhere.

I know where I will go….

Pizza Perfection – Louie’s On The Lake

I don’t normally give recommendations to any establishment let alone a non franchise one but last weekend my family and I went to a pizza establishment in Rabun County, North Georgia and I had one of the best pizzas of my life.

The crust was light, crisp and exceptional although a little salty but my wife said this was not normally the case; the toppings were of the highest quality and matched the cheese to perfection and they were all cooked in a brick oven to a magnificent golden brown.

Now I do not want to get into an argument regarding New York vs. Chicago or your favorite pizza place just around the corner but a good pizza is worth telling the world about and this one was fantastic. Besides different pizzas are what makes the world go round and they are all just the same food group….the food group of the gods.

So if you are ever in Rabun County take a drive to Lake Rabun and visit “Louie’s On The Lake” I guarantee it will be worth the trip.

The décor is a bit eclectic, the tables are all wobbly, you either overlook the car park or the road and, yes, he is building what looks like his kids playground in the entrance way but that is all part of the ambiance. The wait staff are great and for $16.95 for a 16 inch pie you cant go wrong.


Are You Serving Good Coffee?

On a recent short break I had the pleasure of spending a weekend in a very exclusive mountain lodge in Western North Carolina. Magnificent views, fantastic service, private hot tubs in the rooms, first class restaurant, and a bar with a multitude of fine single malt scotch….. you get the idea.

The first night we had a superb meal followed by drinks and a chat with our fellow guests and a bit of a late night. The next morning feeling a bit fuzzy we wandered down to breakfast looking forward to some great bacon and eggs and a couple of gallons of good coffee. Hey we all know that bacon, eggs and coffee are the only cure for feeling a bit fuzzy!

After ordering breakfast and waiting somewhat impatiently we nearly fell over backwards when on the first sip (even before that because you could smell it) we found that we had been given truck stop coffee! Weak, institutional, probably Robusta beans drained through a recycled paper filter and left to cook for a couple of hours on the hot plate, (my wife calls it schoolhouse coffee and I wonder what type of school she went to!).

The point is that good coffee machines can be bought or leased on a monthly basis or on a per cup basis so easily so why would a high end resort still be serving truck stop coffee? Does the average American or visiting European not complain?

Let’s not stop there. Look at all the great diners that have been around since Buddha was a boy, most of them are the same. Does the general coffee drinking population still think that truck stop coffee is ok? Do that not expect any better from a high end establishment? Am I totally wrong in thinking that most people would prefer a good Arabica blend cappuccino or latte. Maybe it’s the time I spent in Europe where a great coffee costs round about a Euro and it is hard to get a bad cup of coffee.

It is worth the expense to serve a good product not just the food. Your customers will appreciate the change in quality and you don’t have to charge Starbucks prices.

Think I am going to put some more thought into this subject and in future talk about how you might add good coffee to your small restaurant.