A Friendly and Understanding Approach to Parenting at Restaurants

Parenting is a challenging journey, filled with numerous responsibilities. As parents, not only do we strive to keep our children safe, loved, and cared for, but we also play a vital role in teaching them to be respectful and law-abiding individuals. However, there are times when it feels like we’re failing in our efforts, even when we’re not.

Children go through various phases that can test the patience of even the most dedicated moms and dads. While imparting a sense of right and wrong is crucial, it’s important to remember that they are still learning and growing. Children will be children, after all.

Thankfully, most people understand this and are tolerant of the ever-changing and unpredictable behavior of young children. That’s why, a few years ago, an Arby’s in Minnesota caused quite a stir when they introduced a new sign with the intention of regulating the behavior of children entering their restaurant.

Arby's Sign

This story comes from Christine Hemsworth, a mother of three who visited her local Arby’s in Elk River in October 2019. She was taken aback when she saw a sign hanging on the door that read:

“Only well-behaved children who can keep their food on their trays and their bottoms on their seats are welcome. If you can’t do this, you will be asked to leave.”

Christine’s immediate reaction was unease since she had her two-year-old with her. She explained, “I was like ‘oh gosh.’ I’ve got a two-year-old with me, and he doesn’t always keep his fries on the tray or his bottom on the seat. He sometimes stands up.”

Despite her concerns, Christine decided to use a coupon for a family meal and proceeded to eat at the restaurant. However, she admitted that she couldn’t fully relax during their time there, feeling uncomfortable due to the sign’s message.

When she got home, Christine took to Facebook to express her thoughts about Arby’s unusual sign. She stated, “I’m not a complainer — I’m really not. But this just didn’t sit well with me. The manager could have addressed the message to people individually, not assigned it to the general public.”

Unsurprisingly, Christine’s story has circulated on the internet multiple times in recent years. It sparks a debate among commenters each time, with some believing that Arby’s was in the wrong. However, most people agree that it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are well-behaved.

Arby’s, in response to the social media post, issued an apology and promptly removed the sign. A spokesperson stated, “We recognize the language on this sign was insensitive. It does not reflect our company values and the family-friendly environment we aim to provide in all of our restaurants. We have disciplined the manager and team working at the restaurant.”

Parenting is a journey of learning and growth, both for children and for us as adults. It’s important to understand that children can sometimes act out or misbehave, but with patience, guidance, and understanding, we can help them develop into respectful individuals. Let’s strive to create a welcoming atmosphere in all establishments, where families can enjoy their meals together.

What do you think about Arby’s decision to put up that sign? We’d love to hear your thoughts.