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That was the question posed last week, and more than 21,000 readers weighed in saying that restaurants with stated policies about children's unruly behavior would actually entice them to spend money there.
While Firefly executive chef Danny Bortnick has taken steps to make his restaurant more kid-friendly, it is a two-way street - your kids need to act right.
And before you go off thinking Bortnick is some kind of booster seat hater, he is a father - and his restaurant is in the middle of Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle: a densely populated urban neighborhood often busy with families and young kids.
Five Ways to Make Your Child More Restaurant-Friendly: Danny Bortnick
1. It all starts at home
2. Make meal periods interactive
At restaurants, let them choose what they would like to eat and bring a restaurant-appropriate activity (kids are not interested in adult conversation or spying on the couple at the table next to you, but whatever the activity, make sure it won’t be bothersome to neighboring tables).
3. Make dining out sound like a special, rewarding and fun experience
4. Discuss restaurant etiquette BEFOREHAND as it applies to children
If you are looking for more than the above as you are building good habits, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The rules for home as far as eating your vegetables, etc., may need to evolve into the restaurant rules. After all, dining out with kids can be stressful enough, so you may want to consider lightening your own stress-load. Focus on the behavioral aspect.
Again, use dessert as a reward for good behavior/eating. And be consistent - I cannot stress this enough! Also, be patient. It is going to take time to go from zero to sixty.
5. Call ahead to the restaurant
Give the restaurant a heads up that you are bringing children. This gives them a chance to select an appropriate table and perhaps assign a server that has a better disposition for serving families.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
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