Tom’s Drive-In in Fox Cities, Wisconsin, recently introduced a new rule to their customers, saying that certain kids are only allowed to enter the restaurant under certain conditions. To be specific, their rule applies to middle school students, who can’t enter the premises without an adult present.
The restaurant has enacted this rule by placing a sign in the window, reading, “Due to mistreatment of Tom’s Drive-In property, guests, and staff, you are no longer allowed inside the building without parental supervision.”
WFRV Local 5 News reported that the restaurant enacted the maybe-harsh rule after middle schoolers caused several issues at the location. Apparently, the owner tried to get the kids to stop their behavior, which includes — but is not limited to — drawing genitalia on the walls (are you having flashbacks to your middle school bathrooms yet?), stealing soda, fighting customers, and tattooing one another with ink and needles. Yes, we’re talking about middle schoolers here, not prisoners, inside of the restaurant. They apparently left bloodied napkins behind, too.
Yikes. That’s all pretty harsh, but the sign did add, “For those who did not cause any of the incidents, we are sorry for this inconvenience. You may still purchase food through the walk-up window.”
While this sounds pretty horrible for everyone who has to deal with the kids’ behavior, we worry less about the restaurant and more about the kids.
Do they have proper supervision? And what is leading them to behave in these ways?
The restaurant’s president, Scot Grishaber, posted about the situation in a follow-up comment on Facebook, saying,
“Tom’s Drive In would like to thank the community for its support on this issue. It is certainly not our goal to exclude anyone from patronizing our restaurants. As has been noted here earlier, this is not an isolated incident but a recurring problem. We strive to give our management all the tools necessary to provide a hospitable atmosphere for our customers. In this case, our manager felt that this was the best solution to provide that consistent atmosphere that families expect, and we support that decision.”
All of the comments supported the decision, and one parent even responded, “No biggie. My twin middle schoolers and I will continue to come in for the occasional after-school treat. It’ll be much more relaxing for me, and a lot less awkward for them to try and ignore the bad behavior of kids from their own school. We’re totally cool with this.”
Apparently, this is not unusual. Another restaurant in Germany did it, too:
Most people seem fine with it. Like this guy:
I'd like to make a reservation— Stu Clary (@hecanfoos) August 19, 2018
And now people are excited to eat there. But it’s jam-packed!
I called to make a reservation and they’re booked for the next 6 weeks!😎— Shawn (@splamarre) August 20, 2018
One person said that more restaurants should have no-kid and kid sections, just like they have non-smoking and smoking sections. Hmm, not exactly the same thing, but we can follow the point.
Hey Americia restaurants, FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE. I was just thinking, when was the last time I had a meal in a restaurant without a screaming baby, kids running and yelling, the answer is never. They have non smoking areas, why not no kids areas, unless the parents are responsible.— Jay Gaudinier (@JayGaudinier) August 20, 2018
Interestingly, kids aren’t the only thing restaurants are banning. One establishment bans phones:
A clever way to get headlines obviously, but I also think this is a really sweet idea. Lately I’ve noticed more and more kids in restaurants glued to their phones or iPads for the duration of the meal. I’m not saying ban them completely, but a bit of chat over dinner is nice too! pic.twitter.com/tyJBfgpTTF— Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) November 29, 2018
But the drama comes right back to kids. He makes this point:
If you're going to ban babies and kids from 'high end' restaurants, then you better be prepared to ban cellphones and those who talk on them— Jeff Hutcheson (@jeffhutcheson) January 15, 2014
People really, really don’t like kids to eat in public. At any age, it seems:
Ban high school kids from the restaurants I eat from, thanks— Bilal (@Billy_chilly) April 5, 2019
Or to go anywhere for that matter.
List of places to ban kids from:— ML (@mattwlamar) April 11, 2019
-Restaurants with bars
-Indoor family gatherings
It’s true that there’s nothing worse than someone (kids and adults alike) playing games super loudly in public. Take notice, everyone who does this!
They need to ban little kids from having iPads at restaurants— go bills (@Harryschmitt3) February 22, 2019
The digital device problem is real. This restaurant not only bans devices — it also encourages people to ACTUALLY talk:
'Engage with your kids or just stay home': Restaurant owner bans iPhone and iPad use https://t.co/YymGxjCfwG Owner of Canterbury restaurant 'Pazar' Attila Yilmaz has announced a ban on "electronic entertainment devices" after taking aim at nuisance diners on social media. Great… pic.twitter.com/IG8c0FObaS— The Screen Sanctuary (@ScreenSanctuary) February 20, 2019
Someone didn’t agree with the banning of kids from restaurants, however. Their tweet says banning kids is like a restaurant refusing service to someone whose lifestyle they disagree with:
Others suggest people shouldn’t stop at kids. Why not ban annoying adults, too?
I'm really sorry you've had such a poor experience sharing a restaurant with a family. That must have been awful. Don't you think they should also ban obnoxious blokes who like to drink too much & announce their life goings on to the rest of the clientele? Why stop with just kids— Craig Bloodworth (@craigbloodworth) February 16, 2019
In the end, we want everyone to be able to enjoy dinner out. Just, you know, stop drawing genitalia on the walls. And for goodness sakes, stop tattooing each other. Save that for when you’re, you know, an adult. We promise you won’t like those tattoos forever.