It seems that some people are more tolerant than others. We’ve all been there. You have gone out for a nice quiet romantic meal with your partner. Your eyes have lovingly met over candlelight - and a piece of lasagne has hit the wall behind you with a squelch. The culprit? A rage-filled toddler on the table next to you with a strong aversion to pasta.
Generally, the adult population makes allowances for parents and their children. There is a tacit understanding that parenting is incredibly difficult and that sometimes the behaviour of children can be wild and unpredictable. We calmly and indifferently get on with our day.
This is not the case for one restaurant in the German town of Binz which has banned children under 14 years old after 5pm. Oma's Küche, which roughly translates as ‘Grandma’s Kitchen’ has implemented the measure to stop their adult customers being disturbed by badly behaved children during evening meals.
Rudolf Markl, the restaurant owner, has finally reached breaking point over constantly broken restaurant furniture, and damaged fixtures and fittings. Wear and tear to soft furnishings is one thing and part of the cost that cafe and restaurant owners factor into their business, but destructive children (whether intentional or not) take things a step too far. Mr. Markl is particularly aggrieved by the breaking of an antique photo stand, broken after parents failed to control their rowdy brood.
He’s very clear that children frequently spill drinks, tear tablecloths and create additional levels of work for already busy staff. For Mr. Markl, enough is enough.
He told DPA news that “We’ve been thinking about this for a very long time and we have somehow reached that point where you say: This just can’t go on like this”
He’s very clear that he doesn’t hate children, and notes that many children are capable of being aimed. This measure is being aimed squarely at parents. Particularly parents who see their children misbehave and "acknowledge it with a smile, keep on eating, and don't care at all.”
His point is perhaps well made. It is a parent’s responsibility to provide rules and chastisement for their unruly children and if this is absent then children are unlikely to behave. It should not be the job of him or his staff to provide discipline, particularly not in a modern society where offence is easily taken and online reviews can sink a potential business.
Oma's Küche has become a quiet oasis of calm for those seeking a child-free evening out, and also a wider point of contention. Some have branded Mr. Merkl’s stance as heartless. Heartless or not, his furniture, fixtures, and fittings are free from bite marks.