A restaurant in Geneva decided that it didn’t want children under the age of four coming through its doors at certain times. Geneva’s restaurant and hotel association hit back.
Laurent Terlinchamp, from the association, said: “We live in a mad world. I have never seen anything like this before.”, reported 20 Minutes. Adding that he was “flabbergasted. I would have had the same reaction if it had been based on race, religion or gender.”
Last week the restaurant posted a message on their website stating: “For everyone’s comfort we do not accept reservations with children less than four, thank you for your understanding.” The restriction applied to bookings after 8 PM.
The restaurant decided on the new policy in response a number of people leaving the restaurant because of disturbances caused by young children.
In response to the media reaction, the boss of the restaurant defended the restaurant’s position on Facebook. The Facebook post, which has since been removed, went viral.
Manager of Le Milan restaurant, Daniel Grangier said: “I am astonished by the buzz.”
The post said that sometimes children are well behaved, but too often they cry and protest and bother other guests. These days, many parents are not bothered by the commotion created by their small children. Our customers, businessmen, romantic couples, friends and gourmets, wish to dine in a calm relaxing atmosphere and don’t want their meal spoilt by crying and other meltdowns. We like children, but parents are not aware of the nuisance they cause and our customers should not be subjected to their lack of parental oversight.
The post closes with: “We know that this decision is controversial, but it results from a duty to serve you in the best possible way. We look forward to seeing you or not.”
A follow up post, which is still on the restaurant’s Facebook page, says that a restaurant is a place to get together convivially and respectfully, open to all regardless of social background, sexual orientation, religion or age. We have launched a debate and hope we have added to the learning on how to live together. More than 1.5 million people read our Facebook post about children. We hope that parents are now be more aware. At The Milan we still offer CHF 5 pasta dishes for children and nannies for celebrations and will continue to do so. Now we will return to the kitchen to engage in our passion, cooking and bringing pleasure to our guests. Our kitchen is open to all.
Judging by the comments on 20 Minutes’ website, the move, while polarising, appears to please the majority of those commenting. One, Madeline, said: “Bravo. As a mother of three, I appreciate going to a restaurant in the evenings and not hearing the cries of children or seeing them run past tables without the parents intervening under the guise of a new style of parenting where kids are left left to do whatever they want. In any case, children should be in bed at night. Parents need some one-on-one time. Frankly, there is nothing shocking in this decision. I won’t hesitate to come and spend some time relaxing in this establishment.”
In the end, The Milan might have inadvertently pulled off a piece of clever marketing.