The chef owner of a restaurant in far north Queensland has banned children under 7 following an altercation on the weekend involving a family with a young child who was screaming.
Liam Flynn has run Flynn’s, a French and Italian restaurant in Yungaburra, population 1000, on the Atherton Tablelands, an hour’s drive from Cairns, for the past 14 years.
He told Business Insider that on Sunday, a 2-year-old child “became a bit temperamental and was screaming” during lunch. After 10 minutes, he intervened, coming out of the kitchen and saying to the parents “would you mind quietening your child down please” and suggesting they take him outside.
Flynn says the noise continued, so he returned a few minutes later and the family were packing up to leave, telling the chef they were “offended by the way I asked them to take the child out of the restaurant”.
The chef says he was then engaged in a debate with the father as the bill was settled when the mother emerged from the restrooms and told him to “f*** off”.
The mother took to Tripadvisor to review Flynn’s, saying “the owner asked us to keep the noise down quite rudely. Within a few minutes he returned and asked us to take ‘the child’ out of the restaurant! I don’t agree with any children running riot while people are dining at home or out. Our little one wasn’t misbehaving or wreaking havoc. On leaving without completing our meal, we complained about the manner in which we were treated. That caused a heated discussion”.
Within minutes of the family leaving, Flynn decided to ban children under 7 from the restaurant, with manager Sonia Tymecka, posting the following note on Facebook:
The feedback from our diners regarding screaming babies have been nothing but wholly negative and in the interest of their wishes we have decided to introduce this policy and it will stand.
If one pays money for having an enjoyable lunch during an anniversary or honeymoon, please do yourself and other patrons a favour by getting a babysitter or by removing the screaming baby from the room. It is purely out of respect for other diners, regardless whether they are two or twenty of them in the restaurant. Those are basic social skills and we do not feel that we should be teaching parents how to handle their children.
The decision has sparked a fire storm on social media, with many people applauding the decision, while just as many were outraged, claiming the move was discriminatory and they would boycott the restaurant. The Flynn’s Facebook page has been bombarded with comments, but more than 1700 people have “liked” the ban news.
It doesn’t appear to have hurt trade – on Tuesday night, Flynn’s 40 seats were nearly booked out.
Liam Flynn, who has a 14-year-old son, acknowledged the decision “opened up a bit of a polarising debate on social media” and “has gone bigger than I thought it would” for a little restaurant in a country town, but said the problem was “some parents are just inactive when it comes to disciplining children in the correct manner”.
“Parents have to curb their child’s behaviour – take them outside until they calm down or do something else, like go to another family friendly restaurant or get a babysitter,” he said.
Flynn said the upside is that everyone is now talking about how children should behave in restaurants.
“This is about the comfort of our diners,” he said.
The restaurant continues to be dog friendly to canines of any age.