No Loud Kids Allowed: California Restaurant’s Sign Draws Ire, Doesn’t Hurt Business

The Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California, would rather offer diners a quiet and sophisticated experience.

a californai restaurant says no loud kids
Drop of Light / Shutterstock

The Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California, would rather offer diners a quiet and sophisticated experience.

A California restaurant’s “No Loud Kids” policy is drawing outrage from some members of the community who find it discriminatory and gauche, but the restaurant isn’t hurting for business.

As Yahoo News reports, Old Fisherman’s Grotto in Monterey, California, has had the policy – and a big sign out front announcing the policy – since 2011.

“No Strollers. No High Chairs. No Booster Chairs. Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room.”

It hasn’t hurt business in the slightest, says owner Chris Shake. In fact, they’ve experienced just the opposite.

“We have experienced an increase in sales and a shift in the type of diners who come in because of our children policy.”

As you probably already suspect, not everyone is pleased with that policy. Although Shake insists that children aren’t outright banned from the restaurant – rather, they’re just expected to abide by the rules – several Yelp reviewers have claimed that they were turned away at the door because they had kids with them. (At this point it bears noting that sometimes a business will make the news and then Yelp will be flooded by fake reviewers simply pushing their agenda on the website rather than providing earnest reviews – so the reviews you read below may not actually be from real diners.)

Jack H: As many reviewers already said, this restaurant does not want any children in there. They made it very clear to you the moment they saw you with your kids!

Felisha T: We didn’t bother giving them a try after seeing their sign about no strollers and no loud kids. This is crazy, I’ve never seen something so blatantly discriminatory.

a california restaurant doesn't want loud kids
  Lopolo / Shutterstock

About those allegations of discrimination: Shake points out two things. First, he says that she ran the sign by an attorney and was given the OK. Second, he says that there’s nothing in California law that requires him to allow strollers in the dining room. Third, he says they don’t refuse people with children, but that often times diners with children will see the policy and decide to go eat somewhere else.

In fact, while some diners are put off by the policy, others seem to enjoy it. Amidst the Yelp reviews dragging the place for the policy, other reviewers have praised it.

Teena D: Sometimes its [sic] nice not hearing screaming, navigating around strollers, making awkward eye contact at a kid looking over the booth or throwing food. You can say your child is always quiet and well behaved but not all children are like that, therefore the sign is needed.

According to a 2016 Eater report, businesses that have enacted restrictions or outright bans on children generally haven’t seen their bottom lines suffer.