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Restaurant Bans Devices and Coloring Books, Tells Parents ‘Please Engage with Your Children’

Restaurant
Joyce Romero/Unsplash

If you’re not going to engage with the people at your table, this restaurant wants you to go elsewhere.

As Mamamia reports, Sydney’s Pazar Food Collective has handed down a new and surprising rule for all of its customers: no electronic devices or children’s activity packs (like coloring books, crayons, or toys) at the table.

As owner Attila Yilmaz explained to the Sydney Morning Herald, the decision was sparked in part by exasperation over the mess left behind by a family who had let their children draw on the table and napkins:

“It’s very upsetting to all of us, there was no, ‘Oh sorry about that.’ The parents just laughed and said they’re just kids. It’s an expectation that we are there to clean up that mess, and we are to an extent, but there’s also a thing called human decency and respect.”

But inconsiderate parents weren’t the only reason for the new rule. In a Facebook post, Yilmaz explained that it was, “not for us, it’s for you and the comfort of other diners.”

Please engage with your children and each other. Life is Short. PAZAR has always been about a collective ideas and…

Posted by PAZAR Food Collective on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Yilmaz wrote that he was inspired by an article for parents about why they should be engaged with their children during a dinner out. While he enjoys serving families and children, Yilmaz wrote that he had noticed a change in recent years, with more parents being disconnected from their children and the food:

As is often the case we see children of all ages, toddlers to teens, entering the restaurant, fixated to their devices before they are even seated. They have no interest in the food and are encouraged to sit, be quiet, immerse themselves in someone else’s imaginary gaming world. There have been times when in our front dining room (seats 65 guests) has been illuminated by the glow of up to 12 devices. The children aren’t interested in the food and at times barely even eat. (We also hate waste.)

Yilmaz describes children sitting on blankets under the tables, who were given McDonald’s or Nando’s food smuggled in by their parents. He says he’s seen puzzles, blocks, and games strewn over the table and toys thrown on the floor.

Apprentice Chef Mia Rose showing our team the Yilmaz secret to an extra cheesy cheese pide.

Posted by PAZAR Food Collective on Thursday, September 18, 2014

But he doesn’t single out parents and families. Yilmaz wrote that he had seen a similar kind of distraction in adults. Some are so busy photographing their food for an Instagram post that they stand on chairs and let the food get cold. And adults are equally capable of being rude with devices:

In recent times we have had cause to ask adults to turn off their iPads, etc , as they want the Friday Night Football, Tennis, Soccer etc. at full volume ignoring their families at the table or cheering collectively as their teams scores a point.

To emphasize that this is still a family-friendly restaurant, Yilmaz announced that kids 5 and under would eat free for any reservation between 5:30 and 6 p.m. But anyone who plans to come and bury his or her nose in a tablet isn’t welcome:

This decision is easy for us because it makes us sad when we see a disconnect from children and adults and also at times a total disrespect of comfort and needs of other diners and how their behaviors affect others. So I we say this. If you aren’t coming to PAZAR as a collective to enjoy the food and interact, engage, converse, laugh, cry, debate and experience then please, please go elsewhere or stay home.

Yilmaz told the Herald that it’s not a total ban. “Reasonable use” of a camera to capture memories or take photos is fine — as long as it doesn’t get to the point where it intrudes on other diners.

Unsurprisingly, the restaurant’s new rule has been met with mixed reactions. Some applauded it, pointing out that this was really about basic manners and civility — and that anyone who didn’t like it was free to find another restaurant.

Screenshot/Facebook
Screenshot/Facebook
Screenshot/Facebook

However, some parents took offense, seeing the comments about engaging with children as uninvited judgment and parenting advice.

Screenshot/Facebook
Screenshot/Facebook
Screenshot/Facebook

Yilmaz is a father himself, so he emphasized that this is about spending time together, enjoying the dining experience, and the food — before it’s too late.

“Please engage with your children and each other,” he wrote. “Life is Short.”

What do you think?

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  1. It is his restaurant, I would like to dine in restaurants like that. Parents need to teach their small children focus and self control in an enjoyable way and mealtimes are a great opportunity to do that. When I see families enjoying being a family in a public place I try to make it a point to compliment the parents for doing such a great job.

  2. This is what people do in restaurants. Many even give out crayons and coloring books to children. Anyone looking to buy out a restaurant that’s about to go out of business?

  3. Working in food service I understand where he’s coming from a lot of people don’t give a shit if they come in and smash chips and other food items all over the floor. They don’t even so much as mention the fact they just made a massive mess because it’s us food service peons jobs to clean up after the master’s most of which are god damn welfare recipients who need a third party telling them to not be slobs and to raise their damn kids correctly. When I went places with my parents these things didn’t exist yet and I’m 33. Guess what I did I say there talking to my parents or siblings we may have colored but we never colored off the paper intentionally. If we did my parents would try to clean it up or apologize for the fact I just created more work for another human being. Those lashing out in just sheer malice are the same people wirh parents who didn’t engage with them and teach them a damn thing about manners or respect or basic human decency. Basically it’s his restaurant he can set these rules it’s not a constitutional right to be a loud annoying asshole slob who thinks parenting is distracting your kids long enough to eat regardless of the outcome to others and that’s considered parenting.

  4. I agree… well done and a great idea. I would love to see other restaurants go this way, you can easily get distracted with these type of devices and or toys, etc. When a family goes out to eat, they need to focus on being a family and also spend time together talking.

  5. Finally! I hate going to a restaurant and you see two people across from each other, both on phones. We don’t do electronics at the table and it’s been that way for years. Also, I never brought a bunch of toys for the kids, they learned to sit and behave or they didn’t come to a restaurant.

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