The owner of an upscale Italian restaurant named Caruso's in Mooresville, North Carolina, made the controversial decision to ban kids under five-years-old in his establishment. And despite taking some flak for the ban on social media, you know what? Overall, business at Caruso's is booming.
Speaking to the Mooresville Tribune, Caruso's owner, Pasquale Caruso, explained that before instituting the new ban, he "had several customers complain, get up and leave because children were bothering them, and the parents were doing nothing. It started to feel like it wasn’t Caruso’s anymore, that it was a local pizzeria instead.”
So in December 2016, Caruso decided to stop allowing kids under five inside in order to keep the upscale atmosphere his patrons had come to expect from his restaurant. He explained that he didn't really want to have to go this route, but he did have to do what was best for the business overall.
He told the Mooresville Tribune:
I try to please everyone, and create a nice atmosphere, keeping the restaurant elegant. I want it to be a place where couples and friends can have a nice evening out. I was starting to lose money and customers, because I had very young children coming in, throwing food, running around and screaming.
The restaurant's manager, Yoshi Nunez, claims that a young girl with an iPad at full volume was the last straw. Nunez told the Washington Post that staff asked the parents to turn the volume down, but they refused:
“Finally, we had to ask them to leave. They were upset, but they didn’t seem to care about what the other guests thought. We tried to be nice about the situation, but we’re here to take care of customers and we can’t tell a parent how to control their kids."
Some critics took to Caruso's Facebook page to express their displeasure at the rule. For example, one person wrote, “Next you will be kicking out all the elderly because they take to long to eat. Slippery slope!”
But overall, the change has been great for business. Caruso told the Washington Post that since changing the policy, reservations have risen and the number of people patronizing the restaurant daily has gone from around 50 to 80. Caruso said:
People don’t want to come in and spend money on a nice meal and an evening out, when there’s constantly food on the floor, loud electronic devices keeping kids entertained, and small children screaming. It was just the right decision for my business.