February 09, 2013

Family gets discount on restaurant bill for ‘well behaved kids’

 At a time where airlines are charging more for child-free seats and people are routinely enraged about out-of-control kids in public, one restaurant is rewarding parents when their pint-size diners show good manners. 

When Laura King and her family got their bill at Sogno di Vino, a small Italian restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington, listed under the subtotal was something they had never seen before: A discount for "Well Behaved Kids." 

King was so touched by the restaurant's gesture that she posted a picture of the receipt on her private Facebook page.

"We have not received a discount for our children's behavior prior to this, but we have been complimented on numerous occasions regarding our kids demeanor and behavior," King told. The restaurant had also given her children complimentary ice cream.
"As a family of five with kids aged 2, 3 and 8, we know the restaurant staff isn't always terribly excited to have us at one of their larger tables. Having worked front of house in the restaurant industry prior to having children, I also know first hand what it can be like to serve families," King wrote. "We don't expect handouts for acting respectful of the folks who bring us our food. But it certainly makes you feel good when someone else notices your kids in a positive light." 

The discount isn't restaurant policy though Sogno di Vino owner Rob Scott said that he tries to reward good behavior when he sees it. He often offers free desserts to families with well-behaved children, he told, but this was the first time he had included it as a discount on the bill. 

He told  that King's children were extremely polite, remembered to say "please" and "thank you," and stayed seated during their visit—something that doesn't always happen when hungry kids are waiting for a meal. 

When it comes to good restaurant manners, though, the King kids have had plenty of practice. "We take our kids out to dinner at least weekly, varying the restaurants, types of cuisine and ambiance," King told.

"We don't expect rewards for behavior," she added. "Our discipline starts at home and what follows is well behaved kids in public." 

That's not to say that things are always perfect. "If we were to have a meltdown, we would remove our child from the table and go to a quiet place, most likely the restroom, and have a chat with them," King explained. 

The King family's experience is a reminder that parents don't have to relegate themselves to years of "family friendly" processed food at places with drive-up windows or giant mouse mascots. 

"My advice is simple: make sure your kids are well rested, have had a snack and are going to get your (the parents') attention while out at dinner," King told. "Notice your surroundings with your kids -- the music, the people, the art, the food, the sounds of the chefs, etc. Talk with your servers, talk with the chefs if they're visible, engage with the experience as a whole." 

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