So this is an extrememly brief post before I get to the one I've actually been plannign to do for today, but it is going to be referenced in my next post,and rather than interrupt the continuity of the next post for a lengthy explanation, I figured a short post beforehand would suffice.
I believe that all restaurants ought to be rated like the MPAA does movies. Only there would be some government board that had a rediculously long acronym. we'll call it the Bar and Restaurant Etiquette and Adult Manners Rating Association of America, or BREAMRAA. The idea is that BREAMRAA would rate every restaurant according to the age of clientele allowed in a certain establishment. I would say maturity level, but that would require testing of the entire restaurant going population, and that's a beauracratic and logistical nightmare.
I want to pause and note that I do not have anything against children. I don't. I honestly believe there are well behaved children that go out to restaurants with their parents. I just don't see them very often. So before anyone goes all bananas on me and says I hate kids, take a deep breath, I'm just saying there's exceptions and there's rules.
Right, so the Restaurant Rating Classifications established by BREAMRAA would be like this:
G: All ages welcome. This is for places like McDonald's, Chuck-E-Cheese, Burger King, anywhere with a plastic playplace or where the children's menu involves free toys. Suitable for infants, toddlers, and adults of all ages.
PG: Parental Guidance encouraged. This would be for families with well behaved toddlers and children in the 7-12 range. Places like this would be Golden Corral, any buffet really, Shoney's, Low-end ethnic restaurants, and pizza parlors.
PG-13: No one under 13 allowed. This would be a category for people who want to begin teaching their now-growing children how to behave themselves in a nicer restaurant. Chain restaurants like Olive Garden, where you get more than one fork, would be a good example of a PG-13 restaurant. Any restaurant where it is customary to have an appetizer before the meal, places that serve alcohol with their food.
R: Restricted Ages-This is an 18 and up restaurant. Anywhere there is likely to be wine offered with the meal. Local fine dining and high end upscale casual fall into this catagory. If you are likely to spend more than $150 for two people.
NC-21: Similar to the NC-17 MPAA rating, this would restrict patrons to the age of 21 and up. If a restaurant automatically serves multiple courses, has specialty china, or more than one course of silverware it would be NC-21. Anywhere that has a sommelier or serves on a Pri Fixe menu would also fall into this category.
I think if these simple rating systems would be employed all waitstaff and patrons would be much happier. I recently went to an NC21 rated restaurant, and if a child had interrupted my fourth course by screaming, I would have been really mad. Likewise, I was in an R rated restaurant about a year ago and a couple had seven (7!!!) five and six year olds at their table nearby. It was a birthday party for one of the children. Now, I think its nice the parents were willing to pay $15 a plate for gourmet mac'n'cheese for those kids, but their constant yelling, one-upping and running through the restaurant unchecked really got on my nerves. If I am paying that much for my meal, I want to enjoy it in peace. That may make me selfish, but there you have it.
On to the main event, my friends.