Child ban “been like heaven”

A Nelson restaurant owner has dubbed his child ban a success, saying that the change has “been like heaven” after becoming fed up with damage caused by kids.

Fabian Prioux, owner of Abbey Road Burgers, Bar and Café opened the restaurant in November last year but soon had to foot the bill for the damage caused by children, which totalled in the thousands of dollars. These costs – replacing broken chairs, tables and damaged paintwork, led Prioux to ban all children under the age of 12 from the premises, and insisted that customers between 12 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

“This decision has been made after a year of drama and problems with non-educated children,” he said. “The kids make some damage and the parents don’t say anything. The tables have been stabbed with knives, the chairs have been damaged as they climb all over them with their shoes, and there has been damage to the paint. We should not have to deal with this damage, especially when their parents are right beside them and can see what the child is doing.”

Since the ban, Prioux said that the dining experience had increased exponentially.

“Since then it has been like heaven. We’ve had some great feedback from people saying that it was a good move,” he said. “Of course we now have to refuse some families so in a way we are losing some trade, but at the same time I think it has attracted more people because they know they can come and eat at a place where they will not be annoyed by kids.”

Prioux, a Frenchman who has been living in New Zealand for eight years, said that in his experience working throughout Europe, he had never seen anything like the behaviour of children in New Zealand.

Prioux’s actions have prompted calls of discrimination, but the Human Rights Act allows for provisions where it is “not unlawful to treat people under the age of 16 differently on the basis of age.”

Child-free dining has become something of a trend – the Little Bistro in Akaroa banned children under 10 in May, prompted by an incident where a staff member was injured by an errant child.