Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kids and Restaurants

On Saturday, Anna Griffin had a nice column in The Oregonian about taking kids to restaurants.  In it she suggests that restaurants that are kid friendly do so at the cost of profits. I don't buy it.  Kids surely impose higher costs on the restaurant than do adults (both in cleaning and in deterring kid unfriendly customers), but the revenues from families surely outweigh these costs or else few restaurants would cater to kids.  A handful may do it simply out of the goodness of their hearts, but market realities are what they are and the fact than many restaurants (including many 'heartless' chains) cater to kids means it is clearly a profit maximizing strategy.  Those that don't see higher profits by catering to kids don't, like the coffee shop in the article.  In equilibrium there will be places that make an effort to shun children and many that do the opposite.  Customers that dislike dining with kids will seek out the former and those who wish to dine with kids, or don't mind kids, will seek out the latter.  So I make no apologies when I bring my children to a kid friendly place.  Sure, I am grateful to restaurants that do cater to kids, and I show my appreciation by bringing them my custom.  End of story.  

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