Minnesota Arby’s apologizes for sign asking children to behave

Photo: AndreyPopov (iStock)

The other night a woman in Elk River, Minnesota, decided to take some of her children out to dinner at Arby’s. When she got to the restaurant, she noticed a sign in front that said, “Notice: Only well behaved Children who can keep their food on their trays and their bottoms on their seats are welcome. If you can’t do this you will be asked to leave. Thanks”

“I was like ‘oh gosh,’” Christine Hemsworth told KARE-TV in Minneapolis. “I’ve got a two-year-old with me and he doesn’t always keep his fries on the tray or his bottom on the seat. He sometimes stands up.”

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Dinner went without incident. None of the children misbehaved. No one threw anything on the floor. Nonetheless, Hemsworth said that the sign made her so uncomfortable that she couldn’t enjoy her meal. She wasn’t sure what would happen if one of her children happened to drop something on the floor. Would Arby’s not allow her to clean it up?

Since this is 2019, instead of going about her business and maybe not going back to that Arby’s ever again, Hemsworth demanded an apology from the restaurant. Since this is 2019 and everyone must be sorry for everything even if they’re not really sorry, she received one in the form of a public statement from the Arby’s corporate office:

“We recognize the language on this sign was insensitive. We removed it quickly, and have disciplined the manager and team working at the restaurant. It does not reflect our company values and the family-friendly environment we aim to provide in all of our restaurants.”

But really, how insensitive is it for a restaurant to request that parents make sure that their children don’t run around or start food fights? These sorts of things interfere with the comfort of other diners. Taking a screaming or misbehaving child outside is a rite of parenthood. And if you can’t trust your children to behave in a public place, use the drive-thru.

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KARE further investigated and discovered that the sign may have been a response to what it called “unruly teenagers” in the area. A call to the police department confirmed that police had responded to four incidents at that Arby’s since May, but no arrests were made. “Unruly teenagers” could definitely be the same as “children” who stand up and throw things on the floor.

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About the author

Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.