Arby’s is apologizing after a Minnesota location put up an unofficial sign warning of consequences for misbehaving children.
Last month, Christine Hemsworth took some of her children to a local Arby’s in Elk River, Minnesota for dinner.
Upon arriving, the mother-of-five was greeted with a sign on the door that read: “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.”
“I was shocked to find a sign like that. It is a fast food restaurant, it’s not something with white tablecloths. It’s supposed to be family-oriented as far as I knew,” she told KARE 11.
The notice left the mother uneasy. She hesitated to go in and considered leaving to eat somewhere else with her children — one of whom is a toddler.
“I was like ‘oh gosh,'” Hemsworth recalled. “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.”
Despite the notice, she decided to go in with her family, but said she felt wary throughout her meal.
“It was kind of uncomfortable in the restaurant the time we were there,” Hemsworth told the outlet. “I have a toddler. I wasn’t sure if it was because they didn’t want to clean up messes. I always clean up my children’s mess anyways but it was an uncomfortable and stressful meal.”
After learning of the unofficial sign, Arby’s issued an apology stating that they had disciplined the franchise’s manager and staff.
“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,” a spokesperson for the chain told PEOPLE in a statement.
However, the news has caused debate about bringing children to restaurants, with many voicing their support for the manager’s decision to put up the sign.
“I wish more places did this. Maybe parents will get the hint and discipline their kids,” one person wrote on a Facebook post shared by KARE 11, while another agreed, writing, “I would be more inclined to eat there because of the sign.”
Another person wrote, “Thumbs up for Arby’s. I will patronize Arby’s for this. When I go anywhere, I do not want to deal with children who are not taught manners or how to behave around others. Kids are kids, but they do not need to be unruly. Parents should teach their children how to act in public, and this sign would not have needed to be posted.”
On the other hand, some users mentioned that children need to learn from experience in order to understand public dining etiquette.
“When the children in our family were little I took them to a variety of restaurants for the purpose of teaching them how to eat in public as well as to spend time with them,” one person wrote. “There is an etiquette and how we eat at home is very different than how we eat in public. Children don’t know what they aren’t taught.”
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