Debate Ensues After Restaurant Posts Request

February 5, 2014

Tribe Road Kitchen restaurant set off a social media debate after posting a request on their Facebook page that customers who bring their children ensure that they remain seated with them at all times.

The request drew hundreds of comments across the social network, as locals debated the posting, with some feeling it was heavy handed, while others felt it was a very reasonable request.

In a subsequent posting the company reiterated that they appreciate their valued clientele, and did not mean to make any form of personal attack, and are just working to  improve all aspects of their business, which employs ten people, nine of whom are Bermudians.

The original post on Facebook which attracted over 115 comments said:

Good day Tribe Road followers,

We love our outdoor seating area, it is one of the features that we know draws the customers we value so much.

However, over the last few months we have noticed a growing trend in the behaviour of some of the children that is impacting service, cleanliness and – most importantly of all – the quality of experience enjoyed by other clientele.

Going forward we are requesting that those customers who bring their children to ensure that they remain seated with them at all times. We understand that for some of you this may seem unjust and we apologise, however we are trying to improve every aspect of our product.

The owners, management and staff all agree that this is one of many necessary steps required to attain the success we desire.

Thank you very much for your continued support.

The most popular response on the original post — with 50 “likes” — said: “There are so few places with outdoor space in Bermuda to go for a coffee or lunch. TRK was one of the few places popular with parents for this reason.

“Personally, I think you are going to miss out on a lot of family and stay at home Mum business. Why not capitalize on the amount of kids here, and offer kid friendly meals, snacks, a sandpit, small toys, high chairs, plastic cutlery etc. a shame.”

Another comment — with 28 “likes” — said: “People should stop complaining and just control their kids. You wont let your kids run around inside of a restaurant so the same should go for the outside of one. If you want kids to run around then go to your local parks…just saying.”

Tribe Road followed up with another post which gained 30+ comments:

As the owners and operators of Tribe Road we have to hope that all our patrons would understand that there has to be balance set. We welcome everyone.

However we can’t have the experience of our patrons ruined by unruly children. We have had no objection to children playing in the yard, however screaming, rock throwing, climbing trees amongst other things are not cool or considered acceptable behavior.

Last Saturday a child of no more than two years old was chasing a small girl with a huge rock that he threw at her and the parents were totally unaware. This is just one of many incidents that has bought us to where we are.

So what we are asking is to please come and enjoy but be in control of the children. Don’t be upset, think about everyone and their experience and how we can make it better.We as the owners are liable if someone gets hurt.

Please don’t get upset and make brash comments, this is not a personal attack just a nice message to request your observance and responsibility as a patron.

The most popular response on that thread — with 28 “likes” — said: “Unfortunately, bad behavior has gotten so far out of hand that many parents no longer recognize it for what it is!

“And worse yet, many parents find their children’s actions ‘cute’ when in fact they are rude and disruptive! You have every right to protect your business and to create a comfortable atmosphere for your clients. Good for you for speaking out to do so.”

Tribe Road then posted another update, which earned over 125 “likes” saying:

Good afternoon Tribe Road Followers,

We are always open to constructive criticism and are humble enough to concede that we have a long way to go before we are completely satisfied with our level of service. Any business that does not continually evolve and improve will not succeed. Success, of course, is the aim for us and we will do whatever we feel is best for Tribe Road Kitchen.

Our company is a small one. We have 10 staff in total, 9 of whom are Bermudian, and 8 under 30. Only 1 is foreign. Our crew is like a family and we provide valuable work experience (and pocket money) to school aged teenagers and college students in the hope they will continue in the hospitality industry. We endeavour to continue this recruitment policy as we feel Bermuda is best staffed by Bermudians.

Last night’s post was written in response to what we believe to be an escalating problem. It was not written by a team of highly paid social-media gurus or marketing specialists – mistakes were made. Let us clarify, this is a problem that mostly affects Saturday brunch and not our morning coffee service. However, we stand by our request for children to remain with their family. As former kids ourselves, we remember our parents insisting on this.

Family friendly does not give free reign to use our space as a playground, and we imagine the majority of establishments would agree with us on this.

We are working on improving every aspect of this business, our shortcomings are as recognisable to us as they are to you, our valued clientele. This is just one of many public announcements that will be made over the coming months, the majority will be positive.

Thank you again for your continued support.

The first response to their final update on the matter — with 20 “likes” — said: “All your comments this morning have been very well said!!! It is not children you are objecting too, it is unruly ones! And you are doing it not only for the enjoyment of patrons but also the safety and welfare of said children! Full support given!!”

As people shared the posts to their own pages they spread throughout the social network, even reaching overseas, with the most recent comment made this morning by a Canadian resident who said they will be traveling to Bermuda in June, and plan to check out the restaurant.

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Comments (20)

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  1. cool says:

    glad to see everyone’s priorities are in the right place

  2. Not My Child says:

    They Tribe Road K are 100% right. It is only common courtesy to the other guests to CONTROL your children. To many of “not my little Johnny” he can do as he wants so >>> I applaud them for their stance and a few other restaurants need to take heed, along with some grocery stores. If it offends some so much don’t go, the business will still grow and possibly faster with just a little restraint.

  3. Hmmmn says:

    Someone mentioned opening a kid friendly restaurant. Yeah right. If kid friendly were profitable there should a be a slew of them on island as there is no shortage of kids.

    I know business professionals who stopped going to TRK because of the unruly children being allowed by the parents to run amok as one person said “like Tasmanian devils”. Makes you wonder who is in charge at home.

    They are now considering going back. And they spend more than mommies buying one coffee.

  4. Libby says:

    As a friend of the owners, and supporter of TRK from the very beginning, I have watched TRK’s development with awe. From humble coffee shop to wonderful restaurant, they have crawled, walked and are now running. Yes, the wait staff are young and sometimes inexperienced…but that goes with the charm and they are NEVER rude or obnoxious. Something I have encountered on more than a few occasions with adults in other establishments. Everyone has to start somewhere and TRK gives these teens a chance…a chance that many establishments will not give. Children have always been welcome at TRK but some parents unfortunately took advantage of TRK’s understanding attitude, used the garden as a day care situation and let their children run wild. These are likely to be the same parents who wrote the nastiest posts on TRK’s FB page. I was disgusted, shocked and horrified by the venom that came out. Ridiculous, uncalled for behaviour from extremely childish parents. If you can’t keep your children under control at a restaurant then it is YOU who are at fault.

  5. Arikahs1 says:

    If your children are well behaved then the new rules wouldn’t affect you or them. I bet it’s the ones whose children run amok that are up in arms.

  6. Walt White says:

    guess ill be wearing my “I can handle my ‘Pit Bull’ Better than you can handle your kids” shirt, the next time i go to TRK. Good for TRK. I was driving passed there not even a week ago, seen a kid climbing over the fence onto the sidewalk to his mother who was pushing a stroller, like who encourages that? The kid may have been about 7 or 8. For once its not even BeBe’s kids lol.

  7. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Maybe if some of the parents started acting like parents this poor restaurant wouldn’t have this issue! I’ve seen it at banks as well…like it’s a freakin’ McDonalds playground. Tripping up customers standing in line and running back and forth to the water cooler. Parenting these days seems to be in the pot on the backburner! Give it a few years and theses same kids will be screaming past you on a blind corner on Harbor Road doing 70 kph…with not a care in the world!! PARENTING PEOPLE PARENTING!!!Start it the right way from young.

  8. omg says:

    I went to this establisment one Saturday morning, and was enjoying the experience UNTIL,… a couple of mothers came in with their toddlers and all hell broke loose, these kids were running amock and I left, never to return.

    Such a nice place, I will now consider returning.

    • enough says:

      Exact same thing happened to me, but now I will be more than happy to return. And I have raised my own kids and never have they been allowed to act unruly when they were out in a public place.

  9. JJ says:

    I used to go to TRK every morning for a caramel latte. WIth out fail.

    However, now I have stopped because of just this. There are children running around EVERYWHERE. Playing in the little pond, running around screaming!

    Mind you there are a few well mannered children, but not enough to make me start going back to TRK.

  10. TRK says:

    I read a lot of the comments when this was posted on TRK’s Facebook page. What really bothered me was how some people really didn’t take the time to understand what TRK was actually requesting. One man was highly offended by the TRK posting and said that he and his “well behaved” daughter will take their business elsewhere. Well, if you feel that your children are well behaved and will be respectful, why boycott TRK? They’re not banning children, they’re merely asking for a little more respect to not only their other patron, but there property… what’s wrong with requesting that? Some people were just too quick to pull the trigger. Also, customers used this post as a great opportunity to run down the service at TRK. If you don’t like the service, wait time, or quality of food, why are you going there in the first place??

  11. Joonya says:

    I know that when I was boy if I had started pulling out plants and throwing them in the pond, ie destroying other’s property, I would have got a cut-ass! But thats the problem nowadays, you cant descipline your children anymore so they do what they want and the parents go: “aww look at my little angel”..
    Never been TRK but now Im curious now.. TRK had every right to enforce some control in THEIR environment.

  12. New Bermudian says:

    It was the wording. I agree with the sentiment, children shouldn’t be a nuisance, but two things- the first and last time I went there, the service for a PIZZA took over an hour. I had my very young child with me- so, do you think he got bored, restless, and cranky? You bet. He was tired and hungry. I expected that we’d get served in about half an hour, but an hour was way too long. Other kids were there, getting equally wound up- so it was indeed a matter of service. My kid wasn’t running wild and being a nuisance to others, but neither was he in ‘his seat at all times’ as the message demanded he should be. So, ya know…I won’t be going back. The service just sucked, and the food- once it got there- was just okay. And it was the wrong order. I was so freaking hungry, I didn’t send it back.

    Dreams are great to have, but you need to make sure all the parts of your business work well in order to make that dream happen. People patronize restaurants for their experience, then for the food. My experience was less than optimal, and it had nothing to do with the herd of children careening around the place. My son was dancing, out of the main thoroughfares- but not bothering other people. I suppose we wouldn’t have been welcome under the new rules?? I get it- unruly kids shouldn’t be welcome anywhere. But I expect PROMPT service, within reasonable parameters. Kids who are eating are usually not the ones running wild.

    Address the individuals instead of this passive-agressive post on social media. I know- it’s uncomfortable, but THAT would be the correct and most effective way of handling the problem.

    • Joonya says:

      Your meal took so long becasue staff spent half their time bobbing and weaving around all the children!

      • New Bermudian says:

        Um, no. That wasn’t it at all. There was no bobbing and weaving, unless the kids got into the kitchen, because there wasn’t any food coming out!

    • Hmmmn says:

      They did address the individuals and they were ignored.

    • JOB Please says:

      good you won’t be missed.

    • JOB Please says:

      good you won’t be missed. where does it say fast food restaurant. BEST pizza in Bermuda and it is worth the wait

  13. ella says:

    Totally support you Tribe Road!

  14. Just sayin says:

    Rich white people think they can do what they want!