In the October issue, editor Michael Sanson asked how restaurant operators deal with the issue of noisy customers and other loud distractions. Here are a few responses.
My family and I have operated a restaurant in Kansas City for 30 years. At Manny's we serve Mexican food and seat over 300 people. We pride ourselves on catering to families as well as adults who come to enjoy Margaritas. The key to functioning with both groups is to never lose control. Kill them with kindness. As a floor manager you can always put out a fire or control a situation with a smile and genuine care. If a child is being too loud, have the band go over and play at the table. No child can refuse the mariachis. Offer the parents help and ask if there is anything they need. You'll be surprised at how responsive they are while you're also letting them know that they need to control their child.
David M. Lopez
Kansas City, MO
Our restaurant is located in a 100-year-old historic building (brick walls, original tin ceilings, stained concrete and wood). We are not a white tablecloth restaurant, but still a really nice night out. Our only complaint for three years of business is the noise. (Now keep in mind this is only stated once every six months, usually when there is a large group trying to talk over everyone else). Our biggest compliment (besides food and service) is the comfort and feel of our establishment. We have spent thousands on analysis, sound architects and environmental engineers. All have the same answer — bass traps, sound panels, fabric (lots of it), table cloths, baffles, etc. All of these will change our appeal and what we are. All in all, most of our customers say it is the humming of a good restaurant.Jason Clark
BIN112 on Trade Street
My 26-year-old restaurant burned to the ground nine years ago. Our great landlord rebuilt in 14 months and the night we opened was a noise nightmare. The 150-year-old brick building is now steel with lots of hard surfaces. We went to work quickly and glued $12,000 worth of recording studio baffle material to the ceiling. You can barely see it and it works.
In our rural area, it is nice to have some noise because the place feels busy. We have live music seven nights a week. I put in seven volume controls for 18 speakers and it works well. But if you think suited men drinking martinis can be loud, try dealing with bachelorette parties. They are the worst.
Anyway, about the crying babies: Years ago I had cards made to hand out to the moms and dads of crying babies. I printed 500 and handed out two. You would not believe the grief I get for saying something to these BMW-driving spoiled parents. Immediately you are child haters. They are the ones who were never properly toilet trained.
Kids leave slimy fingers all over the windows, crap on the floor, scream at will and run around while the parents make out. If I dare say anything, the parents write a letter to me, the local newspaper editor and numerous websites saying I'm the meany.
Friar Tuck's Restaurant Inc
Nevada City, CA