French cafe's 'housekeeping' post sparks debate over children in coffee shops

Enfants terribles: The Little French Cafe has won support and criticism for its stance on children.
Enfants terribles: The Little French Cafe has won support and criticism for its stance on children. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

It might prove to be a storm in a coffee cup but the operators of The Little French Cafe, at Broadmeadow in Newcastle, have received both applause and criticism after posting a "housekeeping" announcement on the cafe's Facebook page.

On Monday the following post appeared on the site: "If you are looking for a cafe with a children's menu, baby chinos, a play area, lounges for your children to jump on, vast space for your prams, an area for your children to run rampant, and annoy other customers, whilst you are oblivious to them - then the short answer is No we are not child friendly," the post read.

"HOWEVER, if you would like to bring your children here, and they are happy to sit at a table with you, while you enjoy a coffee, and are well behaved, please come in. Otherwise, there are plenty of places that are specifically designed to entertain your children."

Unruly kids unwelcome: The cafe's original Facebook post, since removed.
Unruly kids unwelcome: The cafe's original Facebook post, since removed. 

The response was immediate with parents and their sympathisers calling the post "arrogant" and an "attack on parents", others have vowed to give the establishment a wide berth, The Newcastle Herald reports.

However, a larger number of responses appeared to be in agreement with the sentiments of the post, saying they too were annoyed by out-of-control children in cafes and felt the operator had the right to cater to select clientele.   

By Tuesday the post, which the operator said was in response to a question about whether the cafe was child-friendly, had been shared on Facebook more than 100 times and a lively debate was well under way, but by 11am it had been deleted. 

The Newcastle Herald contacted The Little French Cafe and asked the establishment's operator, a self-described "straight shooter", to comment on the response to the post, but was told the only comment that would be made was a follow-up post on Facebook, which said the original post had been taken the wrong way.

"I do really understand parents with kids. I am one. Which makes it even harder to sit by and watch what some children do, when they are here in my cafe, knowing that if I say something, I'll be admonished for it," part of the post read.  

"I have been subjected to children emptying salt and pepper shakers into my fireplaces, parents changing nappies on my lounges, kids grinding their own food into my carpet, parents sitting babies in nappies in the middle of dining tables, kids running around the cafe like it's a formula 1 track, jumping on the furniture, screaming - just for fun - not pain, and encouraged by their parents, upsetting the rest of the customers and I'd really just had enough.

"Some will agree with my stance, some will not, but it's my stance for my business." 

The Newcastle Herald