Arby’s is getting serious heat for a sign posted at a Minnesota branch of the fast-food chain. The sign 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.” Not surprisingly, parents across the U.S. have some strong feelings about the message.
The media brouhaha began when Christine Hemsworth, a mom of five, visited an Arby’s in Elk River, Minn. with a few of her brood to get some dinner. When she spotted the sign, she was “shocked.”
Hemsworth told Minnesota news outlet KARE 11, “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.”
Uh, that’s what we thought, too. Curly fries are not exactly caviar.
A parent says this sign at a local Arby’s made her uncomfortable: “Only well behaved children who can keep their food on their trays and their bottoms on their seats are welcome.” https://t.co/lRsoOEkjAS pic.twitter.com/EdrLKw1kRe
— KARE 11 (@kare11) November 8, 2019
You can watch video of Hemsworth here:
Hemsworth said to the outlet, “I was like, ‘oh gosh.’ 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.”
God forbid! A standing, fry-moving toddler!
Hemsworth did stay and eat with her kids, but she admitted that she was “uncomfortable” and wondered why this Arby’s had issued such a warning.
“I wasn’t sure if it was because they didn’t want to clean up messes,” Hemsworth said. “I always clean up my children’s mess anyways but it was an uncomfortable and stressful meal.”
Twitter lit up with the story:
“We recognize the language on this sign was insensitive,” an Arby’s spokesperson told People. “We removed it quickly, and have disciplined the manager and the 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.”
The news, however, has sparked a greater debate about taking children along to restaurants — and interestingly, many people are publicly expressing support for the Elk River Arby’s sign.
Sorry, but i don’t want to eat with kids running around being wild. The sign wasn’t maybe the correct thing. But come on be a responsible parent and maintain control of your children.
— WildMnNstar (@WildMnNstar) November 8, 2019
Be comforted by that sign and the creators of it. Be uncomfortable that parenting at large has deteriorated to a point that such signs are necessary.
— Erik Geiger (@ErikGeiger) November 8, 2019
But others pointed out that the sign discriminates against families with special-needs or very young children:
Ridiculous!!!! Ever met a wonderful child who has ADHD?? Or even a toddler?? Guess what they don’t sit still and are messy eaters!!
— Ashley (@ashhhk25) November 8, 2019
Maybe it’s not the best idea to take your kids to Nobu or the Russian Tea Room. But we feel that fast-food restaurants need to stay family-friendly — for all families. This smacks of just more parent-shaming to us. No thanks.