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Restaurant Bans Kids: Smart Move for Business?

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 07, 2013 8:36 AM

Not allowing kids in your restaurant or business may sound elitist, but a simple age limit policy should be legal.

Proving it isn't impossible, a sushi restaurant in Virginia made a big splash even before it opened, going public with its "no patrons under 18" policy, The Huffington Post reports.

Is a "no kids allowed" policy right for your business?

Is An Age Limit Legal?

Public accommodation laws prevent private businesses from discriminating against customers based on many protected categories, including race, gender, disability, and religion. But being a minor is generally not included in those protected categories.

In fact, many states, like Nevada, allow businesses to legally impose age limits up to the age of 21, as well as give special discount prices to older as well as younger patrons.

So while you may need to check the laws of your state, generally your business can impose an age limit for your customers that would prevent kids from coming in.

Why Would You Want No Kids?

Other than trying to cultivate a certain kind of atmosphere for your business patrons or restaurant diners, you may find that your legal troubles dwindle when fewer kiddies are allowed in.

For example, if children are injured on your property, under a theory of premises liability, you may be responsible even if those kids are trespassing.

These sorts of pint-sized problems can also impact what sort of commercial insurance you choose. Policies for businesses that allow children are likely to be more costly.

Consider Your Reputation

As a more non-legal concern, you may want to consider what sort of effect a "no kids" policy will have on your business' goodwill.

The Virginia sushi restaurant's ban on children was greeted with mixed emotions from patrons, with some claiming that the policy was doomed to alienate parents, HuffPo reports.

Depending on the character of your business, it might be best just to lets the kids in.

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