Baltic restaurants – children must stay outside

The Baltic Sea resort of Dierhagen at the entrance to the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula. Strandstraße, restaurant “Schipperhus” in thatched farmhouse. Even this short description sounds like summer, sun and relaxation. This is how it should be, Ricarda Biebl thought to herself in the spring of this year and, after careful consideration, hung an A4 sheet on the pane of the glass entrance door.

“Dear guests”, it says. “Due to many unpleasant events in the past, we have decided to no longer serve families with children under the age of 12. The Schipper household.”

Too loud for the relaxation mood

When asked why, owner and restaurateur Ricarda Biebl says that the service staff and herself are not responsible for keeping the children occupied. She and her husband bought the former farmhouse a few years ago, renovated it and opened it as the restaurant “Schipperhus” in May 2018.

Behind the whitewashed clay walls in the black-brown half-timbered frame, guests can expect a relaxing stay with homemade, fish-based cuisine. But the experienced restaurateur has observed for a long time that more and more parents in inns simply do not take care of their minor children anymore or do not look after them enough.

This is the limit

At the beginning of the 2022 high season, she states: the measure is full, from now on only with the access restriction. “Because it strikes me that the general appreciation of gastronomy is no longer given. That simply no more care is given. That everyone is their own neighbor. That the parents are preferably more concerned with themselves than with the children.”

Again and again we are offended when we go to the table and say, ‘You need to be a little quieter. We are a very small restaurant.’

Waitress in the resort of Dierhagen on the Baltic Sea

Ricarda Biebl has now been in the catering business for almost 30 years and knows that especially younger children quickly get impatient. Especially when they are tired, hungry, bored. But it is definitely going too far for her that more and more guardians are still playing with their smartphones even after the meal is served. That they don’t intervene when their children turn a restaurant into a substitute playground where the rights of the loudest and most rowdy prevail.

“If something happens in the store. My waitresses are stressed. They run with hobs, come out of the kitchen through the swinging doors, with hot sauces. And then something happens. We don’t want that. We want to avoid that. .”

Unpleasant experiences in the guest room

Brenda Zimnitzki, a brunette waitress in her early 40s, has witnessed and vividly described a series of “unfortunate incidents” in the dining room.

“It cannot be that when we work we have to raise other people’s children. We are always offended when we go to the table and say: “You need to be a little quieter. We are a very small restaurant. ‘”, she tells.

“We only have seven tables. But when the parents say: “Yes, my child needs to develop.” It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. There needs to be some calm and atmosphere. It doesn’t work when children are running around here screaming. We’re not a McDonald’s, we’re a small restaurant. A family business.”

Also on the website of the “Schipperhus” restaurant, a little hidden next to the history of the house, menu and opening hours, the note says: “We no longer serve families with children under 12 years old.” Deliberate age discrimination. Understandable or redundant?

How do the locals and holidaymakers see it?

Locals and holidaymakers in Dierhagen see things differently. Some show understanding and can understand the concerns of the “Schipperhus” staff – and see the parents’ duty to teach their children that you can sit still for ten minutes. Others find: It is not possible, it does not fit into our time!

A young mother says: “It’s really sad. children are life Children are the future. And they have the same rights as adults.”

But even adults have no right to be rude to staff and other guests. At least that’s the opinion of Rudolf Markl, another restaurateur on the West Pomeranian Baltic coast.

“When the child takes a bun from the plate and rolls it back and forth on the white cloth carpet, the parents sit next to them and are amused that the child can ‘unfold’ – it can, but not with us. “

Good behavior, tolerance and consideration

Rudolf Markl is an imaginative Bavarian who was drawn to the island of Rügen. In 2006 he founded “Oma’s Küche” in the Baltic resort of Binz. Long before the German non-smoking law as a nicotine-free café and restaurant.

The man with the mustache attaches great importance to hospitality, which he counts on good manners on the part of all involved, child-friendliness and a balanced relationship between tolerance and mutual consideration.

The real culprits are the parents who are no longer able to raise their children.

Rudolf Markl, chrome man on Rügen

But because the latter rarely works in a certain age group, “Omas Küche” has been taboo for children under 14 for exactly four years after

A holiday guest and his 13-year-old son regret it. “We are family people, and so it is part of the process that there are children and that normal family life can also be lived,” says the father. And the son adds: “I think that’s unfair. Why can’t children go there? I want to do something with my parents and not just sit somewhere at home”.

“Parents abandon their responsibilities”

Innkeeper Rudolf Markl understands the boy. But: “The real culprits are the parents who are no longer able to raise their children. Or who are so ignorant that they don’t care. They leave their responsibilities at the front door. The children can do what they want. The most important thing is , that the parents are at peace. And that cannot be.”

One of the waitresses, herself a mother of two, answers questions from astonished, sometimes irritated families about the reason why “Oma’s Küche” does not want to reverse the business model in this regard.

“I really enjoy welcoming families all day long until 5 p.m. I enjoy it. I don’t have any problems at all, but I have to say: We ask the parents in a very calm tone, ‘Man, couldn’t you just say that in a sensible tone…?’ We ask very kindly: ‘Would you perhaps like to pay attention or take your child by the hand?’ And all too often had to experience that it was ignored.’

You are not hostile towards children, says the spa director

Back to the Baltic Sea resort Dierhagen, where families with children under 12 are no longer served in the “Schipperhus”. When the owners’ decision became nationally known, spa director Stephan Fellmann was a bit worried about the image of the tourist region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

You are in no way hostile to children, he explained in an interview with the local broadcast MV-TV. At the same time, he expressed understanding that restaurant owners like Ricarda Biebl make use of their domicile rights. Last but not least, they want to protect their already overworked staff instead of losing them.

“Obviously, I’m hoping for every single restaurant that stays in the market. That’s actually our main problem: that we don’t have enough catering staff, that we don’t have enough restaurants in town. Also because of this early attrition of the season. But of course I hope , that our guests still want to come to us and make use of our family-friendly offer.”

Shit storm on social media

That is the case this summer 2022, which has so far been magnificent from a tourist point of view. All are well booked – both the many hotels, guesthouses and inns that explicitly advertise their child-friendliness, also those with only limited access for the smallest. Restaurateur Ricarda Biebl is defending her decision despite being attacked on social media for it. With Twitter posts like: “How is the food when even hungry children prefer to throw it away?” Others were hoping for Biebl’s impending bankruptcy.

But she says: “I’m fully behind it. Absolutely. That’s how it is, no matter how much I’m insulted online. Most of the time it’s anonymous. It’s now the case that the positive feedback outweighs it. Me or my service staff – we are not responsible for the employment of the children.”

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