As it turns out, it may actually pay significant dividends to have well-behaved children in public spaces. If you don’t believe it, this story may change your perception forever. A wine bar owner in Padua, Italy has found a way to compensate parents that enter his restaurant with kids that are not public disturbances to other guests.
Call it ‘penne saving’.
Parents with polite children can secure a 5% at the Italian restaurant in Padua, who has gone to great lengths to keep his place free of rowdy children. His solution to the madness is an innovative one: providing an incentive for parents to make their children behave.
When Antonio Ferrari, the owner of the restaurant, had decided that enough was enough after complaints from other patrons during lunch hours about bad behaving children, he came up with the grand idea after viewing one table in his restaurant that had 11 guests, including five kids that were sitting there but very well composed. As a token of gratification, Ferrari decided to give the large group 5% off their meal. Since then, he has kept up this practice, giving the same ‘sconto’ to families that have entered his restaurant with well behaving children.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ferrari opined that approximately 30% of the parents he encountered his restaurant during lunchtime hours didn’t know the proper way to handle their kids and more often than not, allowed them to run rampant through the establishment and pester other patrons, thereby forcing the people working for him to swerve in order to avoid running into them.
In Italy, lunches that extend for hours – sometimes up to three – are still honored and considered a social and culinary tradition, though not as commonplace as they were generations before. Meals of this length still include antipasto – platters that can include bruschetta or prosciutto – and then pasta as a dish, next followed by a dish made with meat, followed by vegetables.
The children in Pamela Druckerman’s novel Bringing Up Bébé are portrayed as well behaved and sitting quietly in restaurants as the adults around them engage in conversation. This is in France. In Italy, however, families – and by extension children – are rowdier, louder and overindulged by parents who view it as a typical part of childhood.
Ferrari has no children but points out he is not attempting to be judgmental and opines that parenting children is more difficult today than ever. Having said that, however, he also believes children should be reined in in public areas and more respectful in areas like bathrooms and also from running around inside and around tables. He relayed experiences of parents telling him that his space was public and they were therefore allowed to do whatever they wanted inside of it, but he countered that he was ultimately responsible for any accidents.
The party that he gave the discount to was delighted by his kindness and left €30 as a tip, he said.