A pizza shop in Tampa, Florida, posted a sign on their doors last week that simply read “No children” in all capital letters.
Quickly after, Hampton Station Pizza’s social media exploded with outrage from parents in the area. A Tampa Bay Mom’s Group on Facebook even alerted the owner that the pizza joint was about to lose a lot of customers.
Troy Taylor, owner, originally started the pizza shop in the Seminole Heights neighborhood as a family-friendly, “hipster” joint, according to Fox News. But after “a lot of people who couldn’t keep their kids under control” came to the restaurant, Taylor told the Tampa Bay Times, he was forced to take action.
The restaurant is located on a busy street and features an unprotected patio with access to the road.
"A kid was in danger and could have seriously been hurt," Taylor said. "It’s a liability and safety issue. After the incident, I thought, this can’t happen again."Troy defends his decision, pointing the metaphorical finger at the alcohol his joint serves. He believes mixing alcohol with children in the vicinity is a bad idea for business.
Commenters on social media have been split half-and-half on the matter, with some Facebook users wondering if this falls into “some type of discrimination”.
One user wrote, “This is a place that neighborhood families rallied around. I mean, this place literally uses action figures as their order markers.”Many came forward in support of the new policy, writing that there are many other places in the neighborhood that are family-friendly.
Another Facebook user was straight forward, telling upset customers to, “get over it. Go somewhere else it’s not that big of a deal lol.”
Previously, other restaurants in the area have also taken up the same policy.
Fox News reports that one restaurant in the same neighborhood experienced backlash for not allowing children into the establishment. The owner specifically cited the dangers he witnessed when parents would allow children to run around on the patio unsupervised.
Update: The restaurant responded to the post about their sign:
UPDATE: From a Hampton Terrace neighborhood group "We had a few incidents the past couple of weeks where kids were endangering themselves and other patrons.
From a liability standpoint we just can't afford to have that. So after a long discussion and plenty of thought on the issue, we decided this was our best course of action. It's a hard decision and I'm sure it's going to hurt our business, but I just couldn't live with the fact that a child might get hurt at Hampton.
I know we are probably going to face a social media backlash and probably lose some of our longtime customers, but hopefully we can make it through this. We had a lot of great kids come in to Hampton and we are going to miss them, but this had to be done for everyone's well being. If anyone has any concerns or questions please feel free to give them my number.
It's a tough decision we have people's feelings, jobs and our business at stake and there was no easy answer."