A Canterbury restaurant that banned children from eating on its premises is standing by its decision after widespread media attention.

The Herald on Sunday ran a story yesterday about The Little Bistro restaurant, in Akaroa, not permitting children under 10 to dine at the local cafe.

Owner Richard Uttley said the move to go child-free came after several complaints from diners and an incident where a child ran into an employee, injuring her.

"A child ran into a waitress with a tray of glasses and she cut her arm pretty severely," he said.


Today Uttley told the Herald the majority of responses the bistro received about the restriction had been very positive.

"Our child-free policy has been in place for three years, so for us it's nothing new.

"We have no intentions of changing our stance on children in the restaurant."

Following up on that, Uttley said the bistro had also now introduced Phones-Free Friday, which is gathering great momentum.

"If you hand over your phones at reception when you arrive we'll give you 15 percent off dinner and provide you with a list of questions and topics to talk about."

Uttley says he was prompted to introduce the policy after noticing a lack of conversation in the restaurant even though it was full.

"I thought the restaurant was empty it was that quiet, but when I popped my head in, every single table was on their phones."

The child restriction came to light after a woman, who doesn't wish to be named, took her 8-year-old granddaughter to the restaurant last weekend, only to be turned away by Uttley.


She said her main gripe was that the policy wasn't well advertised and if she'd known, she would not have taken the child.

We never enjoy receiving poor reviews, we would just wish guests would do there homework. #childfree

Posted by The Little Bistro, Akaroa on Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Uttley insisted it was online and said it was also written in chalk outside the restaurant.

The woman said that while the restaurant is entitled to its own policies, it is unfair to stereotype all children.

"No child of mine has ever eaten off a kids menu and had a nugget, because I can't stand that. I want children to learn about good food. My manners are impeccable, as are my children's and my grandchildren's."

Uttley said as an employer he is responsible for minimising health and safety risks to employees, and the size of the restaurant was also a factor.

He said their original intention was to set the age at 12.

"But after consulting several parents who dine at the bistro, schoolteachers and looking into the stages of psychosocial behaviour, we felt that the age was too high and reduced it to 10," Uttley said.