61 answers

Cleaning up at Restaurants???

Hello Mamas! I have a question regarding cleaning up at restaurants...Do you feel it is necessary to clean up after your child (ie: cleaning up the floor/carpet) after your meal is complete and before you leave any type of restaurant??? I always wipe up the table area and bus the table of course if we are in a fast food restaurant - (that's standard, I know)...Any comments would be helpul! Thank you!!! :-)

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I am sort of in the middle I guess. I have seen the way they bus tables, and dont notice that my stacking everyones stuff makes a big difference, so I dont do a lot of that. We do try to tidy up per se, but I am not getting on the floor to clean up cheerios and crackers. Honestly, they can run the vaccuum pretty quickly over it, and not be doing any more work than they would have had to do. Big stuff, or major messes, we take care of, but for me..part of the reason I go out to dinner is that I dont have to cook, serve, or clean up. My kids dont really make big messes either though. For me, that is part of teaching them to respect where we are, they just dont make the mess in the first place. HTH ~A.~

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Oops...I guess I'm the only one that doesn't. I guess I feel like I'm paying for the service of the food plus the clean-up.

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I use to work at restaraunts and I would have to clean up after there were small children present. First of all I think that kids cant help themselves there just children and messes are going to happen. But also as a mom I find myself cleaning up after my childen. I think it is helpful, and it does show some kind of respect to the employees at the restaraunt.

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Oops...I guess I'm the only one that doesn't. I guess I feel like I'm paying for the service of the food plus the clean-up.

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I am sort of in the middle I guess. I have seen the way they bus tables, and dont notice that my stacking everyones stuff makes a big difference, so I dont do a lot of that. We do try to tidy up per se, but I am not getting on the floor to clean up cheerios and crackers. Honestly, they can run the vaccuum pretty quickly over it, and not be doing any more work than they would have had to do. Big stuff, or major messes, we take care of, but for me..part of the reason I go out to dinner is that I dont have to cook, serve, or clean up. My kids dont really make big messes either though. For me, that is part of teaching them to respect where we are, they just dont make the mess in the first place. HTH ~A.~

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L.,
This is my opinion, if your child is in a high chair, don't give that child the kind of food that will end up all over the floor. I had friend who let her child grab the chips bowl (for the chips and salsa) and just play with them. I was mortified! The child was squeezing the chips, throwing them, etc. You can imagine the mess. I ended up taking them away. There were a few responses about teaching your child respectful behavior. If you train your child young, he/she will be a better person for it. Just as you would teach your child that part of the dining experience is to tip your waiter/waitress, so is how one behaves. I agree with someone that mentioned you need not pick up every crumb. But, you can certainly control what your child has access to and limit the kind of mess your child, our children, make. :-)

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I always try to clean up the best I can after my DD...I say teach your children to respect others and their occupations. I wouldn't want her to think that it is ok for her to go into an establishment, make a mess, and the leave it for someone else to pick up...Just my opinion though...Good Luck!

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Yes you should do your very best to clean up after your child. My daughter works in a family restaurant and the servers argue over who has to wait on the families with small kids. It's not fair for the servers to have to clean up an overly messy table area before any one else can be seated there and the server loses money waiting for the next group to sit b/c it has to be throughly cleaned first.

G.

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Try not to let your kids make a mess in the first place and you won't have to worry about it. I've had babies who made messes and I always picked up the biggest stuff, left a big tip and apologized to the wait staff. Now my kids are big enough (3 and 6) that they pick up their own messes, as much as possible. If they drop a fry, they pick it up. If they spill a little juice, they wipe it up. I think it's gross and disrespectful when I see other people walk out without even trying to tidy up.

I'm one of those people who also thinks you should hang up the clothes you try on instead of dumping them all over the dressing room. When you've worked in retail and in restaurants, it makes you think twice about leaving behind a mess.

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Since at alot of restaurants these days the waiter/waitress has to do alot of clean-up & sidework on which they are not even making near minimum wage, Yes. I don't pick up crumbs but napkins, etc. I don't clean up spills either they usually are prepared for those & can clean up easier than you.

YES, definitely! my kids are 14 months apart and if they made a mess, I cleaned it up...the restaurant personell are not paid the clean up where kids have been allowed to toss food all around...they make their money off of turnover and it takes time...as to them saying 'don't worry about it' they have to say that or loose their jobs..train your child and you will reap huge rewards....especially when it is not a child centered restaurant....it is very disheartening to the wait staff to go to a table and see that a cyclone has blown through...it is also not fun to be another diner where kids are allowed to do this........my .02 is if you don't clean up, don't take them....oh, and keep them in their seats - don't allow them to runaround or turn around and stare at other diners...

I do pick up as my 2 1/2 year old makes messes. I do not pick things up off the floor, unless it's a big chunk of something I can eaily pick up. I am NOT going to crawl around on the floor at a resturant picking up food. After all the perk of eating out is not having to clean up afterwards, it's part of their job. And I do NOT consider myself low class for this. If people are appaled at messes left by other people's children then my advice to them is take it up with the restaurants who should be cleaning those messes, or don't go to the restaurants, eat at home and clean up your own mess if that's how you feel. Sorry if I sound a bitty crabby about that, but I don't think someone is low class because their child makes a mess at a restaurant. If it's a family friendly restaurant they expect this kind fo thing, and those are the only restaurants I will take my kids to anyway.

I think a good rule of thumb is this: look at the mess when you're finished eating. If it is more than would be there if it were just you and your husband, then start picking up. If it's just the same amount, then I think it's okay to leave some crumbles on the floor. All kids are different - some are super messy and some are surprisingly tidy. Also, look at what the area looked like before you sat down. Was it really clean? I'd just say, pick up an excessive amount of garbage but don't feel like you have to do the waiter's job for him.

HOpe that helps.

We try to clean up any big pieces that are easy (and as many cheerios as we can)...they will need to sweep up anyway..so I figure they can at least get the crumbs.

Just be sure to tip a little extra if they have to clean up a little more or if they went out of their way to help with your child/ren.

Yes it is important to clean up after your kids...or tip bigger.

Bussing your table? No. That's why you go out and why you tip. Fast food - always good manners to clean up after yourself.

No worries. :)

My DH and I always clean up after our child. Plus, stack plates, etc....I wouldn't want to clean up after someone else. So, I extend the same courtesy.

I do. I always clean up the tables at any restaurant. I did when I only had one child and I still do it now that I have 5. I think that it is just good manners. I know you buy to use that table, but when you move out of a house you do not leave all your tash behind, right? Don't feel bad about it, I think you are doing great!

Yes, I always do some clean-up if my 2 1/2 year old makes a super mess, especially if a lot of it winds up on the floor. A couple of pieces of food . . . no biggie. But if she's in one of her messy/destructive modes, I always feel it is my responsibility to do the cleanup because she's my kid!

I have a big family (4 kids) & we make a mess. I try to make a point to get all the trash together on 1 plate & maybe stack them so they're easier to pick up. I don't wipe up the table or clean up the floor, I went out so I didn't have to clean up :) But, we do leave very good tips. They earned it (usually, LOL).

Personally I feel like I need to, but one time we were at a resteraunt and my son made a huge mess and as I was picking it up, the waitor came over and said that I didn't have to do that and that it was his job to do it. I hope this helps.

If it is a restaraunt where there are servers, I usually apologize for the mess quite a few times. They usually respond by saying, "don't worry about it we will get it". Hope that helps. We have a 2 1/2 yr old and 11 month old; so there is usually quite a mess.

I read some of the other responses that consider this low class. Obviously, these people do not have young children or it has been a while since they have. Consider this: A screaming child; your trying to make sure that your child is eating; trying to finish your own meal; trying to keep your child from reaching anything in sight; keep them busy doing someing. Also, constantly grabbing things from your diaper bag. I am usually sweating after eating at a restaraunt b/c it is quite a bit of work to entertain a child sitting in a high chair - trust me the last thing you need to do is crawl around on the floor to pick up food. However, I do think it would be nice to provide a nice tip and comment to the staff about the mess.

I use to work at restaraunts and I would have to clean up after there were small children present. First of all I think that kids cant help themselves there just children and messes are going to happen. But also as a mom I find myself cleaning up after my childen. I think it is helpful, and it does show some kind of respect to the employees at the restaraunt.

My hubby and I cleaned up the floor onceand haven't done it since. I talked to a server once and they're expecting to clean up the floor after having a child in their section.

I don't clean up after my kids I just leave a good tip.

I work at a restaurant and I don't think that it is necessary to clean up after your kids. You go out to eat for someone else to clean up for you. While it is really nice for people to clean up the table after their kids or the floor, it isn't something you need to worry over. I always tell people they don't have to do that! HTH!

If they leave a mess, leave a bigger tip.

i clean up after myself, just stacking the plates with all the silverware on top and brush crumbs into my hand then into the plate. both my husband and i do that, but we both worked at restaurants before and always appreciated those customers who did that. even though you don't have to, it's always a nice gesture.

I don't feel it is necessary to clean up the floor at a restaraunt. I do feel it is appropriate to leave a bigger tip though. I try to increase it, starting at a base of 20%, in proportion to the mess my kids have made.

As a former waitress, I never expected customers to clean up the floor...but it was irritating to see parents allowing their kids to crumble crackers up and throw them on the floor over and over. Just use common sense - it's quicker for a server to clean up the floor with a broom and dustpan, but be sure to bring items to entertain your kids so they're not making a mess out of boredom.

yes! Common courtesy.

I try to clean up as best I can. I know I can't get down on the floor and crawl around but if it's silverware or a napkin I will pick it up.

Personally, I have always felt that it is polite to clean up within reason - wipe up spills and major crumbs on the table and pick up napkins, straws, and large pieces of food that have landed on the floor. I don't make a scene but just quickly pick up. My 2 year old is learning about table manners but still doesn't have the dexterity to ensure a mess-free environment!

unless it's a huge mess, no! that's what the bus boy/waitress/waiter is for. heck i've been one. i expected children to be messy. as long as the family tipped well, i didn't mind cleaning up.

I have a 21-month-old and yes, I clean up after her at restaurants.

L.,
Sounds like people are all over the spectrum on this topic. I waited tables when I was younger and the only thing that irritated me was adolescents 'creating' things that I had to clean up. It is understood when a family walks in with a child that there will be some sort of mess. I do tip better now than I did without kids, but obsessing over how clean I leave the place is not even on my mind. This talk of 'low class' and 'disrespectful' is ridiculous to me. Go out, enjoy your family, tip well....all is good. If you do have a school aged child...make sure no crazy creations are left behind...there is a difference in a natural mess and an intentionally created one. Not redirecting those may be labeled as above.

Clay B is a butt. Dont listen to him. Having kids make a mess does not make you low-class and trashy.

I have an 8 and 4 yr old and they do clean up after themselves, of course we dont allow them to crumble crackers and so forth.

But on the other hand I have a friend that has a son who is 9 and Autistic. He cant help but make a mess when she goes out. Before casting stones people need to remember that sometimes peoples situations are not the same as yours. She always leaves a great tip to make up for the mess.

Yes! I am disgusted when I go to eat at a restaurant and there is food all over the floor from a child. And it's not just afterward; it's during, too. I think it shows a lack of courtesy and respect to the other diners who are trying to have a pleasurable dining experience. I consider those parents trashy and low-class.

Absolutely. The bus people have enough to do without the "added" mess a child creates

Personally, I do try to pick up some. When my son has dropped cheerios on the floor,I try to pick them up so they don't get crunched and make more of a mess. If we've had pasta and it's on the high chair, etc., I try to pick up. But, it depends on how bad it is, and how badly we need to leave (meaning if he's losing it or whatever!) I think if you try to pick up, you are being courteous.

L.,

I have to agree with most of the mothers here today (though I think the more rude responces were not necessary). I waited tables from age 16- up until he was almost born. I always thought it was so rude when people left a huge mess and a very little tip. You should tip for the service you are recieving. You should tip at least 15%-20% for your food service, and then an extra $3-$5 depending on the size of the mess. It is always polite to clean up what you can, but tip appropriately. Yes it is the job of the server to not only serve you, but to clean up, but you should pay them for the job they do.

Happy Dining!!

We always try to clean up the best we can when my son makes a mess. He is older now so it's not so bad. Of course we don't get every little crumb up but we do the best we can to make it easier on the wait staff.

I try not to leave too much of a mess. At a sit down resturant, I will will pick up one or two big things, if they fall, but I am not going to get down on my hands and knees and clean up a big mess off of the floor. That's when I add to the regular tip. At a fast food resturant, who knows when they will clean, so I try to clean well, as a courtesy to the person who may have to sit there after me.

As someone who has worked for years in restaurants, I tell you that the staff always appreciates a little bit of clean up! With my 18 month old, I try to get the table and anything big, but feel that the little stuff will be taken care of with the vacuum!

Hello there,
I always stack dishes together and wipe up any big messes on the table. I don't bother with the floor though. They have a broom / vacuum and I don't! And, who knows what's down there on those floors?!

I'm down on my hands and knees, under the table, at our house, but not when I'm out in someone else's definition of clean! :-)

I do apologize, though, to our server about the mess on the floor if I see him/her before we leave...

Hope this helps!
D.

I clean up after myself just as I would if I were at home. I don't want strangers thinking my family lives like pigs. Granted I do not get down on the floor under the table but if my child drops something on the floor I am quick to pick it up.

I have taught my children that making an intentional mess is not allowed, but all kids are going to get crumbs on the seat and floor. My husband and I always pick up all the trash from the food packages(crackers, fruit chews, etc.) we bring into the restaurant and pick any large pieces of food up before we leave.

we tend to clean up non-food items like napkins, coloring sheets, and flatware from the floor as well as any food items we didn't purchase at the restaurant (i.e. cheerios, grapes). if we were especially impressed with the service i tidy up a little more thoroughly, too. we eat out frequently (*eyeroll smilie* at my husband's impossible dinner-at-home standards), so while i want to get my money's worth, i don't want to be "that" family no one wants to wait on when we return!

Personally, I try to pick up as much of the mess that my 11 month old leaves in a restaurant. No, I will not crawl around on the floor getting everything, but I do try to pick the majority of it up. I personally think it is rude to let your child make a huge mess and just expect someone else to clean up after your child. You would not do that at home so why would you in public? And if for some reason you can't pick up the mess, at least leave the server a bigger tip for it.

I spent several years in college as a server and would dread seeing certain parents who would let their child take the crackers, crush, then drop them all over the floor. Then only leave a dollar for a tip. Although servers do get "paid" by the restaurant, it is only like $2.15 an hour and after taxes come out, you really don't get much of a check. My check often times was less than $20 for two weeks. They live on the tips and their real job is serving you food and yes cleaning your table just like you would do at home. I guess you can think of it this way, if you went to a friends house that was serving you a meal, would you pick up after your child there or leave a mess on the floor? Personally I just think it is common courtesy. Put yourself in their shoes and then it is easier to answer the question.

Hope this helped!

I always cleaned up after my son...table and floor. My mom thought I should but my MIL thought I was stupid for doing it (but what do MIL know). My son would make super big messes on the floor. I know it's their job and they get paid to do it but it just makes me feel better.

Well, with 5 children under the age of 7, we don't get out to restaurants that much. But, when we do go, I always apologize in advance to the hostess or waiter for the mess we will be leaving. I try to get the children to put their silverware & napkins on their plates when they are finished and try to make sure they understand that they will act 'respectful' when we are out. I don't actually clean up anything (unless there is a spill) but, if by chance the mess is worse than normal, we give an extra couple of dollars in the tip to the wait staff who has to clean it & let the waiter/waitress know. Hope this helps.

I totally agree with the mothers who said part of taking your child out to eat at a restaurant is teaching them how to be respectful and not make a huge mess. Giving your child food to crunch up and throw around as a way to keep them occupied so you can eat your dinner is not a good idea in my opinion. Bring a book or toys that they only get to play with when you go out so they will hold their interest for longer and give you a chance to eat in peace. Obviously, they will make a bit of a mess, because all kids do when they eat and that is expected. As a server, I have no problem cleaning up the mess, although it can be frustrating if I wasn't tipped appropriately(15 to 20%). I would say to parents, worry about teaching healthy table manners and leave the mess to us. By the way, if you have a very small child, don't give them foods like rice unless you spoon feed them. At my restaurant, it is the hardest thing to get cleaned up and seems to stick to everything!

No I so not clean up. That is why you go out to eat.

If it's just a minor mess, then, no, let the restaurant staff do their jobs. (They will have policies and procedures the management wants them to follow.) HOWEVER if it looks like the aftermath of an atomic explosion...then, yes, help out a bit. (Mother of 5, gramma of 3)

I think it's just common courtesy to clean up after yourself (kids or no kids) -- especially in fast food restaurants where it may be a while before anyone cleans up. If we're at a sit down restaurant, It can be hard if you have a little one who gets a lot on the floor. I'll leave a little extra tip when that happens. I think it's only fair.

i've been a waitress for elevan years, and all though it's nice to go to the table and it be tidy after someone leaves, it's not nessecary. That's part of the job.

We always try to clean up any major messes caused by our boys (almost 4). My husband is really conscious of it, he used to get so embarrassed when we would eat out with my sister years ago and she would let my niece make the most horrible messes and not clean them up before leaving.

I was at Chili's a couple weeks ago with my daughter (10) and the boys and I stacked the plates and silverware and our waiter profusely thanked me for doing that for him - I really didn't know that it made that big of a deal to them but I guess it does.

Clean it up! lots of people get paid to do a lot of things but that doesn't meant we can just dump our laziness on them! if you can clean up after your child then do so!

Hi L.! i think this is a great question. I am a server at a resturaunt and i don't think it's necessary for parents to clean up after their kids but it is sweet. I figure u go out to eat so u don't have to clean up. Also it is our job (as servers) to make sure the tables are clean and ready for the next round of guest not yours. It definitley is NOT low class to want to enjoy yourself when your paying good money. The only thing i would suggest would be to maybe leave a couple of extra bucks if it's a huge mess. Happy Dining!!
P.S. servers only get paid $2.13 an hour. We do live off our tips so please leave 15%. thanks! sorry, just thought it should be said to those that said we get paid to do so.

I always did. Why not it is your kid who made the mess. I don't think you need to go to extremes but certainly either leave the area the way it was when you got there or leave a big enough tip to compensate the busser who will have to clean up. They have the worst jobs and get the least pay. Also, I thought it helped teach my kids to clean up their own messes. Seems to have worked they are teenagers now and one of them commented to me once about what slobs her friends were when they eat out in public. Never lose a chance to teach a life lesson, be responsible!

Hello, I always clean up if my child makes a mess.It's so low class to expect those people making minimum wage to clean up unreasonable messes. I'm responsable for my child, not fast food workers.

heck yeah it is our responsibility as parents to clean up after our children no matter where we are. it's called teaching your kids common courtesy.

If your child leaves a mess (crackers all over the floor etc)it's obviously going to take a lot more time to get the space ready for the next patron, more than the normal bussing the table. TIP BIG if you cause a lot of extra time/work!

I also clean up the best I can--floor included. I've never witnessed others do it, however. I definitely think it is the right thing to do.

Leigh,

I feel it is necessary to do something - either clean up the floor (my kids make a mess of the floors at restaurants), or leave a bigger tip than you usually would (if you're not going to clean up). I feel that either one is great.

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