New Zealand restaurant has great burgers on the menu ... but no kids please

Abbey Road Burgers owner Fabian Prioux (right) does not allow children into the cafe.
Abbey Road Burgers owner Fabian Prioux (right) does not allow children into the cafe. Photo: Cherie Sivignon/Stuff

For the last two months, children have been unable to enjoy what is supposedly "the best burger in New Zealand".

Why? Because the man behind the burgers, restauranteur Fabian Prioux​, has put in place a stringent no-child policy. He has no plans to ever let children into his restaurant, until the nation's kids "are educated".

According to him, 80 per cent of Kiwi kids don't know how to behave when dining out.

The burger joint pays homage to The Beatles, seen here walking along London's Abbey Road.
The burger joint pays homage to The Beatles, seen here walking along London's Abbey Road. Photo: Supplied

No one under 12 is welcome at his cafe, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. It's been a controversial move for the Nelson restaurant, but one which Prioux​ says has paid off.

Abbey Road Burgers opened a year ago and many of their dishes pay homage to The Beatles, but Prioux​ says poorly-behaved children and their parents quickly plagued his gourmet burger joint and he wasn't willing to let it be.

"We were shocked to see that people let their kids do whatever they want, and they were not respecting the other customers," he says.

He claims children have cost his business, after damaging their leather menus, stabbing tables and breaking glasses.

The staff at Abbey Road tried to put an end to the misbehaviour, by telling parents to control their kids – but he says it only made the matter worse.

It's not the first cafe to ban children - The Little Bistro in Akaroa, southeast of Christchurch, banned


children under 10, and in May said the three-year-old policy was a success.

At the time, Restaurant Association general manager Nicola Waldren said The Little Bistro's ban was a rare move but there were some good supporting reasons.

"They have a particular style of restaurant. It's an evening restaurant, it's intimate, it is less suited for children dining there," she said. Waldren added kids running around was a health and safety problem for many restaurants.

'It's not the fault of the children'

On TripAdvisor, Abbey Road Burgers has received several negative comments from families who were denied service. Prioux​ says they initiated the child ban after a family complained on a review site, when staff requested they control their child.

He says he doesn't dislike children. As a father of two, he says he used to regularly take his children out to cafes and restaurants.

"But they were well educated," he says. Prioux​, a French chef from Nice, thinks there's a cultural difference around how children in New Zealand are raised as compared to many European nations.

"A lot of parents don't sit their kids at the table to have a meal," he says, and therefore the children don't know how to behave.

"It's not the fault of the children, it's the education from the adults."

Although there have been numerous calls on sites such as TripAdvisor, criticising the cafe for banning children, Prioux says he will not give in.

"We are not going to change, people are really happy. We are really happy. We will never change the policy," he says.

"As long as education does not change, the policy does not change."