ORLANDO, Fla - A restaurant in Orlando has a new rule. As of Tuesday, kids under the age of 18 are not allowed in without a parent.
The owners of Tornatore’s Pizzeria said they were tired of being babysitters to students at Bishop Moore Catholic High School.
"It just kept escalating and escalating to the point where we said, ‘We are going to ban all students, anybody under 18,’" Maria Mancia, one of the restaurant owners, said.
Mancia and Denny Tornatore have owned the restaurant for 13 years. With Bishop Moore Catholic High School just across the street, they said the pizzeria has become the after-school hangout for the last several years.
"We definitely became a daycare," Macia said.
It’s gotten so out of hand, the owners said the kids crowd the restaurant, barely order any food, and are disrespectful to the staff. A check shows a student left a penny tip for one of the servers, and the owners said the student told the server she should have worked harder.
"Kids in here being disrespectful are not going to be tolerated. And I’m always going to back up my staff, so I’m not going to have my staff being disrespected by children," Denny Tornatore, owner, said.
The owners also said parents fill the parking lot while waiting to pick up their kids from school, and they refuse to leave. Now the owners have hired security to make sure anyone in the parking spots is there for one of the businesses.
"If you’re not coming here to eat, get out of here," Tornatore said.
The owners said they know they’ll lose money with the new rule because they typically serve a lot of pizza slices to the students, but they also say it’s good timing. They’re working to re-model the restaurant from a pizzeria into a fine-dining Italian restaurant.
"Ultimately we had to pick between catering to high schoolers or catering to adults. Obviously, we chose the adults who are not going to be disrespectful, who will tip, and are not going to cuss us out," Mancia said.
FOX 35 News reached out to the school for comment but has not heard back.