A New Jersey diner has decided to include an extra 18 percent gratuity to the bills of kids without their parents, subjecting them to the so-called "teen tax."
Restaurant Enforces Extra 18% Gratuity on Unaccompanied Minors
In the United States, tipping serves as a way for customers to express their satisfaction with the service they received in restaurants and to support workers in an industry believed to be underpaid, as they heavily rely on tips.
However, one particular restaurant has taken the unusual step of imposing an additional 18 percent gratuity on bills for unaccompanied kids, leaving them with no choice but to pay the extra charge.
Controversial Diner Policy Sparks Debate
The diner's policy has raised eyebrows and sparked a debate. On one side, critics argue that the diner is taking advantage of kids and profiting from them. On the other side, some argue that the practice is fair since the service industry heavily relies on tips to sustain itself.
Unsatisfied Loyal Customers
Melissa Desch and her family had been regular customers of the same diner in Wayne, New Jersey for many years. On all of its receipts, the restaurant includes a message stating that "gratuities are appreciated," but not required.
Milkshake Receipt Exposes Hidden Charge
Melissa's young daughter, Bella, had an outing with her girlfriends at the diner one day. The 11-year-old daughter decided to order a milkshake and sent her mom a picture of the signed receipt.
Unauthorized Charges Found
When Melissa checked the photo, that's when she noticed an additional charge on the bill that her daughter hadn't authorized. To her surprise, Bella's friends had also incurred similar charges on their milkshake orders.
Interestingly, Melissa had visited the same restaurant earlier in the day, but her order didn't include any unusual charges.
It seems that Bella had been subjected to what is commonly referred to as a "teen tax."
Upset Mother Speaks Out
During an interview with ABC7 New York, Melissa expressed her frustration regarding the fact that her young daughter had to pay the 18 percent gratuity.
Not Having a Choice
“It’s not about how much she paid,” she stated, “it’s the simple fact that she didn’t have a choice. I feel like they’re being targeted because they’re kids and they don’t know any better”
Diner's Policy & Implications for Daughter's Tipping Education
Her mother says that her daughter works hard for her allowance and she’s been taught the importance of tipping. However, she believes that the diner's policy is discriminatory based on age, as it does not allow young kids the opportunity to independently leave a tip.
She expresses concern that this policy undermines the lessons they have taught their daughter about personal responsibility and the real value of tipping.
Letting Them Make Tipping Choices
The mother added that it is unfair to assume that children are unaware of the importance of tipping, suggesting that they should be given the chance to make their own decisions in this matter.
Not All Adults Tip Servers
“Even adults don’t always tip, it’s not anything against the servers but you can’t assume that these kids don’t know what they’re doing,” she added.
“Please Leave A Gratuity”
Melissa continued, “My daughter looked down at the bill and realized that there is a charge for a tip, an 18% charge per child. And then on the bottom it says something about, ‘please leave a gratuity,’ and they’ve already charged the gratuities”
Defending the Diner
The diner's lawyer has stated that a group of 20 or 30 kids has been staying at the restaurant for an hour or two, and unfortunately, the majority of them don’t leave any tips. He says that this practice is unfair to the waiters and waitresses.
Additionally, the lawyer points out that the diner's menu explicitly states, "Management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity."
Parents Boycott Diner
Bella's mother, along with several other parents, were so deeply upset by the additional and unexpected "teen tax" that they made the decision to never visit the diner again.
“It might not affect their business but at least we’d feel better that they’re not going to be put under this assumption that they’re not going to pay,” she said, “I’m never gonna go back, not after this. ”
NJ101.5 reported: "Former server Erika Carty explained in a comment on the diner's Facebook page that teens can be frustrating to have as customers. 'I can personally attest to how frustrating it is to have a group of 6 to 8 teens, walk in, take up 2 or 3 tables, order something for a dollar, sit at those tables for a couple of hours, then leave a mess and no tip. Good for the restaurant.'"
Fair or Unfair?
What are your perspectives on this issue? Do you think it was fair for the diner to add an 18 percent gratuity to the bills of these kids, considering the industry's reliance on tips? r do you feel that the diner went too far by making kids pay more?
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.