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Restaurant Adds Mandatory 18 Percent Tip to Tables With Kids

Grub Street logo Grub Street 11/10/2017 Clint Rainey

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(Video provided by CBS New York)

A New Jersey diner that charges an 18 percent “teen tax” has thoroughly outraged at least one parent whose 11-year-old fell victim to it, thereby costing her an extra 90 cents. Wayne Hills Diner co-owner Peter Logos says his waitstaff were tired of local school kids hanging out all Friday night “in packs of 20 or 30” and not tipping. He tells CBS New York that they started adding mandatory gratuity to the bills of younger customers they suspect might screw the restaurant over.

But mad local mom Melissa Desch has launched a public campaign against this policy, telling at least two news stations that she recently visited Wayne Hills Diner on the same day as her daughter Bella — Bella’s milkshake got teen-taxed, while she was left to tip whatever percentage seemed more appropriate than 18 (not that she did; it’s just she could’ve).

a group of people sitting at a table eating food: Friends having fun at lunch time © M_a_y_a Friends having fun at lunch time

Area students tell NBC 10, meanwhile, that they first noticed the addition at the start of football season. Several also say they “don’t mind.” But Desch argues that it’s less about the amount than the principle; she describes it as unfairly “targeting” Wayne Hills’ teens. Desch says she was raised believing that “servers were always paid upon their service,” but Logos explains that Fridays at the diner are apparently a teenage madhouse, and that lots of servers aren’t tipped for their hard work. His attorney points out that the menu also clearly reads: “Management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity.” Desch suggests that the diner “make it for everybody. Adults, children, everything.”

Until they do, Bella won’t be returning for another milkshake. “She has a right to not pay a tip,” according to Desch. The diner’s owners counter that kids have to be taught that tipping is something people at restaurants do, before they can knowingly refuse to leave one.

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