A New Jersey diner is facing backlash from parents after they say the establishment is charging their kids extra simply because of their age.
Melissa Desch said that she will stop eating at Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant after she and her daughter were charged differently for the same item, according to WCBS.
"I got charged gratuity and my mother was there the same day and she didn’t," said Desch’s 11-year-old daughter, Bella Venezian. Bella was charged an extra 90 cents, while her friends had to pay $1.31 and $1.58 extra.
Desch takes issue that the restaurant in Wayne forced her daughter to pay a tip without telling her, saying that teens are being targeted "because they’re kids and they don’t know any better."
"It’s not how much she paid, it’s the simple fact she didn’t have a choice," she said. "So she was double-tipping the server because she didn’t realize they were adding the tip onto the bill."
The diner confirmed to the New York Post that it adds an 18 percent gratuity to teens' bills, simply because they're usually unlikely to tip in the first place.
"We have kids coming in here every Friday, 20 to 25 at a time," said the manager. "The kids don’t leave no tip."
He said that when kids do tip, it's usually only 10 cents. He also said they sometimes stay for an hour or two. The gratuity is now automatically included "because my employees need to get paid. They don’t work for free."
The diner's menu states "management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity to check."
The manager emphasized that the policy is not meant to exploit kids.
"We love the kids. They’ve been coming for years. We’re a family-owned business," he said.
He's now had to hire a lawyer to deal with the situation because "there’s too much publicity for nothing."
But Desch doesn't see the situation as "nothing." She spoke to the diner's owner personally and says she would like the restaurant to have a consistent policy.
“Make it for everybody,” she told WABC, regarding the extra charge. “Adults, children, everything.”
She and other parents plan to boycott the diner.
"There are enough parents that are willing to not let their kids go back there, and if it’s the same group she’s [her daughter] always hanging out with it could be 20, 30 kids," said Desch. "I’m never going to go back, not after this."