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Diner Under Fire After Introducing Extra Gratuity For Kids Who Don't Tip

A beloved restaurant in New Jersey, Wayne Hills Diner, has drawn the ire of its local community after the owner decided to introduce an 18 percent gratuity on bills for teenagers who aren’t dining with their parents. According to the owner, Peter Logos, the bizarre policy is designed to offset server wages from young students and teenagers who don’t tip serving staff.

During an interview with CBS New York, Mr. Logos emphasized that his hard-working serving staff were sick and tired of seeing zeroes when they serve high school and primary school students. In these cases, the servers often work exceptionally hard, often catering to “packs of 20 or 30” students.

However, after their meals, it’s very rare for these young diners – who often don’t have much money or aren’t aware of how important tipping is for waiters and waitresses – to provide a tip for their serving staff.

Specifically, Mr. Logos responded: “We have kids coming in here every Friday, 20 to 25 at a time…The kids don’t leave no tip...My employees need to get paid. They don’t work for free.”

However, many members of the local community don’t see things this way. In fact, one mother ended up contacting local media outlets when she, after looking at an old Wayne Hills Diner receipt, noticed that her 11-year-old daughter, Bella, had been charged a 90-cent gratuity fee in her most recent visit.

“My daughter looked down at her bill and realized that there is a charge for a tip, an 18 percent charge per child,” said the concerned mother.

However, unlike many other children her age, Bella had already tipped her waiter; yet she was still charged the mandatory teen-tax. "It's not how much she paid, it's the simple fact she didn't have a choice," the mom told CBS. "So she was double-tipping the server because she didn't realize they were adding the tip to the bill."

The mom in question, Melissa Desch, has since continued her public campaign against the diner, taking to social media and approaching news outlets with her story.

For Ms. Desch, the restaurant’s sneaky gratuity is an egregious way for servers to get more tips from younger diners, saying: “Even adults don’t always tip and it’s not anything against the servers, but you can’t assume that these kids don’t know what they’re doing.”

After the Daily Meal requested an official statement from Wayne Hills Diner, a local representative and customer told them to refer to the recently changed fine print message on the restaurant’s menu: "Management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity."

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Desch’s constant attacks have created some bad publicity for Wayne Hills Diner. In fact, the recently introduced teen-tax could lead to serving staff getting even fewer tips than before.

“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,” warned Ms. Desch. “I’m never going to go back, not after this.”

Source: LA Times, Grub Street
Photos: YouTube

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