Last week, an 11-year-old milkshake lover named Bella Venezian was shocked to discover that a mandatory gratuity had been added to her bill at the Wayne Hills Diner in Wayne, New Jersey. Her mom, Melissa, had been to that same diner earlier in the day but did not receive any mysterious charges on her bill. As the local CBS news team soon discovered, the Wayne Hills Diner sometimes applies a “teen tax” when they suspect that younger customers might not tip.
“It’s not how much she paid, it’s the simple fact she didn’t have a choice,” Melissa told CBS 2. “So she was double-tipping the server because she didn’t realize they were adding the tip onto the bill.” The concerned mother also thinks that it wouldn’t be such a big deal if that charge was applied to all the bills, for customers both young and old. “Make it for everybody,” Melissa remarked. “Adults, children, everything.”
When asked about the sneaky charge, the owner of the diner referred the CBS reporter to his lawyer, who explained that kids have been showing up in packs of 20 or 30 people and staying for a long time without tipping. The menu also clearly states that “management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity.” Despite this warning, Melissa and Bella Venezian feel slighted and won’t be returning to the Wayne Hills Diner anytime soon.
If you have any strong feelings about the teen tax and whether it’s an acceptable restaurant policy or not, please share them in the comments of this post.