WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A so-called “teen-tax” has left customers at a New Jersey restaurant with a bitter taste in their mouths.

At the Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant, the checks clearly state “gratuities are appreciated,” but one mom says for kids and teens, the tips have become mandatory.

“It’s not how much she paid, it’s the simple fact she didn’t have a choice,” Wayne mother Melissa Desch said. “So she was double-tipping the server because she didn’t realize they were adding the tip onto the bill.”

Desch and her family have been going to the diner for years, so she was disappointed and surprised when her 11-year-old daughter sent her a picture showing a 90 cent tip was unknowingly added to her milkshake.

“I got charged gratuity and my mother was there the same day and she didn’t,” Melissa’s daughter, Bella Venezian, said. Her friends got charged $1.31 and $1.58 extra.

Melissa thinks they’re being targeted.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton went to the restaurant to try and ask someone about the policy of adding gratuity for some and not others. The owner didn’t reply, and the staff referred CBS2 to their attorney, who said the kids have been showing up at the diner in groups of 20 or 30, staying for an hour or two, and the majority don’t leave a tip.

He says it’s not fair to the waiters and waitresses who earn a living based on tips, adding the menu clearly states “management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity.”

Melissa wonders whatever happened to tipping being optional. She says she’d like to see a consistent policy.

“Make it for everybody,” she said. “Adults, children, everything.”

The situation has left her with a bad taste in her mouth, and she won’t be stepping foot inside the diner again.

Comments (7)
  1. Rubi Bayer says:

    Many restaurants already add an 18 gratuity for large groups. The server waiting on them could just as easily say that she feels “targeted” by a group of 20 kids who camped out in her section, prevented other customers from sitting there for a long period of time, and took money out of her pocket.

  2. I worked as a waitress for many years, especially when I was working my way through college. I can’t tell you how many young people/teens/young adults would come in, either alone, with a friend, or in large groups, and drive me crazy with orders of shakes and fries, or soda and other small items. They would have me running back and forth and invariable left messes and no tip, or, at most, tossed a few pennies on the table. People don’t understand that waiters do NOT earn even minimum wage (their average wage is $2.13), and live on their tips. To attach an automatic tip to a bill is not discrimination, it’s only right and fair for waiters who run their legs off for nothing.

  3. Good.

    “The kids have been showing up at the diner in groups of 20 or 30, staying for an hour or two, and the majority don’t leave a tip”

    Adults generally don’t do this. If kids want to go hang out and take up tables in a server’s section for hours, which heavily impacts that server’s take home pay for the day, then they need to pay at least something.

    Protip: If you’re with a group of people and some of them wanna go get a couple small things like milkshakes and maybe an order of fries, and then hang out and talk, then get it to go and go chill at a park. There are two parks within a 5 minute drive of this diner.

  4. Terry Mi says:

    Well I won’t be going there anymore.

    1. Bob Dudek says:

      I’ll make SURE I will eat there if Im anywhere close..AND TIP 20% …Just to support the staff…and put it in the eye of the snowflakes “mother” …!

    2. Maybe this mom should teach her kids how to tip and how to read. She doesn’t know what gratuity means?? she doesn’t have access to google? That policy has been in place before she was born. it says on the bottom “Gratuities are appreciated!” because they are

      1. Terry Mi says:

        After getting the full story of the students hanging out there for 1 or 2 hours, I agree.

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