Eating out at restaurants has become increasingly challenging in a post-pandemic world both for restaurant owners and patrons.
People have always held varying opinions on tipping etiquette but some would say leaving a tip is more important now than ever before.
Some restaurants have adjusted their menu pricing and tip policies
Restaurants that were lucky enough to survive repeated lockdowns have adjusted to a new way of operating.
Some have raised their prices or added mandatory gratuities on checks to help compensate for financial losses.
A local New Jersey diner has been getting bad press
One diner in Wayne, New Jersey has been a local favorite food spot for years. But lately, the family diner has been getting some bad press.
A woman named Melissa Desch said that she and her family often visited the diner for meals.
An 11-year-old sent her mom a picture of her receipt
Recently, Melissa's 11-year-old daughter Bella visited Wayne Hills Diner with a group of friends— something they had done many times before.
Bella ordered a milkshake and as usual, she sent her mom a photo of the signed receipt.
Melissa noticed something unnusual
According to a message printed on the restaurant's receipts, "gratuities are appreciated," but they are not required.
That's why Melissa was surprised to notice an unusual charge on her young daughter's receipt.
Bella's friends all had the same charge on their receipts
As it turns out, Bella's friends also had the same charge on each of their milkshake receipts.
Melissa had visited the diner earlier that same day so she checked her own receipt to compare it to Bella's.
The kids had been charged an 18% "teen tax"
The mom confirmed that her own receipt from the diner didn't include the additional charge found on her daughter's receipt.
It was obvious to Melissa that the 90 cents extra on Bella's bill could be attributed to an 18% "teen tax."
The mom spoke to CBS about the ordeal and vowed not to return to the restaurant
Outraged by the discovery, Melissa spoke to CBS TV about business prices targeting teens.
She vowed not to return to the establishment and said "It's not about how much [Bella] paid, it's the simple fact that she didn't have a choice. So she was double tipping the server."
Groups of kids have been a problem for the diner in the past
According to a representative for the diner, kids often show up in "groups of 20 or 30, stay for an hour or two, and most [of them] don't leave a tip."
This can be draining and unfair to the restaurant staff.
Management reserves the right to add a gratuity
Additionally, the menu clearly states that management reserves the right to add an 18% gratuity.
This may have been the first time that Melissa's family fell victim to the "teen tax" but it wasn't the first time that the restaurant enforced it.
Former employees have said that kids are difficult customers
Local news agency NJ101.5 reported that a former employee had shared on Facebook that teens can be "frustrating" to serve.
The comment read "I can personally attest to how frustrating it is to have a group of 6 to 8 teens, walk in, take up 2 or 3 tables, order something for a dollar, sit at those tables for a couple of hours, then leave a mess and no tip. Good for the restaurant.'"