11-Year-Old Snaps Photo Of Receipt, Mom Notices Diner Added A Secret Charge

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.

The menu at The Fat Butcher, one of the region's premier meat restaurants, on October 29, 2021 in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape province of South Africa,
Photo Credit: David Silverman/Getty Images
Photo Credit: David Silverman/Getty Images

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.

Interior view of the Circle M Diner, a classic diner style restaurant in the Long Island town of Wantagh, New York
Photo Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

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.

Screen shot of receipt from restaurant
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube

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.

Screenshot of receipt with red circle added around gratuity
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube

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.

Teenagers holding milkshakes sitting around table
Photo Credit: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels
Photo Credit: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

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.

An itemized bill
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

Screenshot from News program of woman speaking to camera with her daughter
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube
Photo Credit: CBSDFW / Youtube

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.”

Empty Lunch Plates, Cups and Glasses at Diner
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

Still life of a tip jar for Weekend cover story on restaurant gratuities in Washington, DC.
Photo Credit: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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.

Young person in restaurant booth looking to right
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

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.'”