A diner in Wayne, New Jersey is coming under fire for adding an 18% gratuity on the bills of children unaccompanied by their parents.
As a frequent customer with her family at Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant, Melissa Desch was shocked when she discovered an automatic tip was being added to her 11-year-old daughter's bill.
"My daughter was coming to me, telling me that every time she and her friends went to the diner, they're being charged the gratuity," Desch told WCBS-TV. "And when I asked her why, she said [it's] because they're children."
Desch said she, along with several other parents have begun boycotting the establishment in defiance over the the new upsurge.
"There are enough parents that are willing to not let their kids go back there, and if it's the same group [my daughter is] always hanging out with, it could be 20-30 kids," Desch said. "I'm never going to go back, not after this."
Despite the backlash, the diner's owners have defended their new policy.
Peter Logos, a co-owner of Wayne Hills Diner and Restaurant, told NBC New York their establishment is across the street from Colfax Schuyler Middle School, where students often make their way over in droves of 20 and 30.
Logos said he will continue to uphold the new tipping system, citing underage patrons often tie up busy waitstaff, and leave no tips afterwards. He also said this should not take customers by surprise as the menu clearly states the diner will add the 18% gratuity upon its discretion.
However, not everyone is opposed to the new mandatory tipping system.
An unnamed Wayne High School student said, "I think it's good only because these people here work very hard, and they deserve more than 50 cents or a dollar as a tip."
"Some people just don't know how to [tip], and it just makes life easier," another added.
Desch said tipping should be optional, or at least applied in a consistent policy.
"Make it for everybody," she said. "Adults, children, everything."
Do you think children should have a mandatory gratuity put on their bills when they dine without parents?