Taking kids to a restaurant is hard, but of course parents have to get out of the house sometimes and live life. And it’s good experience for kids to get out in public, too. But welcoming kids into a restaurant environment is often spoiled by two things: restaurant-goers who have zero tolerance for being around kids and parents who don’t look after their kids in restaurants well enough (or who are having a bad day with their kids).
It would all be okay if people understood that kids are part of our society and deserve to leave the house, too — and if parents set reasonable parameters for behavior when they took their kids out to eat. But there’s little chance of both of those things happening any time soon.
In Blue Ridge, Georgia, one restaurant owner has tried to take the situation into his own hands by threatening to charge the parents of unruly children $50 extra for eating at his place. And people have a lot of feelings about it.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant offers diners upscale Southern fare in a lovely location right along a riverbank, with indoor and outdoor seating, according to its website. It boasts fresh local ingredients, homemade desserts, a “happy chair” by the river and a country gift shop. It also offers a kids’ menu, which suggests that little ones are welcome.
But, a closer look at the menu reveals an oddity. Along with notes about extra fees (such as a $3 fee for food sharing), there’s a curious line: “Adult surcharge: For adults unable to parent $$$.”
A look on Google Reviews shows that some people who have brought kids to the restaurant have been threatened with an extra charge of $50 because of their kids.
“If you have children, absolutely avoid this place at all costs,” read a review from last week. “Holy moly — the most disrespectful owner made a huge scene in front of the entire restaurant because our children were ‘running through the restaurant’ — they were down by the river. We were told we need to ‘go to Burger King and Walmart’ and that we were bad parents. They have a $50 surcharge for ‘bad children.’ We were a group of 21 and our server was AMAZING and was overly apologetic. Terrible business practice, we will never be back.”
And they are not the only ones.
“The owner came out and told me he was adding $50 to my bill because of my children’s behavior,” another person wrote. “My kids watched a tablet until the food arrived, ate their food and my wife took them outside while I waited and paid the bill.”
And then a viral thread on Reddit had everyone talking about the policy, including the local news.
WSB-TV in Georgia talked to the owner, Tim Richter, who said that he added the policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that he didn’t charge the parents in question from the most recent incident, but only gave them a warning because their “nine kids” were “running all over the restaurant.”
“We want parents to be parents,” he told them in an off-camera interview.
Yelp reviews reveal that the owner has had negative interactions with parents about their kids in the past, too.
“Don’t go if you have children,” one review reads. “We were 3 adults, 2 children and our 4mo baby and since we entered to the place they gave us a bad look. Later my wife was rocking the baby (not crying, just to make him sleep) and this ‘manager’ told her that you don’t do that in a fancy restaurant (of course this is not a fancy restaurant) and later moved our stroller in a bad way. Food is not good either.”
“From the moment my family and I walked in we felt not welcomed by an elderly man who was in charge of assigning the tables,” another reads. “He was annoyed by the stroller of my baby and then annoyed because I was walking with my baby inside the restaurant. After a couple of minutes he approached us and moved my stroller violently to ‘make space.’ The food was not good either!”
Hm, this might be a place to skip if you want a family meal... or if you don’t want to support a business owner who seems like he needs some lessons about how not to be rude, too.