A Georgia restaurant sparked controversy when they added a surcharge to their menu “for adults unable to parent”
As a former restaurant server and bartender, I know that unruly kids in a restaurant can be dangerous. Having kids running wild underfoot when servers are carrying trays of hot food and heavy drinks creates a genuine hazard—imagine a server tripping over a child and dropping a tray full of piping hot entrees on top of them. But some parents are wondering if one restaurant in Georgia took it too far by adding a surcharge to their menu “for adults unable to parent”—and then slapped the charge onto bills for parties with kids who seemed to be well-behaved.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in the Blue Ridge Mountains listed the charge on their menu, but Lyndsey Landmann, who dined there with her husband and four other families (including 11 children who ranged in age from three to eight), told Today she thought it was a joke. Anyway, the kids in her party were well-behaved throughout their meal.
“The kids were sitting at one end of the table, and they were being so good,” she said. “I even commented halfway through the meal, ‘I can’t believe how well-behaved they are.'”
So when the restaurant’s owner, Tim Richter, approached the table, she was surprised he brought up the charge.
“He has the menu in hand, and he’s showing us where it talks about the fee. At first, I thought he was gonna compliment us and be like, ‘But you won’t be charged because your kids were so well-behaved,'” Landmann said.
But Richter told her he was adding the surcharge—$50 per bill at their table—because the kids were “too loud” and they were “running around outside,” even though they were chaperoned by adults.
“I was like, ‘They were quiet the whole time.’ He got in our faces and told us that we belonged at Burger King and not at his restaurant. We asked to speak to the owner, and he said he was the owner,” Landmann recalled. “I looked around the restaurant, and everybody was frozen watching this show he was putting on. He was yelling. It was alarming.”
Review pages for Toccoa Riverside Restaurant are full of similar stories.
“If you have children, absolutely avoid this place at all costs. 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,” one Yelp review reads. “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.”
Another says, “The owner came out and told me he was adding $50 to my bill because of my children’s behavior. 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.”
When Today reached out to the restaurant, an employee said on the phone, “We’re not going to comment on a policy we’ve had for years. We just want to live in the woods and cook.”