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Restaurant Charges Parents Who Fail To Control Their Kids A Hefty Additional Fee

Photo: Anna Nahabed / Shutterstock 
family eating at a restaurant

We’ve all been out to a restaurant and experienced other diners' children going absolutely wild. Although sometimes parents have no control over their little ones' tantrums, they can certainly stop them from toddling all over the place, bumping into servers and disrupting other patrons.

One Georgia restaurant is determined to put an end to customers bringing unruly and uncontrolled children to their establishment by enforcing a controversial policy.

The restaurant will charge parents an additional fee if their children misbehave.

The Toccoa Riverside Restaurant outside Blue Ridge in Northern Georgia attracts customers for its breathtaking views of the mountains and the Toccoa River. Now, it may be bringing in more customers for another reason: a dining experience that is free from rowdy and screaming children.

The restaurant will now be charging extra to patrons with children who fail to behave properly. The menu lists an “adult surcharge” for diners “unable to parent.” While it is unclear exactly how much the charge is, there are three dollar signs added next to the policy on the menu.

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Local news anchor of Channel 2 Bryan Mims traveled to Blue Ridge to speak with the restaurant owner regarding the new policy after one customer revealed that he was charged an additional $50 due to his 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,” the customer shared in an online review, adding that he was “disappointed by the experience.”

While the owner of Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, Tim Richter, declined to comment on camera, he explained his reasoning for introducing the additional charge in the first place.

According to Richter, he instituted the policy a few years back during the Covid-19 pandemic but never threatened to enforce it until one day, a family with nine children came into the restaurant. Richter explained that the children were “running all over the restaurant.”

Even then, he did not charge the family and let them off easy with a warning. “We want parents to be parents,” he said.

Some customers hope that the surcharge will prompt parents to keep a closer watch on their children at the restaurant.

“Parents need to teach kids etiquette. They need to teach kids to behave, and that there are other people in the world, and that it’s okay to have fun in the right place,” customer Anne Cox told Channel 2 News.

Regular customer Jack Schneider claimed that he has “mixed emotions” regarding the fee. “At the same time, we’ve all sat next to tables where you say hey, do something with that kid. So I really think it’s more on the parents,” he said.

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However, others found the surcharge to be unfair. “That is crazy,” customer Laura Spillman said of the policy. “For real? I don’t think you should do it because kids are cute.”

“Having a 20-month-old that maybe isn’t the best behaved at a restaurant, I’m hoping that I don’t get charged,” customer Federico Gambineri added. “I feel that if I were charged, I would be very unhappy about it and probably never recommend the place to somebody.”

It's true that despite their parents' best efforts, young children are going to have the occasional meltdown, but it's also true that parents have a social obligation to prevent kids from creating a dangerous work environment for servers and waitstaff.

It is also very true that there are other patrons trying to enjoy their meals, and that they are likely not happy about listening to children holler while they do so.

restaurant charges parents who fail to control their unruly childrenPhoto: Anna Nass / Shutterstock

The best thing that parents can do for their children, and out of courtesy to their fellow diners, is to take their kids outside of the restaurant until they calm down.

If your children become antsy and irritated from having to sit still at a restaurant for an extended period of time, it is not the wisest idea to let them run loose throughout the restaurant. This is not only disturbing to other guests but poses a safety hazard as servers are often carrying around trays that include hot food and drinks.

Being a parent of young children who are just learning how to act in public spaces is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes, you do everything that you can and there are still endless tantrums and tears.

However, if they are having an especially difficult day and you do not have the energy to deal with a potential public meltdown, you may just want to skip going out to eat and have dinner at home instead.

If you were planning on dining at the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant, it could save you a hefty tab too.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.