Restaurant’s Parent Surcharge Leaves Diners Fuming

There are a few surcharges we’ve come to expect with dining out. Public holidays always bring a restaurant surcharge and you are probably aware of the corking fee if you do BYO.

But diners in a popular restaurant in America were baffled when they were stung with an additional $50 surcharge on their bill due to bringing their children. 

Parent surcharge: for adults unable to parent

Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Georgia USA, offers diners upscale Southern fare in a lovely location right along a riverbank, with indoor and outdoor seating. There’s a lovely view and plenty of space for the kids to play along the riverbank. There is also a kids’ menu which suggests kids are more than welcome to dine there too. 

However, while well-behaved kids are welcome,”bad children” are not.

Parent surcharge at restaurant for bad kids
Is a parent surcharge necessary? Source: Reddit

Take a closer look at the menu and you’ll see a list of the restaurant surcharges.  Along with notes about extra fees (such as a $3 fee for food sharing), there’s this interesting surcharge: “Adult surcharge: For adults unable to parent $$$.”

So, basically, if your kids are being bad, you will be charged for it. And not just a few dollars either. Bad kids = $50 surcharge! EEK! 

Go to Walmart

Restaurant goers have shared their experiences of being hit with this surcharge, even when their children weren’t acting out. 

One parent wrote on Google Reviews. 

“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. 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 diner shared a similar experience: 

“The owner came out and told me he was adding $50 to my bill because of my children’s behaviour.

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.”

‘We want parents to parent’

The owner has spoken out about his $50 parent surcharge, defending his decision and explaining that “we want parents to be parents” and that the restaurant surcharge is in place so that unruly children don’t ruin the atmosphere for other diners. 

Another reviewer shared her own story on Yelp. She wasn’t charged an extra $50, but it doesn’t sound like the family enjoyed the dining experience too much. 

“Don’t go if you have children. We were 3 adults, 2 children and our 4mo baby and since we entered 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.”

Should parents be charged for bad kids? 

Now, we’ve all been to a fancy(ish) restaurant and been embarrassed by our kids, right? Sometimes they cry or knock water off the table. Sometimes they decide they don’t want their chicken nuggets or that they are sick of sitting still. 

And yes, sometimes parents need to be pulled up when they aren’t supervising their children and letting them run around the restaurant. 

But to be charged a $50 parent surcharge seems a little excessive. What do you think?

It’s always a gamble taking young children out which is why we often opt for places with playgrounds, open spaces or a kids’ club. If we lived in America, I think I’d probably be giving this place a miss. How about you? 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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