Problem Child: This Georgia Restaurant Has a $50 Fee for Obnoxious Kids

The fine is intended to deter mischievous children, but some believe it's going too far.

This kid is racking up the fines.
This kid is racking up the fines. / Melanie Acevedo/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Everything is getting more expensive these days, from cars to homes. And so is having some untenably excitable children. At Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Blue Ridge, Georgia, parents or guardians are threatened with a fine of $50 if the kids in their party are being a nuisance.

Owner Tim Richter spoke with local news affiliate WSB-TV and said the fee was introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. The charge, which appears on the menu as a sanction for “adults unable to parent,” is not specified in print, though anecdotal reports from guests indicate it’s $50.

Richter said the fee had never actually been invoked until recently, when a party with nine children was found to be—at least in his judgment—disruptive. A fee was discussed but not ultimately invoked, Richter said.

According to Food & Wine, other families have complained about being faced with the fine.

The restaurant industry has seen a rise in surcharges and fees of various types in recent years, which many operators say is an attempt to combat inflation. Guests at some businesses are now being asked to pay extra for water, crackers, and even worker health insurance.

Other eateries have issued blanket bans on children on the premises. (Unlike race and religion, age does not fall under the purview of anti-discrimination laws.) Last February, Nettie’s House of Spaghetti in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, announced that kids under 10 would no longer be welcome. Nettie’s cited “noise levels” and “crazy messes” as issues. The business’s Facebook post announcing the move garnered 16,000 Likes.

On its website, Toccoa boasts of “riverside dining” with “fresh trout, wonderful steaks, fried oysters, and a terrific selection of salads and sides.” It also has a “pooch patio” that is “dog-friendly.” It’s unclear whether there’s a fee for misbehaving canines.