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Log In / Register | Mar 17, 2018

Applebee's Serves Toddler Alcohol

Again!?! Last Friday a 15-month-old was given enough alcohol at an Applebee's restaurant in Madison Heights, Michigan to get him drunk. 

His family had ordered apple juice for the toddler, but instead he apparently was served a margarita. The Nation's Restaurant News article on the incident says he was given a "trace amount" of alcohol. But according to Reuters, his mother noticed that something was amiss when she saw that he "kind of laid his head on the table and dozed off a little bit and woke up and got real happy." The youngster began hailing strangers.

The police were called and reportedly ruled that the alcohol serving was unintentional.

So why was the alcohol in his beverage characterized as a trace amount? Nancy Mays, Applebee's spokeswoman, said yesterday,

After receiving the Madison Heights Police report this afternoon, we know that the child was served a trace amount of alcohol (per the MHPD report published 4/11/11, “the officer checked the drink with his PBT [Preliminary Breath Test] and it registered a .014”) and are trying to get more details about this information. — Detroit Free Press

But after the boy was examined by doctors, his family was told that his blood alcohol was .10 percent — over the legal limit for an adult driver.

Back in 2007 a two-year-old was served a margarita instead of apple juice at a San Francisco Applebee's. In this case his mother realized that something was wrong when he began making faces and pushing his drink away. He began throwing up a few hours later and required medical attention, which Applebee's paid for. They also offered free meals, which was turned down by the indignant mother.

In all there have been three known incidents in the last five years of very young children being served alcohol at Applebee's after an order for apple juice. Applebee's says they will retrain their workers nationwide, make sure that alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are stored in separate areas and take other steps to minimize the chances of similar errors in the future.

David Denney, a Texas attorney who specializes in hospitality issues, offers helpful tips on how restaurateurs might handle such a case if it happens in their restaurant.

Dine Equity is the parent company of franchise chains Applebee's and IHOP.

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