Chains Change Alcohol Policy After Drunk Toddler Incidents, Inadvertently Make Better Drinks


In addition to changing its decor to emulate the Home Depots farmhouses of Tuscany, Olive Garden is altering its beverage policy following an incident last month in which a toddler was served sangria instead of orange juice. And the chain isn’t alone: As Nation’s Restaurant News reports, in the wake of a similar incident last week in which a 15-month-old was served a margarita instead of apple juice, Applebee’s is also changing its policy.

Under Olive Garden’s new policy, all drinks will be made to order instead of pre-mixed, which, in addition to preventing inebriation in toddlers, will likely have the happy if inadvertent effect of making the drinks better.

Applebee’s, taking a page from the sommelier playbook, will start pouring apple juice tableside from single-serve containers.

The Olive Garden-Applebee’s incidents have inspired Ruby Tuesday to hop on the no-alcohol-for-small-children bandwagon by “beefing up” its beverage training for servers. One hopes that this “training” involves learning that apple juice smells nothing like tequila, but again, this has the makings of a win-win situation: Children don’t get alcohol poisoning, and their parents get to obliterate themselves on something that doesn’t come from a mix. Happy day.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 18, 2011


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