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Oops: Olive Garden and Applebees Gets Kids Drunk on Sangria Margarita

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Olive Garden restaurants across the U.S. are on the hot seat after the restaurant chain screwed up big-time -- and accidentally gets a two-year-old toddler drunk. Applebee's has done the same, serving a 15-month-old kid a margarita.
Applebee's restaurants had been retraining staff after the mother claims her young child became drunk on a margarita, provided to him in place of an Applebee's employee in place of apple juice. That mother has already filed a lawsuit, though the amount of alcohol affecting the child is still unknown to the public.
At Olive Garden, part of its staff apparently doesn't know the difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages any better than Applebee's: in March, an Olive Garden server brought a two-year-old boy an alcohol-based "Tropical Sangria" drink instead of -- you guessed it -- juice. And it made him -- you guessed it -- drunk.
The Olive Garden chain owner apologized a couple of weeks later after it happened at its Florida restaurant on March 31 -- the company insinuating its taken of the situation -- aka, probably firing the company's server or employee.
The owner also said that, at its specific Olive Garden restaurants: "to prevent this situation from happening again, we will no longer prepare containers of Sangria in advance. It will be prepared from scratch when ordered, as is the case with all other alcoholic beverages."
Oh -- apparently "Sangria" will no longer be Sangria at Olive Garden, since the wine and juice mixture is traditionally supposed to marinate before serving. As in marinating overnight with the fruit piece, for the flavor. It's kind of, sort of, the recipe.
In what seems a trend among restaurant chains, the latest accidental drink serving happened in Florida. The toddler's mother says her two-year-old son was mistakenly served "Tropical Sangria," a mix of fruit juices and white wine, at Olive Garden instead of orange juice. Apparently Florida is known for more than its orange juice in terms of beverages.
Mother Jill Van Heest says her two-year-old son, Nikolai, had already downed most of the "orange juice" when a waiter appeared -- bearing news that there'd been a "mistake." Van Heest said the waiter took the sippy cup and was apologetic but that's not stopping the standard next move. The mother says her son, Nikolai, was visibly drunk and had to be taken to the hospital following the Olive Garden visit. So, probably a lawsuit down the line.
Olive Garden released statement: "This was an extremely regrettable accident caused by the failure of an employee to follow our strict operating procedures. We take this situation very seriously, and we are especially grateful that the child involved was not seriously harmed....We are also taking immediate steps to reinforce our standards."
As to what those standards are, it's unclear -- but it's good to know they're being "reinforced," though simply "enforced" might be a good start for the restaurant.


United States
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