JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City police were called to a restaurant on North Roan Street after alcoholic beverages were served to three children Thursday evening.
According to a JCPD Chief Mark Sirois, officers responded to Applebee’s, 2100 N. Roan St., around 5 p.m. where they spoke to a parent who said alcoholic root beers, “Not Your Father’s Root Beer”, were served to his three children ages 9, 10 and 11.
The father of the children, Scottie Barnett of Johnson City, said his children ordered root beer at the restaurant and when they were served the bottled drinks by an Applebee’s employee, his 9-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter drank some of the beverage.
“We walked in, we got seated, we asked for something to drink,” Barnett said. “My kids said they wanted root beer, so she said ‘Ok, fine.’ She brought them what appeared to me as root beer.”
He said he brought the alcoholic beverages to the employee’s attention, who reportedly insisted the drinks were root beer. He told her it was not root beer.
Barnett then called the police and the restaurant’s corporate office to report the incident.
According to Barnett, his 10-year-old daughter was also served the alcoholic root beer, but did not drink any of the beverage.
Barnett’s 9-year-old son was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out because he complained of stomach pains, but was later released. His son is expected to be ok.
“This is a 5.9 percent alcoholic drink,” he said. “They don’t even serve root beer here at this establishment.”
An Applebee’s spokesperson Patrick Lenow confirmed the incident happened Thursday.
“Sincere apologies were made, the family accepted dinner as our guests and immediate re-training of all team members on duty took place,” Lenow said. “Re-training of all team members of all the restaurants operated by this owner will be completed tomorrow.”
Lenow added that this was “an isolated mistake in one restaurant owned by an independent franchise operator. Strict requirement are in place to prevent this type of error and this mistake should not have happened.”
According to Lenow, a regional manager with Applebee’s from Knoxville drove down to the Johnson City restaurant to address the incident and to speak with employees.
Lenow said the employee that served the beverages has been suspended pending an internal investigation.
Sirois said the incident was not criminal in nature and no report was filed.