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Applebee's Grill & Bar said it would change its serving methods after a Michigan toddler was mistakenly given alcohol instead of apple juice at one of its restaurants.
Police ruled the incident an accident, but Applebee's management says it will no longer serve juice from bottles behind the bar. (The 15-month-old's cup was filled from a mislabeled bottle at the bar.) Now they'll serve juice in single-serve portions -- and pour it at the table.
The child was examined by emergency medical technicians and released, but Mike Archer, president of Lenexa, Kan.-based Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, acknowledged the severity of the mistake in a statement:
"We want to express how thankful we are that the child involved in the incident at our restaurant ... was not seriously injured as a result of accidentally receiving the wrong beverage," he said. "We also want to apologize to his parents, for the stress and worry this caused them. Although our efforts to speak with the child's parents have been unsuccessful, we extend our personal apologies.
Mistakes happen, of course, but the chain has a history of mistakenly serving alcohol to children: Nation's Restaurant News reports that in 2006, a New York City Applebee's accidentally served a 5-year-old a Long Island iced tea cocktail instead of apple juice. And in June 2007, the Associated Press reported that an Applebee's unit in Antioch, Calif., accidentally served a margarita to a 2-year-old instead of apple juice.