This Might Make You Sick: 11 Cases of Restaurant Racism
Last weekend, a Famous Dave's server was fired over a photo of her holding a sign that complained of bad tipping during a powwow weekend. A week earlier, a South Carolina wing joint allegedly refused to seat 25 black customers (see below). And TV chef Paula Deen is the racially-insensitive gift that keeps on giving.
What's up with the race thing and the food thing? It seems that putting racist nicknames or comments on receipts is the current era's version of spitting in the customer's coke. Digging among the pocket lint of trashy news we turned up four recent stories of racist receipts from servers and one account of a racist receipt from a customer. Add to this several other race-related lowlights we found: three joints that that would turn away people of color, a delivery man's offensive butt-dial, a racist lunch menu, and a racist employee t-shirt. One restaurant owner posted a sign warning racists that she doesn't want their business -- and who can blame her? It's all enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Racism is in the eyes of the customer
The receipt Minhee Cho received in a New York City Papa John's read "Lady Chinky Eyes." She tweeted a photo of it; the store manager blamed "hip hop culture." Some wondered why she was even eating Papa John's pizza in New York in the first place.
New York Daily News: "Papa John's customer: Pizza joint called me 'lady chinky eyes'"
What? Black people call each other that all the time
The staff at a California steakhouse singled out a regular customer and got creative with the racist-scatological names they put on his receipts.
Also refused to gay-marry them
A cashier at a Chick-Fil-A issued Asian college students from UC-Irvine receipts with the names "Ching" and "Chong." The student body at UC-Irvine is approximately 50 percent Asian.
Angry Asian Man: "CHICK-FIL-A CASHIER NAMES CUSTOMERS "CHING" AND "CHONG""
Kitchen had run out of sexism that night
An Asian customer of a Hooters restaurant in Queens received a bill for his meal addressed to "CHINX."
New York Times: "A Hooters in Queens Is Sued for Racial Discrimination"
No tips, please, I'm black
Customers left a server at a Red Lobster in Tennessee a receipt that read "Tip: None" and "Total: Nigger." She posted a photo to Facebook and commented, "God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee."
The only thing brown in here is the liquor
The Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky, told a group they couldn't hold a pubic event there because the attendees would be black.
AlterNet: "The Most Racist Restaurant in America?"
The only thing dark in here is the Guinness
When a weekly event at McFadden's, an Irish bar in Philadelphia, began attracting African American patrons, the bar's manager decided to cancel it. As he explained in a text message to a bartender, "We don't want black people we are a white bar!" (McFadden's... why does that name sound familiar?)
Please wait to be not seated
A white patron at the Wild Wing Cafe in north Charleston, South Carolina, complained that a group of 25 black customers made her uncomfortable. The manager's crafty solution: Keep them waiting for two hours, then refuse to seat them.
"Mozart's Jam (Explicit)"
After receiving what they felt was an insufficient tip from an African American customer, two Papa John's pizza delivery men drove off trading racist remarks and singing "The Marriage of Figaro" -- with a racial slur substituted for "Figaro." They'd have gotten away with it, too, if one of them had not inadvertantly dialed the phone number of the customer. Their offensive comments were recorded as voicemail.
New York Daily News: "Papa John's drivers fired after leaving racial slur on customer's voicemail"
Join us in saluting black stereotype month
Someone thought it would be a good idea to serve fried chicken at the NBC cafeteria for Black History Month. That someone was neither ?uestlove (of the Roots, Jimmy Fallon's Late Night house band) nor comedian Wanda Sykes, both of whom complained publicly that the menu was offensive.
A one-way taco home
Employees of Taco Cid, a Mexican restaurant in South Carolina, wear t-shirts that depict a pair of tacos used as bait and the slogan "How to catch an illegal immigrant." The shirts were derided as racist by many news outlets in January, 2013, but the restaurant's owner disagrees, and employees continue to wear them. They're also available for purchase.
Fear of a black restaurant
Tired of prospective customers in her 97% white town (Ossett, in the UK) walking in, taking a look at her, and then walking out, restaurant owner Martha-Renee Kolleh put up a sign warning the public of the color of her skin. "Attention!," the all-caps sign exclaims, "everyone be aware I am a black woman, and always will be. If you are allergic to black people, don't come in."