A server at an IHOP in Maine asked a group of black teenagers to pay before they had had their meal.
The request was deemed discriminatory by the patrons in question, leading the restaurant manager to issue an apology.
Manager Melvin Escobar said this was an isolated incident and “this is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time.”
Escobar was informed of the incident after a young man, Avery Gagne posted about in on Facebook. Gagne was having dinner with his parents when he witnessed the exchange take place which left him feeling “literally ill.”
When confronted by Gagne’s parents, the server told them that her behavior was not because of the customers’ “color” but in fact it was a “new generation thing” and that was the company’s policy to prevent walk outs.
Gagne stated he got “worked up” by this statement as “he knew exactly what was going on.” He was also upset about the server’s alleged racial discrimination of considering customers of color “high risk.” The post was shared more than 2000 times.
The manager of the restaurant was not present at the time of the incident but maintained that there was no “racial motivation” and the server’s behavior was merely to prevent teenagers walking out of the restaurant without paying a $100 bill.
"IHOP and our franchisees strive to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflective of that commitment nor tolerated. The franchisee of this location is in the process of reaching out directly to the affected guests to apologize for an individual team member's misguided actions as well as using this as an opportunity to underscore the values we uphold as a brand with his entire team,” said the company statement.
IHOP Maine also issued an apology on their Facebook page on behalf of their wait staff and stated the servers have been made aware of how handle matters “correctly” through a staff meeting. They also insisted this one action must not be associated with how they strive to serve their customers.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Mike Blake/Reuters