What do you do when a customer wigs out and starts yelling the N-word at a group of teenagers? Do you
B. Call the police?
C. Do nothing
If you’re the manager and employees at Denny’s restaurant in St. George, Utah, you pick option C.
This is the wrong option. You owe it to your customers of all races to step in when another customer goes off the rails. If you would fire an employee for the behavior, you should step in and stop a customer.
To keep reading, click here: Denny’s Gives a Master Class on How Not to Handle a Racist Customer
9 thoughts on “Denny’s Gives a Master Class on How Not to Handle a Racist Customer”
It’s not like Denny’s doesn’t have a history of major corporate racism. A number of stores in Florida were sued for poor treatment of Black customers, including one case where the customers were Federal Agents. This is actually not surprising, they’ve been using the “we’ll retrain” routine forever now (I haven’t lived in Florida in over ten years and the thing with the agents happened before I moved.)
That wasn’t corporate racism – they treated everyone poorly.
They treated black people more poorly than white people to the tune of a $54m settlement.
It’s kind of hard to figure out from the video exactly what was happening. You could hear a woman’s voice that appeared to be talking back to the perpetrator, but it was unclear if it was the woman sitting with the victims or a restaurant employee.
Yes, the management should have stepped – in theory they’ve been trained on how to deal with unruly patrons. But I can give a bit of forgiveness to the other patrons who didn’t. Unfortunately, we’re living in times where someone getting up and going off may also have a weapon so I think it’s a natural human reaction to freeze up in situations like this. I know I have – even at times where I certainly sympathized with the victim.
On the other hand – at least one person had the frame of mind to get out the phone and videotape the situation. And that, quite frankly, pisses me off. You can react quickly enough to whip out the phone, but not to speak up or try to put a stop to it??
Denny’s , despite having national localities, does nothing to maintain unity of performance overall. I used to enjoy going to Denny’s when I lived in California because of the great service, food and prices, but radically changed that mentality when I moved back east to New York. I am of the opinion that the fault lies with the operator owner (franchiser) not the company Denny’s. Hence the major difference I saw between Denny’s in California and the ones I have visited on the east coast in several states.
That attitude towards strangers is more rampant in areas where the communities are as I call it “red-neck”. All you need to get treated differently is to not speak the same. They treat single woman who sit at a table with indifference and bad attitude because they expect you’ll not tip.
That Denny’s in article is typical of that kind serice. That woman who started bad-mouthing was probably a regular cuatomer whom the manager didn’t want to offend, which explains the lack of attempt to quiet her down. (she probably bad-mouths a few people and also has a mental problem not addressed by family)
When you find a dining situation that makes you uncomfortable, the best way to deal with it, is to never visit again and put a negative review on Yelp. If you have already been served, take food to go but don’t stay there as that’s asking for trouble. Some of these locals can get viscous.
This is an important point. Apparently, most Denny’s are franchises – independently owned – so, while corporate has a fair amount of influence of many business practices, training and policy enforcement is purely local, and highly variable.
In a situation like this, the only real control corporate has is to threaten to pull the franchise license, which I expect can only be done under very strictly limited circumstances. And no franchise empire will do it lightly, even in the face of a horrible backlash like this.
Denny’s management should have at least called the police. I can understand a reluctance to personally intervene. Doing so means risking your own life to stop someone from saying mean things to another person. Take the recent national newsworty case of the two men stabbed to death after defending a Muslim woman who was being harassed, for example.
Directly confronting someone can be risky, because you can become a target, too. Good Samaritans get killed. And how much does a Denny’s employee get paid to put themselves in harm’s way ? Should that have a bearing ? Of course not. This is a complicated issue as you have to look at it through everyone’s eyes. In the end, everyone is doing the best they can with what they got.
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