Buffalo Wild Wings has reportedly fired staff at an Illinois location after a customer said she and a mostly Black group of diners were asked to switch tables because of their race.
Last week, Mary Vahl shared a now-viral account of her experience of Facebook, having noticed something was wrong minutes after she and her family arrived at the restaurant’s Naperville location in suburban Chicago.
Before being seated, Vahl said a host approached her husband and asked, “What race are you guys?”
“My husband asked him why it mattered and the host responded that a table with 2 of their ‘regular customers’ were next to where we were to be seated and he didn’t want us sitting there because he’s ‘racist,’” Vahl wrote, noting that her 18-person party was made up of people of color.
“So of course, we don’t give him the satisfaction and told the host we’ll sit where they set us up,” she added.
Upon arriving at their table, Vahl said she noticed a man nearby who was “staring at us the entire time and giving us looks as we were being seated,” knowing already who the problematic customer was.
A manager who was speaking to the customer’s table then informed Vahl’s group that the seats they were in were actually reserved, and instructed them to move.
Her party refused to get up, and informed a waitress of the situation, who responded that she was already aware the man is racist because he is a regular at the establishment.
Eventually, having become “uncomfortable for being put in this situation,” Vahl said the group left and ate at a Hooters.
Her story has been shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook, receiving more than 4,000 comments and nearly 6,000 reactions.
In a statement to HuffPost, the restaurant chain confirmed that a service manager and a shift manager have been fired over the incident.
“We take this incident very seriously and after conducting a thorough, internal investigation have terminated the employees involved,” a spokesperson said. “Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Asked whether the company had reached out to the Vahl or her husband, the spokesperson said, “We’re in direct communication with the guest to understand their account of what happened and to offer our deepest apologies for any unacceptable behavior.”
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