Employees at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Illinois were fired after a group of minorities was allegedly asked to change tables because another customer didn’t “want black people sitting near him,” according to reports.
Justin Vahl said he was among a party of 18 people — including 12 kids — who were asked to move by a manager on Oct. 26 after sitting down at the casual dining chain in Naperville during a visit to celebrate one of the youngsters’ birthdays, the Napervile Sun reported.
A host asked Vahl about his ethnicity as staffers set up tables for the group, leading him to inquire why that mattered. The employee then told him that one of the restaurant’s regular customers sitting nearby “doesn’t want black people sitting near him,” Vahl told the newspaper.
A manager later asked the group to switch tables, according to Vahl and another man with him, Marcus Riley. Both men said they ultimately decided to take their business elsewhere after the request.
Vahl’s wife, Mary, said restaurant staffers at one point told the group that their tables had actually been reserved for other diners, but they didn’t buy that explanation, she said.
“In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted because of certain views,” Mary Vahl wrote on Facebook of the incident. “If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home.”
Vahl’s post also included a photo of the “racist” customer who had an issue with the “group of minorities” sitting near him, she said.
“A moment to hang out with a group of friends after a birthday party turned into a discussion with young impressionable sons about how we didn’t get kicked out, but willingly CHOSE to leave because of the unfair treatment we were being given,” she wrote. “This Buffalo Wild Wings location has lost our business indefinitely.”
The Buffalo Wild Wings employees involved in the incident — a service manager and a shift manager — were fired after a “thorough” internal investigation, a company spokesperson confirmed to The Post.
“Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” the statement read.
It’s unclear whether the customer who took issue with the group of minorities was also asked to change tables at any time, but company reps have been in contact with Vahl’s party to get more details about the incident and to apologize for “any unacceptable behavior,” according to a statement issued Wednesday.
Riley, for his part, said the employee who initially sat the group had tears in his eyes as they left the restaurant.
“It’s 2019,” Riley told WBBM. “We’re supposed to be past this.”
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