Coffee Shop Disaster

Editor’s Note: The Niche Creativity blog and the content below are NOT AI generated.
The article below originally appeared on another platform ln 2023.  And some of the articles in the source list will be republished on this blog.

A $25 million federal lawsuit award and startling examples of restaurant discrimination…1355 Words

North or South, patrons confronting discriminatory service in a food establishment is an ordinary event …but not always.
Mr. Floyd Mori wrote about a valuable Atlanta Hawks NBA basketball player who was denied service in an upscale Atlanta restaurant because of his casual designer attire.
The refusal shocked the celebrity athlete because he had never experienced refusal at any restaurant prior and dined in high-end establishments. And he saw other patrons at the restaurant in casual clothing.
Mr. Mori’s article and two recent news stories below inspired this content.
Several months ago, a federal jury in New Jersey awarded a White regional manager more than $25 million as a result of the Starbucks incident involving two men of color, in their early 20s back in 2018.
For those unfamiliar with the backstory
The two men were seated quietly at a table when police approached and arrested them for the first time in their lives at a Philadelphia Starbucks.
One of the arrested men with the stunned look in news videos had been a customer at the location since age 15. (NPR)
Double lock handcuffed, hands behind their back, according to phone videos with millions of views seen worldwide. Fellow customers were outraged and demanded to know what the men had done wrong.
Police took the men to jail.
Minutes before police were called one of the men had asked to use the restroom, but the woman behind the counter refused. Her request that a purchase be made for a beverage or some such was politely declined.
The men were waiting for a third man to arrive for a months-long business real estate deal.
Meanwhile, the woman behind the counter called the police, in the speed-of-light range from the time the men entered the shop, according to GMA.
Starbucks generously declined to press charges. Fraternity brothers protested outside the shop. It was a complete PR nightmare.
There was hope back then the incident might lead to lasting change.
Judge for yourself.
Corporate changed the policy of allowing noncustomers to use their bathrooms. And mandatory racial sensitivity workshops for all employees were ordered closing all the Starbucks shops for a day.
Harvard and other experts have documented forced racial sensitivity training does not work.
The next step by Starbucks was to engage in costly misplaced blame and fire a regional manager who was not responsible for what had happened to the men, according to a federal jury trial.
But how much would it have cost instead to skip the race sensitivity workshops, place the blame squarely on the person who made the call, and institute workshops outlining an immediate zero-tolerance or forfeit job policy?
Does an open bathroom policy address the problem of biased or racist employees targeting patrons?
Why does it take a race-based workshop to instruct employees not to call the police on an innocent patron regardless of the race, color, or creed of the person?
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former mayor of Atlanta, and senior presidential advisor in the Obama administration entered a mall national brand steakhouse in 2022 and was denied a requested seat in the main dining room or the bar area because she was wearing leggings.
Curiously, as the former mayor departed, a White patron entered wearing leggings but did not come back out, according to Keisha Lance Bottoms.
After posting about her experience, White readers wanting to help the former mayor posted their photos of the inside of the steakhouse showing people in all manner of casual garb, even medical scrubs.
Learned something new…
It’s no secret restaurants and related businesses have a long history of denying customers of color entry into their establishments based on clothing guidelines.
But European patrons are allowed to enter attired in the same garb that disqualifies people of color from entry.
In the case of the national brand steakhouse, the guideline wording was written to allow color-biased discretion.
Imagine how much business some food establishments would lose if they refused to allow White patrons attired in casual garb inside or even at a table outside the main area.
Until I read Mr. Mori’s post about the NBA athlete and clothing guidelines, I realized I had never looked at the wording of some of the so-called guidelines.
As Mr. Mori commented… “There are ways for people to be racist and to make it appear that it is not racism.”
Police called for slowing-moving restaurant patrons
Last weekend, a group of five successful professionals including two married couples…with reservations a month ahead at an Orlando, Florida restaurant for jazz entertainment… paid their $600 bill.
Yet while the group was still seated the manager called the police to escort the group out of the restaurant. (Roland Martin)
Date stamps corroborate the group had been there for 60–90 minutes. There was no policy of vacating tables after a set time as some restaurants inform patrons verbally and in writing, according to Martin.
The police arriving on the scene were very good. It has been suggested the trainer of those officers should tour nationally to teach other officers. I agree.
But this incident has a major twist, the five guests later learned the owner’s son, the manager, not only called the police but lied to the other patrons stating the group of five could not pay their $600 bill, so the police had to be called to escort them out.
Fabricating a lie to explain racist behavior was the perfect strategy…sort of…if the bill had not been paid would that not mean an arrest versus being merely escorted out of the restaurant?
The manager could not very well admit another family of color too was asked to leave, at the same time while celebrating their father’s birthday.
Unfortunately for the management, a patron left a Google review noting what happened and wrote in part of being unsure whether the party of five did not pay their bill.
Managerial arrogance, stupidity, and misconduct…breathtaking.
What exactly will the police call tapes reveal the manager told them?
Details of the ordeal were expertly captured on a cellphone with a panoramic view of the dining area, including patron demographics and the agitated manager on his cell phone trying desperately to avoid being filmed.
According to Martin and his guest host, the details are senseless.
Not so if you consider the reservations were made well in advance online via a third-party platform.
Not until the five entered the establishment did the manager realize people of color were on his property…and that may be okay if they work for him but…
The five patrons targeted controlled their emotions perfectly and two questions come to mind.
  1. Minus legal fees and pain-related expenses, will the family-owned restaurant remain in the family?
  2. Will there ever be a state or a federal law passed with stiff fines prohibiting the use of police calls as a weapon?
Thank you for reading.



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