Restaurant Discrimination or Bad Service: The Difference

Regardless of race, color, or creed, restaurant diners experience lousy service.  Poor customer service is defined, in part, as unmet customer expectations. Or what the customer expected was not received.

When a diner believes bad service is discriminatory, other people may disagree. Terrible customer service may only indicate an establishment’s chaotic business management.

How patrons receive service determines the difference between poor service and discrimination.  Discrimination may not be applicable when all patrons receive terrible service. But if terrible service or treatment is directed toward a specific person or group of a certain race or ethnicity,  the service or lack thereof may be discriminatory.

A recent article on Medium by G. Correia revealed his experience when he took his teen son to a specialty restaurant for a hamburger but left after an hours-long wait without being served.

“As we left, the chef and the hostess, both unable to hide their exuberance, smiled and waved with giddiness.” Correia wrote.

Correia’s article includes an overlooked issue for those without firsthand experience: how to act carefully despite bad service to avoid fueling the situation in the presence of a son or daughter.  Insightful and infuriating.

While visiting a restaurant with a teen or preteen, I might consider carrying a paperback book to pull out and engage in quick discussion after encountering questionable service. Is this treatment terrible, or is it discriminatory? A fill-in checklist for jotting down the restaurant service experience and activities observed would be included. Correia’s article inspired me to offer Restaurant Reviewing later this month.

A parent could ask their son or daughter to write an honest restaurant review of 2-4 sentences about their dining experience and share it on social media.  (Without naming the Restaurant but giving a general location and food specialty to minimize the risk of being sued).

The paperback journal titled Restaurant Reviewing: Understanding and writing about awful food service in a multi-cultural society would include local ordinances and state laws for the appropriate region. Update: Cover completed and interior this month.

And perhaps creating an app or website that collects the positive dining experiences of multicultural diners across the country might be one answer.

Hamburger artistically displayed vertically in midair


Bad service or no service is part of the Black experience, and inevitable blatant racism doesn’t even take a break for a moment so you can enjoy dinner. G Correia, October 23, 2021:



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