A Denny’s customer who allegedly witnessed a racist incident at the chain restaurant’s Federal Way, Washington location is speaking out, KIRO 7 reports.
According to the news outlet, Palmer L. Pellham claimed that during a recent visit to the restaurant, he saw a waitress and manager demand that a group of young Black men pay for their food prior to eating.
Pellham said the men were the only ones in the restaurant asked to pay for their food beforehand. He also claimed that they were forced to wait 10 minutes before being seated, even though there were plenty of available tables. After the incident occurred, Pellham took to Facebook to share what happened.
“The server comes out … and walks over to the young men’s table with their order slips,” he wrote, according to the source. “She then asks for them to pay before the cook will prepare their food.”
KIRO 7 reported that Pellham’s Facebook post received more than 28,000 shares.
After catching wind of the incident, Denny’s executives issued an apology and said that both the waitress and manager were terminated following an investigation.
“We are deeply disappointed and outraged by the situation that took place at our independently-owned franchise restaurant in Federal Way, Washington,” the statement said, according to the news outlet. “Denny’s has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. This type of behavior is unacceptable for any reason and is clearly inconsistent with our practices and policies. After a swift investigation, the employees involved in this incident are no longer employed by our franchisee and no longer a part of the Denny’s system.”
This isn’t the first time that Denny’s has found itself in the midst of racial controversy.
Scores of Black customers have filed racial discrimination lawsuits against Denny’s over the years. The New York Times reported that Denny’s settled multiple lawsuits for $54 million in 1994. That payout stemmed from thousands of African-American customers accusing the chain of racial bias against them, including not getting served, being charged more than White patrons, and having to wait longer than Whites to be seated.
Ten years after that, two Black customers took legal action against a Los Angeles Denny’s after they were asked to pay before eating, Kiro 7 reported.