One Pizza Hut in Florida is serving up slices in only select neighborhoods. A chain location in Fort Lauderdale is refusing to deliver pies to a historically Black neighborhood after dark, echoing a racist historic pattern of biased bans done in the name of business.
Adhering to corporate policy was given as the reason for why the store is avoiding nighttime deliveries in Sistrunk, a predominantly Black area named in honor of Broward County’s first Black doctor, James Sistrunk. The policy prohibits delivery orders made after 7 p.m., a manager told the Miami New Times after one of its reporters found the restaurant guilty of redlining. Delivery maps at the location conveniently include notes to refuse deliveries in Sistrunk, said the reporter Adam Weinstein.
The location’s instructions to its employees has an eerily familiar function: it allows for discrimination against those in minority areas. Pizza Hut’s move is not surprising, considering that the chain has been in hot water for bias before now. A Tarpon Springs, Florida location halted deliveries in a Black hood two years ago, an action that prompted a city attorney to threaten revoking the chain’s operational license. Pizza Hut explained that decision as an “issue of driver safety,” the Miami Times noted.
“We work to balance our customers’ wants with our delivery persons’ safety,” Patty Sullivan, a spokesperson, said at the time.
However, the problem of pizza redlining is far from unique to just Pizza Hut and has become a big issue. The City of San Francisco took a much-needed step in banning redlining with a law in 1996, the Miami Times noted. But restaurant industry pushback made way for loopholes in the law to give permission to delivery drivers to avoid neighborhoods where they feel “endangered,” a reason mostly used as a code for refusing service in communities of color. Domino’s settled with the U.S. Department of Justice after backlash came from customers near Jacksonville, Florida over delivery discrimination in 2000 as well.
Crime statistics were often cited as part of why pizza companies skip serving some select areas. Interestingly enough, several neighborhoods that people of color call home are mostly proven to be no more dangerous or crime-infested than White areas, according to studies.
SOURCE: Miami New Times,
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