A New Orleans woman received a meal that she didn’t like. So, the dissatisfied customer sent it back to the kitchen, as most anyone would do. However, when it came time to pay the bill, there was something on the receipt that made her seek legal counsel and caused others to swear they’ll never eat there again.
Liryca Neville Branch was dining with three black co-workers at Huck Finn’s Cafe on Decatur Street when she got unsatisfactory food from the establishment, reports WDSU. Liryca didn’t like what she ordered, so she sent it back and wasn’t charged. But, her waiter, Dakota Crochet, put something on the receipt that outraged the woman.
The receipt noted the discount as “100%” for a fish platter and salad, which was $16, and the reason was listed as “Dislike.” However, there was also one word that should never appear on a customer’s receipt. Dakota called the black customer a “N***er.”
When Liryca Neville Branch asked to speak to a manager, she was told it was part of a joke that employees play on black employees who work “in the back” of the restaurant. However, not everyone was buying that excuse. After Branch posted an image of the receipt to Facebook, it started spreading like wildfire as outraged social media users berated the restaurant for the waiter’s openly racist behavior.
No one was as upset as Branch, however. “This is unacceptable. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Branch told the New York Daily News. “You would think that we wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff right now. It just shows that racism is alive and well.”
Fortunately, the restaurant quickly fired the server, but Branch didn’t want to let them off the hook that easily. Although the manager wouldn’t do an on-air interview, they did make a statement. “We don’t condone that at all,” the manager said. “He’s gone and that’s it,” he added, referring to the employee responsible for the derogatory remark. The restaurant then issued a public statement, declaring that the terminated employee shouldn’t be a reflection of their establishment or their principles.
“Huck Finn’s Cafe is shocked and appalled at the actions of one of its employees, who was terminated immediately after management found out they violated company policy,” the statement on the restaurant’s website read. “Huck Finn’s Cafe is committed to treating everyone, employees and customers alike, with dignity and respect. The unfortunate actions of this one employee do not mirror the mission of Huck Finn’s Cafe’s firm non-discrimination policy, and we are extremely apologetic for any inconvenience this may have caused. We have been serving customers from around the world for more than 6 years, and our employees work their hardest to go above and beyond to ensure visitors have a pleasant and respectful experience at Huck Finn’s Cafe.”
Despite the restaurant’s swift actions in firing the server, not everyone was pleased, with some demanding the establishment still be held responsible. “It’s actually very insulting. I’m not black but still, that’s an insulting word,” said customer Cooper Anderson. “We don’t use that word anymore. It’s a racist word, racist term, one of the worst you could ever say and putting it on paper at a public restaurant in New Orleans, that’s one of the worst things you can do.”
“I’ve never had anything like this happen before to me,” Liryca Neville Branch said. “Trust me — this is not over. I refuse to let this die out,” she added, saying she is mulling a lawsuit and demanding a personal apology from both the terminated waiter and the restaurant’s management. Of course, she has every reason to be angry and the employee should be held accountable, which they were. But, should an employer be expected to pay a hefty price when their staff behaves badly? The cafe’s statement definitely sounded like an apology, and the guilty party is gone. Sadly, when you hire someone, you don’t get a crystal ball. Raking the restaurant over the coals won’t change anything.