A Korean couple sued Hooters this week after they were described as “Chinx” on a restaurant receipt.This was not an isolated incident, according to prosecuting lawyer Daniel Baek, who told the NYPost: “There are a rash of cases across the country where customers were identified on their credit card and store . . . receipts by racial slurs.”
Baek offered the following examples to BI:
Papa John’s in Harlem earlier this year, when a Korean-American customer Minhee Cho was identified as “lady chinky eyes” – Jan 2012
Landmark Steakhouse in OC, CA – “N” word to Mr. McHenry. settled Feb of this year.
Chick-fil-A in OC, CA, “Ching” and “Chong” receipts to two Asian students – Dec 2011.
South African Hooters, “Darkies” – Oct 2011.
Dominos Pizza, NC- “N” word – Aug 2010.
Pizza Hut, Missouri, “Big Black” – Feb 2010.
Parkhills Waterfront Grill, Jersey Shore, “Jew Couple” – Aug 2005.
So what’s going on here? As a former restaurant host, let me offer some insight.
A restaurant host may write down reservations and take out orders for over 100 people in a night. He describes customers quickly in terms that he will remember. These terms may be offensive: “Hot” or “old” or “fat” or worse. It is unavoidable that a host will sometimes use a term that is potentially offensive.
Chains that reproduce these descriptions on customer receipts are taking a huge risk.
Thankfully there’s an easy solution. At my restaurant, descriptions of customers were seen by no one except for the host. Restaurants that adopt a similar system won’t get sued.
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