An independently owned Denny’s franchise is a few employees short after workers espoused racist tactics onto a group of Black male diners. The incident took place at the Federal Way, Washington restaurant and was witnessed by Palmer Pellham and his wife Esther who took to Facebook to detail what transpired.
“There was only one other table occupied when we arrived. We were seated immediately,” the account reads, according to The News Tribune. “A few minutes after we sat down, four young African American men walk in to eat. They have to wait about 10 minutes, even though the restaurant is empty, to be seated.”
The post went on to note that two white men who came in after the 4 Black customers were seated immediately. After a waitress took the young men’s orders, she quickly returned to their table.
“She then asks for them to pay before the cook will prepare their food,” Pellham continued. “Several people order food and leave without paying so her manager said she had to have them pay first.”
The young men then asked to see the manager.
After this, Pellham and his wife ask for their bill and leave the establishment, but not before confronting the waitress abut the racist behavior.
Pellham’s Facebook post was shared widely across social media, garnering upwards of 20,000 reactions and nearly 8,000 comments on Facebook.
The incident is not the first time Denny’s has been accused of racial discrimination. In 1994, the restaurant paid $54 million in race bias suits that included the case of six Black secret service members for then-President Bill Clinton who were refused service while their White counterparts were readily seated. Other accounts of Denny’s asking Black patrons to prepay for their meals were documented in a 1991 court case and a 2014 lawsuit involving a Los Angeles location.
To address the matter in Washington, Denny’s released a statement that was posted to their Facebook rebuking the behavior of the workers involved.
“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.” The franchise went on to say that it conducted a swift investigation and the employees are no longer a part of the Denny’s system.