A group of four black men were asked to pay their bill before being served food at a Denny’s in Federal Way last Wednesday, the Tacoma News-Tribune reported Sunday, and several employees have been fired over the incident, according to the company.
A diner named Palmer Pellham, who is white, said in a Facebook post he witnessed the incident while eating dinner with his wife. Not only were the black men asked to pay first, Pellham wrote, but they had to wait at least 10 minutes before being served in a the nearly empty restaurant. Other white customers were seated immediately, Pellham said.
Pellham and his wife decided to leave the restaurant after witnessing the incident, according to the report. Pellham said he told the waitress he didn’t like how the men were being treated. She reportedly told him that there had been several recent “dine-and-dash” incidents at the Denny’s, so the manager wanted black customers to pay first. (For more local news, click here to sign up for real-time news alerts and newsletters from Patch, click here to find your local Washington Patch. Also, follow us on Facebook, and if you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app.)
Denny’s posted a statement about the incident on Facebook Saturday:
“We are deeply disappointed and outraged by the situation that took place at our independently-owned franchise restaurant in Federal Way, Washington. 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.”
In 1994, Denny’s paid $54 million to settle discrimination claimsbrought by black customers. In one incident, a group of secret service agents protecting former president Bill Clinton were refused service at a Denny’s in Annapolis, Md., while white secret service agents were not. At the time, the settlement was the largest in U.S. history over federal public-accommodation laws.
The incident reportedly took place at the Denny’s along 320th St. in Federal Way.
Photo Credit: cravedfw