NYPD Officers Refused Service? Chipotle Issues Apology — And Clarification

Were NYPD officers refused service at a Chipotle restaurant in Brooklyn? Though that rumor has been spreading wildly, it’s not quite accurate. In fact, many details of the account, as told on social media, are not accurate.

Chipotle issued a statement today, addressing the incident. After hearing that NYPD officers were said to have been refused service, the CEOs say that security cameras were reviewed, and restaurant staff questioned. They released their findings in a statement.

“On December 16 at approximately 6:15 p.m., a group of nine New York police officers entered one of our restaurants in Brooklyn and saw one of our crew members raise their hands in what appears to have been a gesture of protest directed toward the NYPD. Our investigation has shown that this appears to have been a spontaneous, unplanned action taken by an individual crew member and was not a coordinated effort by the staff of the restaurant. Our investigation also shows that the officers were not refused service, but instead chose to leave after encountering this gesture and while still waiting in line.”

Notably, unlike the circulating rumors, police left by choice, and were never denied service. There was also only one employee involved.

A widespread concern has been what actions the restaurant has taken. Chipotle addressed this, but without specifics.

“We work hard to ensure that every customer in our restaurants feels welcome and is treated with respect. Clearly, the actions of this crew member undermined that effort. In no way was the behavior of this crew member consistent with our culture and our values as a company. We have taken appropriate actions with regard to the crew member involved, but we are not at liberty to discuss the specific actions taken.”

Finally, they offer this apology to the NYPD officers who encountered this display in their restaurant.

“Additionally, we have reiterated to the team the importance of making all of our customers feel welcome in our restaurants. We have also apologized to many of the people who have contacted us regarding this issue. Above all, we would like to apologize to the officers involved in this incident. We have proudly served law enforcement officers in our restaurants around the country for the last 21 years and we continue to do so every day. We greatly respect the service they provide and welcome them into our restaurants.”

While Chipotle appears to have disabled posts to its Facebook page, the comments on posts by the page continue to be flooded with angry customers who’ve heard that NYPD officers were refused service. Will the chain’s attempts to set the record straight correct that?

[photo credit: JeepersMedia]