IHOP Waiter Reportedly Wrote ‘BLACK PPL’ On Texas Couple’s Receipt

An African-American couple who stopped in to an Austin, Texas, IHOP for a quick takeout order were outraged to see the words “Black PPL” on their receipt.

Instead of causing a scene, they went home and posted a picture of the racial receipt to Facebook where it attracted a lot of attention.

It turns out that the server in question was reportedly also black.

Apparently, he was terminated by the restaurant in the aftermath of this incident, according to Austin’s Fox 7.

“Arainia Brown and her boyfriend Rolman Sparkman were traveling back to Austin and decided to grab a to-go order from the IHOP around 3 a.m. Monday. When Brown saw her receipt, she immediately became upset. ‘This is not a joke,’ said Sparkman. ‘It’s very serious and it hurt a lot of people’s feelings,'” ABC affiliate KVUE reported.

“You could have asked me my name. Don’t put, don’t label me. I don’t label you,” remarked Arainia Brown, who has vowed to never to return to that restaurant.

Brown asserted that in her experience working in restaurants, racially identifying a customer is unacceptable. “We either put a number, a to-go, the color of their shirt. Not their skin color,” she said

“People are being racist, and it’s your own people being racist toward you for no reason,” added Sparkman.

“There was an element of, was it discrimination or poor service? In my opinion, it was poor service. I would find it odd that there would be a black guy discriminating against black customers, if this is how he makes his living,” an IHOP official told the New York Daily News.


The International House of Pancakes corporate office released a statement about the viral receipt issued at the Austin, Texas, restaurant.

“This was a poor choice made by our franchisee’s team member, and is not in keeping with policies and procedures. We recognize that it could be offensive and apologize. Everyone is welcome in our restaurants and our franchisee is using this as a teachable moment for the entire team so that it will not reoccur.”

The Austin IHOP, along with 34 other IHOP eateries across the Lone Star State, is reportedly owned by a company called ACG Texas.

“Restaurants often use shorthand to identify customers on receipts, but when those notes reduce the customers to their race, or their sexual orientation… they become part of a larger pattern of identifying — and judging — people based on their perceived identities,” Mic detailed.

The IHOP waiter subsequently apologized on Facebook, the Daily Mail explained.

“So this is Dwayne W from the viral IHOP incident. All I want to say is, next Tuesday for National Pancake Day, and any other time as well, go to IHOP and get a delicious meal. A slip up by me in a rush to get to-go orders to guests should not be held against an entire establishment. In a rush to put in to-go orders and tend to my tables, I forgot to get a name for the two couples’ order. I apologize if I offended anyone because that wasn’t my intention…”

This incident perhaps comes an awkward time for IHOP as it seeks to raise millions for charity from restaurant visitors during the National Pancake Day flapjack giveaway, which is this year is Tuesday, March 8, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “In return for the free pancakes, guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or other designated local charities,” the IHOP website details.

The Glendale, California-based breakfast-food restaurant chain has about 1,600 outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]