Buffalo Wild Wings has fired several employees at an Illinois location following an incident in which a group of black customers was moved to a different table because a white customer complained that he didn’t “want black people sitting near him,” The Chicago Tribune reports.
Back on October 26, Justin Vahl and Marcus Riley visited a location in Naperville, in suburban Chicago, with a large group of friends and family members to celebrate a child’s birthday. Vahl, who is mixed-race, says that as tables were being arranged to accommodate the group, the host asked him, “What race are you?” Vahl asked the host why it mattered, and he claims that he was told by the host that another customer, who is a regular, “doesn’t want black people sitting near him.”
Vahl says that he told the host that he wasn’t going to be told where he can and can’t sit by another customer, and demanded to be seated where the group was initially going to be placed. However, a short time later, Vahl says, the manager had spoken to the customer and his companion, and then told Vahl’s group they’d need to move because another, larger group had reserved the tables. However, the local newspaper, The Naperville Sun, tried to check out that claim by calling the restaurant to make a reservation, only to be told that the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations.
As for Vahl, rather than being moved, decided to stay put. “Multiple” other managers tried to get his group to move, according to a companion Chicago Tribune report, and eventually, the group decided to go dine somewhere else.
Another man in the group, Marcus Riley, says that during the drive to the new restaurant, the children in the group were concerned that they had done something wrong.
“If they don’t value us as people, as human beings, would you want to pay them?” he said he asked the kids.
He further says that he had to explain to the kids why the people at the restaurant didn’t like them.
Buffalo Wild Wings has since confirmed that, following an investigation of the incident, an unknown number of employees at the location, including a service manager and a shift manager, were fired.
“Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” said a company spokesperson.
Meanwhile, a reported called the location and spoke to a male who would only identify himself as a manager. He said only that “there were employees who were terminated and who quit,” and directed further questions to the company’s Corporate Communications office.