Employees at a Federal Way Denny’s no longer are employed at the restaurant after the chain investigated an allegedly racist incident there Wednesday evening.
Facebook user Palmer Pellham posted on Thursday about the incident in which a group of black diners were asked to pay for their meals before receiving them.
Pellham and his wife Esther, who apparently are white and saw the events, were not asked to pay before dining.
In a Facebook posting Saturday, Denny’s said it “has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind” and that the employees involved in the incident no longer are employed.
Pellham’s Facebook post gives this account of what happened about 10 p.m. at the restaurant in the 2100 block of South 320th Street.
“There was only one other table occupied when we arrived. We were seated immediately.
“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.”
Two white men who came in after the black customers were seated immediately, he wrote.
But then things turned more blatant, according to Pellham’s account.
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 said. “She says that she has had several people order food and leave without paying so her manager said she had to have them pay first.”
The young men asked to see the manager.
“The young men did not make a scene or disrupt other people,” Pellham said. “They were complaining a little bit but quietly.”
Pellham and his wife decided they’d had enough.
“At this point my wife and I have lost our appetites, drop our forks, and tell the server we are leaving and want to pay,” he wrote.
Pellham told the waitress they didn’t like the way the restaurant was treating its black customers.
“She said she had several people dine and dash and she had to do it,” Pellham said. “I told her that being racist was not the way to deal with that situation.
“She began to argue with me and asked how should she deal with it. I told her to call the police and that if someone doesn't pay their bill that #Denny's should cover the loss.
“Her manager finally turned around and told her not to talk to me. I finished paying and said that I was never going to Denny's again. They young men thanked us as we left.”
The Facebook post was widely shared, with more than 19,000 reactions and 7,800 comments.
Denny’s responded Saturday on its Facebook page.
“We are deeply disappointed and outraged by the situation that took place at our independently-owned franchise restaurant in Federal Way, Washington,” the company said.
“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.”
A manager at the restaurant would not comment to The News Tribune on Sunday. She referred a reporter to a corporate phone number.
“Keep standing up when you see injustice,” Pellham wrote.