Horror movies have taught us not to hide in the basement when a lunatic in a hockey mask is on the prowl. Finding a place in a restaurant to dodge nightmare scenarios is much tougher, as this week’s developments attest.
Here are some of the nightmare settings that had restaurateurs or their guests palm-smacking their foreheads in exasperation this week.
‘We don’t serve hay’
The drive-thru has helped fast-food restaurants push beyond the service limitations of an interior walk-up counter. So why put a limit on who can use it?
That, as loyal readers know, is a pressing question for many consumers, and a good reason why the drive-thru may be the most common setting for restaurant nightmares. We’ve reported here about blind and deaf people pursuing legal actions because restaurants have suggested those customers forego ordering from the driver’s seat. And the drive-thru staff has explained umpteen times that the drive-thru lane is not safe for pedestrians or people riding bicycles.
Rodeo rider Lathan Crump must have know his horse Hollywood was one of those transportation vehicles that isn’t allowed through the lane. But he knew of no such prohibition against ordering from horseback at the dining-room counter. So he and the palomino strutted into a Taco Bell, shifting the usual drive-thru nightmare indoors.
The video of Crump’s visit has become a social media hit.
Sign of distress
A stab at a political joke turned a billboard for Indiana's Hacienda Mexican Restaurant chain into a nightmare—or a marketing dream, depending on how you look at it.
The outdoor come-on proclaims that Hacienda features “the best Mexican food this side of the wall,” a clear reference to Donald Trump’s pledge that he intends to erect a barrier on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration.
Some Latinos were so outraged that they asked a South Bend community center, La Casa de Amistad, to reach out to Hacienda in protest.
A representative of the 14-unit chain said the line was intended to be funny, not inflammatory, but a La Casa executive maintained that the quip was offensive, not humorous.
Greased parking lot
Customers couldn’t even attempt to cross the parking lot outside two Madison, Wis., restaurants after two 100-gallon grease bins were spilled. Firemen wouldn’t let them; they shut down the area until Department of Natural Resources personnel in hazmat suits could cover the slick with oil-eating materials.
The spill was discovered on a Saturday morning. No information was included in the accident report about how the bins were overturned.
Buzz at the merchandise counter
A controversy like the one sparked by Hacienda Restaurants is familiar territory to Paisano’s, an Italian restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M. As we reported several weeks ago, the independent riled some neighbors by using the line “Black olives matter,” a play off the civil rights slogan “Black lives matter,” to tout its signature tapenade.
Instead of trying to tamp down the dust-up, Paisano’s has added some topspin, shifting the potential nightmare to its merchandise operations. It is now selling T-shirts and hats emblazoned with the slogan.