Disregard for an action’s potential impact will land someone in trouble every time, regardless of what role they might hold inside a restaurant. Guest, employee, manager—no one’s spared from the nightmares that can follow a lapse of sensitivity, be it trivializing an important social issue, ignoring the sensibilities of the community, appearing cold-hearted or coming on too strong in a fit of righteous indignation.
Here’s proof from the last week or so.
Bad taste and poor judgment
Paisano’s in Albuquerque, N.M., probably meant no harm when it turned a rallying call for social reform into an ill-conceived yuck-yuck about one of its specialties, pan-seared tuna topped with tapenade. But it quickly learned that many customers read disrespect instead of humor in a plug of the dish on an outside sign: “Black olives matter—try our tapenade.”
“We thought it was a cute play on words to promote our special ahi tuna,” proprietor Rick Camuglia told a local TV station. Indeed, he was so proud that he posted a picture of the sign on Facebook—ensuring it was seen beyond the restaurant’s home market.
The outrage and accusations of insensitivity prompted Camuglia to take down the come-on. But he was far from apologetic in a subsequent Facebook post, asserting that diners from far and wide had flocked to the restaurant to show support for the establishment.
Hadn’t they ever encountered Hooters?
A restaurant in the beach community of Yarmouth, Mass., recently learned that one vacationer’s whimsical piece of art can be another seaside reveler’s soft-core porn. Salty’s commissioned a sand sculpture of a mermaid outside its doors as part of the Yarmouth Summer Celebration, an open-air exhibition of some 47 temporary sculptures formed from sand.
The mermaid is Salty’s signature annual contribution to the annual summer event, but this year proprietor Raymond Roy asked the sculptor to put a little more va-va-voom into the depiction. To put it politely, this was no little mermaid, at least in bust size.
Sure enough, some locals and tourists squawked that the sculpture was obscene, even though the voluptuous siren is wearing a bikini.
A controversy erupted, but Roy says he’s not about to knock down the sculpted knockout.
Where do you draw the drive-thru line?
Talk about your gray areas. On one side of the controversy is the Taco Bell customer who wanted to use the drive-thru. On the other is the manager whose operations were disrupted because the woman cannot hear or speak, and hence couldn’t place her order via the drive-up microphone. Instead, she proceeded to the pick-up window, where she handed an employee a list of what she wanted. The employee handed back a note saying, Nope, we can’t take your order this way.
A manager interceded and, to his credit, agreed to fill the order for the woman while she waited in her car. But he informed her that she should come into the restaurant next time so the drive-thru queue won’t be disrupted.
The New Jersey woman was offended and felt she was being slighted because of her impairments.
Two months later, she tried the same thing at another Taco Bell in her home state. The same thing happened.
Now the woman is suing Taco Bell, alleging discrimination.
It was all caught on video. You can play Judge Judy and decide for yourself who’s right, wrong—or maybe a little of both.