Buffalo Wild Wings Fires Multiple Employees Following Racist Incident
“We take this incident very seriously and after conducting a thorough, internal investigation have terminated the employees involved,” a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson tells PEOPLE
Multiple Buffalo Wild Wings employees were fired after a group of mostly black diners were told to move to another table, as another customer did not want to sit next to them because of their race.
Opening up about the experience in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Mary Vahl said that the incident took place on Oct. 26 in Naperville, Illinois.
Shortly after being greeted by the host, Mary, who went to the restaurant with a “group of minorities, mostly consisting of African Americans,” said her husband was asked by the host ‘what race are you guys?’ ”
Asking why that would matter, the host explained that two “regular customers” were already seated next to the group’s table, one of whom the host specifically labeled as “racist.” In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mary’s husband Justin added that they were told that the customer “doesn’t want black people sitting near him.”
“Of course, we don’t give him the satisfaction and told the host we’ll sit where they set us up,” Mary wrote on Facebook, adding that “right away” a man sitting at the nearby table began “staring at us” and “giving us looks.”
After giving their orders to their waiter, Mary said their group noticed an employee talk with the other table before approaching them and saying, “these seats are reserved and we will have to move your group.” According to the Naperville Sun, the Buffalo Wild Wings location does not take reservations.
Requesting to speak with a manager, they were told by the employee that he was a manager.
“It was not ok that a person of management was willing to move 6 adults and 12 children versus 2 grown adults who are uncomfortable sitting by black folks!!” she wrote.
Mary went on to share that their group was then approached by the service manager, who first spoke “to the other table,” and they were again told that the table had already been reserved.
“At this time management is giving every excuse for their ‘misunderstanding,” she continued, noting that eventually they decided to leave and go to Hooters instead, where they did not experience any problems.
“In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted,” she wrote. “If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home.”
“A moment to hangout with a group of friends after a birthday party turned into a discussion with our young impressionable sons about how we didn’t get kicked out, but willingly chose to leave because of the unfair treatment we were given,” she continued, adding that “this Buffalo Wild Wings location has lost our business indefinitely.”
Concluding the post, which has been shared over 5 thousand times, Vohl wrote, “Thank you to the Hooters for serving our group and the patrons of Hooters for not being close-minded people that would ruin the night of others. #closedmindedpeoplewillnotprosper.”
Multiple employees involved in the incident have since been fired.
“We take this incident very seriously and after conducting a thorough, internal investigation have terminated the employees involved,” a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement. “Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
NBC News reported that two employees were fired, the service manager and the shift manager working that day.
“I’ve never in my entire life experienced something like,” Marcus Riley, another member of the group, told the Chicago Tribune. “To have my children go through that, it brought me to tears.”