LA Restaurant Suspends 2 for Adding Tip to Black Couple’s Bill
I think we can all agree that the men and women that work as restaurant servers in our great state deserve all the tips they can get. Sure we've had a bad waiter or waitress from time to time, but overall we hardly have to wait for a drink refill or more chips and salsa.
That being said, what 2 Louisiana restaurant employees did to ensure a tip absolutely crossed a line. According to FOX News, 2 employees of Desi Vega’s Seafood and Prime Steaks in Metairie have been placed on unpaid suspension after they added an unauthorized gratuity to an African American couple's bill.
According to his Facebook post concerning the incident, James Washington said he and his wife were enjoying a date night at the popular restaurant on Saturday. The night seemed to be going great, but at the end of the meal he noticed that an "automatic gratuity" had been added to the bill. Washington says he thought that was odd because he was only aware of restaurants adding this kind of charge for large parties, not couples.
Washington asked to speak with the manager, who claimed that the fee was restaurant policy. When the couple asked a nearby white couple if a similar charge had been added to their bill, Washington says they replied "absolutely not." Washington confronted the manager who conceded that he had lied and adding the additional charge was not restaurant policy. According to Washington's Facebook post:
"In the grand scheme of things, a 20% gratuity is nothing. But it’s a small sample size of how some people look at African Americans and assume whatever they want to assume. The expedience of how the employee and the manager got together, conspired, and covered for each other makes matters worse."
Once word got to Desi Vega, the restaurant's owner, he immediately reached out to the couple in order to apologize for his employee's behavior. After meeting in person with the couple, he refunded their money and issued this formal and public apology:
"I would like to publicly apologize to Mr. & Mrs. Washington who did, in fact, improperly have an auto tip added to their bill by one of my employees at Desi Vega’s in Metairie. The fact that my staff tried to cover the situation up by lying about it makes it much worse. These two employees have been immediately suspended without pay, pending further review. Desi Vega’s stands firmly against discrimination or profiling of any kind."