At a Los Angeles Denny’s location back in 2014, a black couple was asked to prepay for their meal instead of paying the check after they finished eating (as is standard at the chain). Denny’s has just reached a mid-trial settlement of a CA lawsuit that stems from the incident.
According to Grub Street, Henry Williams and Renee Hebert went as far as to give the server who made the request $80 before asking that their food be packed up to go. As soon as the server took the deposit, reports say that management pretty quickly realized that they’d made a huge mistake. Manager Ali Rahman tried to return the $80, tried to offer free desert, and generally continued to apologize by bothering the couple until they took the food to go.
Williams and Hebert claimed that no one else in the restaurant was asked to prepay, a fact backed up by a customer sitting nearby, who testified in court about the incident: “They were black, I’m white, I’ve never been asked to prepay,” he told the jury, adding, “I thought it was appalling for someone in that year and time to be discriminated against like that.”
Denny’s corporate management and Rahman, the manager on duty, both claimed that it was a mistake, but still tried to explain their way out of racism by claiming the order was unusually large and that they had been dealing with a number of dine-and-dash issues, both entirely insufficient excuses for their blatant racism.
It’s unclear how much the couple won in the settlement, but it wasn’t the first time that Denny’s had to shell out some cash for treating black people poorly; in 1994, Denny’s had to pay out $54 million in damages after thousands of black customers claimed they were treated poorly or made to wait a ridiculously long time before being seated.
[via Grub Street]