Buffalo Wild Wings Workers Fired Over Alleged Racist Seating Incident

"In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted"

WWJ News
November 04, 2019 - 11:12 am
Buffalo Wild Wings

(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Buffalo Wild Wings) FILE

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WWJ.AP) - At least two employees of a suburban Chicago Buffalo Wild Wings have been fired after a group of customers said they were asked to move to another table because of their skin color.

The Naperville Sun reports Buffalo Wild Wings spokeswoman Claire Kudlata said Sunday the company conducted a thorough internal investigation and "terminated the employees involved."

She said a service manager and shift manager at the restaurant, on 75th Street east of Route 59, had been let go. “Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Kudlata added in an email. 

Justin Vahl of Montgomery said he was at the restaurant with his wife, four other adults and 12 children after a youth basketball tournament to celebrate a child's birthday, the Naperville Sun reported.

As employees set up the tables to seat the group, a host asked Vahl about his ethnicity. When Vahl asked why it mattered, Vahl said the host explained that one of the restaurant’s regular customers seated nearby “doesn’t want black people sitting near him.”

Vahl said a manager later asked his group to move because a regular customer didn't want to sit near black people. They then left for another restaurant after several employees tried to move them.

Vahl’s wife, Mary, posted about her experience on Facebook, writing: "In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted because of certain views. 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 being given."

As of Monday morning, the post has garnered more than 4,900 shares and 3,800 comments.