METAIRIE, La. — The owner of a popular restaurant is apologizing after two employees allegedly discriminated against a black couple eating dinner.
The couple says the waiter at Desi Vega’s added a 20% tip to the bill.
The restaurant has suspended the waiter and manager.
On Saturday, James Washington and his wife ate at the restaurant and immediately raised questions when they saw a 20% tip added to their bill before they paid.
The couple believes they were racially profiled and now, they’re hoping their viral social media post will spark change.
Washington has worked in the restaurant industry. When he saw the bill, the added tip was a red flag.
Washington called the server over and asked if the 20% tip for the couple is added to every customer’s bill. The server allegedly told Washington yes.
A skeptical Washington didn’t believe him.
From his table, he called Desi Vega’s and asked the hostess for the gratuity policy. She didn’t know, but the manager allegedly said “We add 20% to every single bill.”
Washington believe he and his wife were singled out because they’re black.
Multiple people, including a white couple who just paid for their bill said they have never heard of the tip policy.
The manager eventually admitted to Washington that he had lied and was covering for the waiter.
Desi Vega posted an apology on Facebook.
Vega said the fact that “his staff tried to cover up the situation by lying makes it so much worse.” Vega said his restaurant stands firmly against profiling and discrimination of any kind.
Vega met with the couple and discussed how his restaurants will post policies for employees in regards to tipping and how they will institute training for racial bias and sensitivity.
Washington and his wife call Vega’s apology ‘genuine.’
The couple did not request for the employees to be fired because they believe it is not their call to make. The couple did say their post was an effort to bring awareness and positive change.