Denny’s has been in the news many times over the years. This time, it’s for racial discrimination and the following lawsuit.
What practical lessons can your restaurant learn from this? In this lawsuit, an Illinois African American family sued the restaurant chain for racial discrimination and they won. The jury awarded the family $600,000.
Read closely to their claims:
- A white waiter deliberately ignored them
- Later, the waiter used racial slurs when the family finally did get service
One of the family members hopes that the award by the jury sends a message to the restaurant chain. But what about your restaurant?
Will you have to be hit with a $600,000 lawsuit before you learn these lessons?
Here are a few practical steps that you can start using immediately:
- Aim to have diversity in your work place by looking to hire staff of different races and backgrounds.
- When hiring waiters and waitresses use a psychological test to see if people are people oriented and friendly to all races and nationalities.
- Notice the interaction between the staff. Are there any prejudiced tendencies that need to be addressed?
- Hold staff meetings where role playing is done to help the staff to learn the right and the wrong way to interact with customers.
- Do you have a work culture where prejudiced comments, jokes, and stories are not tolerated?
- Do you provide diversification training in the work place that teaches showing respect and giving dignity to others?
Denny’s fired the employee after this incident. However, the damage was done already:
- Customers were humiliated and angered
- Denny’s had a big lawsuit to pay
- And is dealing with the reprecussions of the bad publicity including loss of business and additional lawsuits.
The idea is to think ahead. Sure, you have restaurant insurance that protects you from lawsuits. But do you really want it to come to that?
See the potential problems out there and come up with a plan to address them before they ever happen. Educate your staff about diversification and what you expect from each one of them. Make sure they understand what will not be tolerated. Then, lead by example.
QUESTION: How many of these Denny lessons will you apply this week in your restaurant?