A group of black customers celebrating a family member’s birthday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville, Illinois were allegedly asked to move to another table after a fellow patron said they “didn’t want to sit next to black people.”
Two members of the group that was asked to move, Justin Vahl and Marcus Riley, said they were at the Naperville branch on October 26th to celebrate a child’s birthday party.
Vahl claims a staff member at the restaurant questioned him about his ethnicity and later sent a manager to their table to ask them to move to accommodate the racist patron seated nearby.
In a statement to the Chicago Times, Claire Kudlata, Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson, insisted that Buffalo Wild Wings does not encourage or tolerate racism.
“We take this alleged incident very seriously and are conducting a thorough, internal investigation. We’re in direct communication with the guest to understand their account of what happened and to offer our deepest apologies for any unacceptable behavior.”
Vahl told the publication that this was the worst case of racism he’s ever experienced, and it was made worse by the fact that his 5- and 9-year-old children were there to see it.
While employees were setting up tables for the 15 guests, Vahl realized that he miscounted the number of people who would be coming and asked for three more chairs. It was at that point that the host asked him his race, and when Vahl questioned the employee on why that mattered, he was told that there was a regular customer seated nearby their table who “doesn’t want black people sitting near him.”
Vahl refused to be moved to accommodate a racist patron and insisted on taking the party’s original tables.
However, shortly after everyone arrived, the manager at the Buffalo Wild Wings branch came to the table and told them to move because the area was needed by a different party of 18 people. This happened after Vahl saw the manager speaking with the racist patrons in question.
After several requests from the management to move, the party eventually decided to leave the establishment and have dinner somewhere else.
Since then, a number of employees at the Naperville branch have been fired, while the company says that others have quit.