Controversial restaurant practice revealed

March 19, 2008 6:01:19 PM PDT
What if every time you got a restaurant bill, it included a physical description of you written by your server?

Does that sound crazy? Well, that's exactly what happened to one patron of the Wild Wing Cafe located in Raleigh's Brier Creek.

Her bill had "3 black chicks" written on it.

Eyewitness News investigated the incident and found out the practice is more common than you might think.

"We go there every Thursday to eat, watch TV, watch whatever game is on," customer Tamara McKellar said. "The people there are awesome. It's an excellent restaurant."

At least that's ho she felt before her last visit to Wild Wing Cafe.

During that trip, she ate standing at the bar with two female friends. When she was finished, she was given her bill and couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the notation, "3 black chicks."

"All of it rattles me," McKellar said. "I don't know exactly how I feel, I just know it makes me uneasy. And I know it happens and it's around, but it's just not right."

Eyewitness News spoke with a number of people in the restaurant business, including bartenders who say it is not uncommon to use physical descriptions of customers -- especially when they're not at a specifically numbered table but at a bar.

But Wild Wing Cafe says that completely against its policy.

The general manager said McKellar was not charged for her meal and was issued an immediate apology. The bartender in question was fired.

"I feel bad that they guy lost his job, but, I mean, he did do something wrong," McKellar said. "And hopefully he'll be able to find something."

McKellar says she's satisfied with the restaurant's action, but she just keeps looking at the receipt and shaking her head.

She feels that maybe she's been a little sheltered to race and gender profiling. She credits some of the success in her life to Latino foster parent and the mentoring of a white volunteer in the big sister program.

"I know things like this happen all the time and it's a common practice, but it's never happened to me," McKellar said. And I just, I mean, I love everybody. I don't know. I just don't want it to happen to anybody."

As far as Wild Wing Cafe, McKellar says if she get a call from the general manager, she may consider going back.

The general manager told Eyewitness News she will get her wish.


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