Dining While Black: Restaurants Fess Up To The Ways They Discriminate

December 16, 2014  |  
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Have you seen the racist restaurant receipts making their rounds around the internet? They’re calling it Dining While Black and racial slurs on receipts are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re black and hungry in the United States, apparently these things can still happen to you.

Waiting Tables While Black

It’s what researchers are calling the results of their study that restaurant patrons tip black servers less than their white counterparts — even though they rate them higher in service.


There’s A Reason You Wait In Line So Long

And it could be because you’re black. Resto-bars like the Harvard & Stone bar in Hollywood have recently come under fire for only allowing one and a quarter black people in for every 25 white people.

Your Waitress Might Really Be Avoiding You

A recent study found that nearly 40% of the wait staff surveyed admitted to discriminating against black customers. That discrimination included making them wait longer for tables, refusing to be assigned to black diners’ tables and providing poorer service in anticipation of being tipped less.

You Can Still Call A Restaurant Sambo’s

It might just be America’s most racist restaurant. Once upon a time it had roughly 1200 locations in 47 states. But everyone who wasn’t pretty racist stopped patronizing the restaurants a few decades ago. Probably because of the nappy-haired, big-lipped grinning “Little Black Sambos” drawn all over the walls of the chain’s restaurants. But even after the NAACP stopped suing the chain, there’s still a Sambo’s in Santa Barbara California that’s been open since 1957. They’ll even let you buy a Sambo t-shirt for $23.75.


The Race Tax

It’s what researchers call the pay and hiring gap for workers of color. Non-white servers only get hired 73% as likely as white servers. And when they do get hired, they earn 44% less.


Sometimes Integration Is Mandatory

At least at Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge. When one customer asked if he could use the space for a public event, the owner asked what the ratio of “black people to white people” was. When the customer said all of his guests would be back, they closed to door to their lounge.


You’ll Have A Harder Time Eating Your Vegetables

If you live in a predominantly black neighborhood, that is. There there are six times as many fast food restaurants as you’ll find in predominantly white neighborhoods — and grocery stores are harder to find there too.


You’ll Find Most Minorities Working In The Back

Only 22% of minorities in the restaurant industry have visible, front-of-the-house job. Nearly 80% of restaurant workers of color work in lower-wage, less visible jobs in the back like dishwashers, bus boys and prep cooks. White servers hold 80% of managerial positions.

There Might Be No “Black” Clothing Allowed

Hulk Hogan’s Tampa restaurant recently came under fire for a dresscode that specifically bared “do-rags,” “baggy pants,” “jerseys,” high tops and backwards caps.

Thankfully after TMZ caught wind of Hulk Hogan’s restaurant’s racist sign, he took that down.

The Jokes Come Straight Out Of The 90s

These “How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant” t-shirts were part of South Carolina restaurant Taco Cid’s controversial ad campaign.

There Could Be Klan Memorabilia In The Back

At least that was the case at Sparx, a Wisconsin restaurant that was sued by a black employee when he was fired for complaining about the KKK depictions, noose and other racist images on the restaurant’s cooler.

The restaurant manager said it was a “joke.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued him for violating the Civil Rights Act.


Your Tip Might Be Under Scrutiny

Padi restaurant in Delaware recently came under fire after one employee repeatedly Instagrammed receipts with low or no tips with racist comments. No word on how that employee felt about white customers who under-tipped.

At Least One Restaurant isn’t racist anymore

2014 was also the end of an era. Paula Deen’s Uncle Bubba’s Seafood & Oyster House finally closed for good earlier this month. Only Paula didn’t tell any of her employees the news and they found out that the restaurant had closed after 10 years when they showed up to work to find an out-of-business sign.

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