A Black family and their friends joined together to celebrate a birthday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville. However, the event went south when the group was asked to move due to the color of their skin.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Justin Vahl and Marcus Riley said they visited the restaurant to celebrate a child’s birthday at about 8:30 p.m. on October 26.
Vahl explained he was the first to arrive, initially telling the host he needed a table for 15. After realizing he needed a few more chairs, he walked over to the staff setting up their arrangements and informed them he’d require more seats.
Upon his return to the waiting area, the host, a young Black man himself, asked Vahl, “What race are you?” To which Vahl responded, questioning why it mattered in the first place.
According to Vahl, the host then explained that one of the restaurant’s regular customers “doesn’t want black people sitting near him.”
Vahl then told the host to seat the party at the table regardless, saying, “I’m not going to let a customer dictate where we sit.”
Vahl revealed that a manager then approached the group shortly after having a conversation with the regular, and proceeded to tell them they needed to move because another party of 18 had reserved the tables. However, it’s reported the restaurant does not take reservations.
After multiple managers tried to get the group to move, Vahl said the adults decided it was time to leave, declaring they would not spend any money at the location.
Vahl’s wife Mary then took the incident to Facebook, which garnered a widespread response and backlash. In turn, Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson, Claire Kudlata, said in an email that Buffalo Wild Wings has zero-tolerance for discrimination.
“We take this alleged incident very seriously and are conducting a thorough internal investigation,” Kudlata wrote. “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.”
Since then, multiple employees at the location have been fired, according to the Washington Post; meanwhile, several others quit.