Buffalo Wild Wings fires employees for asking black family to move for white couple

The company says it has apologized to the family for the restaurant employees' behavior.
Buffalo Wild Wings Exterior In Jacksonville
A black family says they were asked to move tables at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant because a white couple nearby felt uncomfortable.Rick Diamond / Getty Images

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/ Source: NBC News
By Ben Kesslen

Buffalo Wild Wings has fired two employees after a group of diners who were mostly African American were told to move tables because a white couple didn’t want to sit next to them.

Mary Vahl went to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville, Illinois, on Oct. 26 with a party of 18 people, who she described as “a group of minorities, mostly consisting of African Americans” in a now viral Facebook post.

As the host was setting up her party's table, Vahl says they were told a regular customer at a table of two said he didn’t want to be seated next to them because of their race. Vahl and her party sat at the table anyway.

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“We don’t give him the satisfaction and told the host we’ll sit where they set us up,” she wrote on Facebook.

After ordering a few things, Vahl and her party were told they had to switch tables. She said they refused.

“It was not ok that that a person of management was willing to move 6 adults and 12 children versus 2 grown adults who are uncomfortable sitting by black folks,” she wrote on Facebook.

After management made “excuses” for why their party had to switch tables, Vahl and the other diners she was with eventually left; they were all reportedly appalled by the way they were treated at the wing chain. They ended up dining at Hooters.

“In 2019, this type of behavior should not be accepted,” she wrote. “If you don’t want to sit next to certain people in a public restaurant then you should probably eat dinner in the comfort of your own home.”

In the wake of the incident, Buffalo Wild Wings says it fired both the service manager and shift manager working that day after investigating the incident, the company told NBC News.

“We take this incident very seriously and after conducting a thorough, internal investigation have terminated the employees involved,” the company spokesperson said. “Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

A spokesperson for the restaurant chain also said they have been in contact with Vahl and her family, and offered their “deepest apologies” for the behavior by their staff.

In her post, which now has over 5,000 shares, Vahl thanked the staff at Hooters for serving their group and "not being close-minded people that would ruin the night of others."