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IHOP waitress asks black teens to pay before eating

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AUBURN, Maine — The IHOP pancake restaurant chain has responded to a waitress asking some black teenagers to pay upfront for their meal at a franchise in Maine by saying it has “zero tolerance” for discrimination.

IHOP President Darren Rebelez on Tuesday called the episode at a restaurant in Auburn an “isolated incident” and reiterated the restaurant is reaching out to the teenagers to apologize. He says “appropriate disciplinary actions” will be taken.

The Auburn location will be closed Thursday for training.

Local manager Melvin Escobar says the restaurant had had problems with teenagers walking out without paying. But he says the waitress’ actions were wrong. He says “this is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time.”

“IHOP and our franchisees strive to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflective of that commitment nor tolerated,” the company said in a statement Monday night. “The franchisee of this location is in the process of reaching out directly to the affected guests to apologize for an individual team member’s misguided actions as well as using this as an opportunity to underscore the values we uphold as a brand with his entire team.”


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