News Australasia

Sunday 18 March 2018

Waiter sacked and forced to apologise after black customer given receipt with racial slur

Rutendo Ruth Muchinguri posted this photograph of the receipt on social media Photo: Facebook
Rutendo Ruth Muchinguri posted this photograph of the receipt on social media Photo: Facebook

Narjas Zatat

A waiter at a celebrity restaurant has been fired after using a racial slur on a customer’s receipt.

Rutendo Ruth Muchinguri became aware of the issue after her “hard working black husband” Nicholas, had lunch with friends.

The Burger Project in Melbourne is owned by celebrity chef Neil Perry.

In a Facebook post Mrs Muchinguri wrote:  “Dear Burger Project, “My hard working black husband went to your Collins St store to have lunch with his friends and this is a photo of his receipt for the order.

“It is so disappointing that in a place where my husband spent his hard earned money, he received this sort of disgracefully discriminatory treatment. It’s exhausting that in 2017, in a modern and multicultural society some of your staff remain insensitive to the impact that this insidiously nasty and vile word has.

“Come on, you can do better. This is NOT OK. I guarantee you that we will not be spending our money at any Rockpool Group businesses. I want to know what you will do about this”.

Burger Project was swift in its response, and one day after the Facebook post went live, it wrote: “We are very concerned to learn about the unacceptable language used by an employee of our Burger Project St Collins Lane store today.

“Rockpool Dining Group is a caring and inclusive company. We have a clear policy of respect and care for our customers, staff and community.

“We do not condone this kind of behaviour from our staff, or accept this treatment of our customers. As soon as we became aware of the matter this afternoon, when we were contacted on the behalf of the customer, we acted: we reached out and apologised and the employee’s position was terminated.

“The employee’s behaviour was in breach of our code of conduct and such behaviour won’t be tolerated.

“We apologise profusely for the upset and hurt this has caused”.

Mrs Muchinguri expressed frustration with the restaurant’s initial response, claiming that it was “more concerned about its public image than the hurt caused”.

However, she thanked Neil Perry, for “calling Nicholas first thing” on Saturday morning to “offer an apology on behalf of the company”.

She wrote: “As we read through the numerous comments that condemn what happened, we were encouraged that the majority of people see how wrong and hurtful this situation is.

“It's concerning to see that there are some comments that perpetuate this type of prejudice and racism. We've come a long way but there is still more to do and more conversations to be had. It may be uncomfortable at times but it's during the tension of these situations where we can see real growth and change”.

The Burger Project did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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