A manager at a St. Paul Chipotle was fired this week after a video went viral of employees refusing to serve five black men and asking them to prove they could pay before taking their order.
Masud Ali, 21, said he and friends were told they couldn’t be served Thursday night at the eatery on Grand Avenue and were accused of being customers from an earlier night who weren’t able to pay for their meal.
“It sounded really racist — the way she said it was racist,” Ali said Friday. “She asked for proof of income as if I’m getting a loan.”
In a statement, Chipotle said it conducted a “thorough investigation,” and talked with police officers who were called to the restaurant, as well as employees.
“Regarding what happened at the St. Paul restaurant, the manager thought these gentlemen were the same customers from Tuesday night who weren’t able to pay for their meal. Regardless, this is not how we treat our customers and as a result, the manager has been terminated and the restaurant [staff] has been retrained to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” the statement said.
The video, which includes language some may find objectionable, was posted to Twitter, and has been retweeted more than 20,000 times.
On Saturday, Chipotle clarified its policy and explained why it fired the manager: “We don’t ask customers to pay for their meals prior to making them in our restaurants. The manager should have made their food and withheld giving it to them until they paid for it.”
Ali said he didn’t appreciate being called a thief and questioned whether the firing or training would make a difference. “I’m disappointed in that whole crew for not stepping up and instead accusing us of something we haven’t done,” he said.