Chipotle is reconsidering firing a manager who refused to serve a group of African American men over concerns they would “dine and dash” after social media posts show the manager’s fears may not have been unfounded.
A St. Paul Chipotle made national headlines last week after employees refused to serve a group of five African American men, demanding the customers pay before they assemble their order.
“You gotta pay, because you’ve never had money when you come in here,” an employee, reportedly a manager for the branch, told the men.
“We’re not gonna make food unless you guys actually have money,” another employee added.
Masud Ali, one of the customers, posted a series of videos of the incident on Twitter, implying the incident was racially charged. In an interview with the Star Tribune, Ali said the manager “sounded really racist.”
— Masud Ali 🍑 (@Masudaliii) November 16, 2018
The incident went viral — as of Monday morning the initial video had over 7 million views.
In a statement released shortly after the incident, Chipotle said the manager thought the individuals were the same customers who weren’t able to pay for their meal earlier in the week. Despite this, Chipotle fired the employee and promised to retrain staff.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
However, in a subsequent interview with the Pioneer Press, a Chipotle spokesperson admitted the manager’s initial suspicions may have been correct — they couldn’t say with 100 percent certainty that Ali wasn’t involved in the “dine and dash” situation earlier in the week.
Now it appears Chipotle may have to walk back their initial decision to fire the manager, as social media posts emerge that show Ali talking about “dining and dashing.”
In tweets obtained by Fox News, Ali joked about how “dine and dash is forever interesting” and references Chipotle in one tweet saying he thinks they are “catchin up to us” and mentions changing locations.
“Aye man i think chipotle catchin up to us fam. should we change locations and yoooooo what should we do about the other thang,” read a since-deleted post on Ali’s account from 2016.
Another post, according to Fox News, read: “Guys we’re borrowing food… that’s it. And if the lady tries to stop you at the door don’t hesitate to truck the sh– out of that bi—.”
Screenshots of the tweets, which have since been deleted by Ali, can be viewed on Fox News’ website.
In a statement Sunday, Chipotle started to change its tune on the incident, saying the “additional information” will be investigated further and they will “re-hire if the facts warrant it.”
“Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident, including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager, and our employees,” the company said in a statement. “We now have additional information which needs to be investigated further. We want to do the right thing, so after further investigation we will re-train and re-hire if the facts warrant it.”
As of Sunday night, the employee had not been re-hired and a spokesperson for Chipotle told Fox News the incident is still being investigated.
As of Monday evening, the manager, Dominque Moran, was offered her job back. Chipotle issued a statement apologizing to the manager for “being put in this position.”
“While our normal protocol was not followed serving these customers, we publicly apologize to our manager for being put in this position,” the company said in a statement. “We will work to continue to ensure that we support a respectful workplace for our employees and our customers alike.”
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Moran said she was just trying to do the right thing by standing up for her team. According to the Star Tribune, Moran has not decided if she will return to her job at Chipotle.