A local Applebee's restaurant in Independence, Missouri has officially shut down amid claims of racially profiling customers reports KSHB News.
The situation unfolded when three Applebee's employees accused Alexis Brison and her friend of eating and not paying the bill. Brison recorded the altercation and posted it on Facebook.
Brison's Facebook post said she was out getting dinner when a mall cop and the restaurant manager accused her of not paying for a chicken dinner the night before.
"Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal. After being mocked, humiliated, and embarrassed we were asked to pay for our food, leave, and not come back," she said.
Brison went on to say she was accused without any solid evidence.
"After leaving, calls were made to the restaurant and the manager stated that our accuser remembered that there was a SKINNY girl and a girl who wore MAKEUP. In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to? Our weight and whether or not we wore makeup. She could not recognize any facial features or any defining characteristics. This is a clear example of RACIAL PROFILING that should not be stood for," she ended.
Days after this incident, three employees were fired and now the entire restaurant has closed down. A spokesperson from Applebee's, Melissa Hariri, said in a statement, “The franchise has advised that the restaurant is permanently closed and employees have been offered positions at nearby restaurants.”
The Applebee's Headquarters released a statement saying:
“We recognize the hurt and pain caused by the recent incident at an Applebee’s restaurant in Independence, Mo. We very much regret this occurred and sincerely apologize to our guests and community. After an internal investigation and in-line with our values, the franchise terminated the manager, server and another employee involved in the incident. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry or harassment of any nature, and we have taken additional steps to close the restaurant at this time in order for the team there to regroup, reflect, learn and grow from this. We are reaching out to the guests involved to apologize directly. We know rebuilding trust with those affected by the incident will take time, and we look forward to finding resolution in the coming days.”
Teryn Johnson has worked at Applebee's for 30 years said, "I was told to come into work Thursday morning in uniform, I got there at 9:30 a.m. and noticed the big trucks were out there removing the sign. I knew that was a sign," Johnson said.
It is unclear if this incident alone is the reason for the closure. Simon Property Group, the mall owner, faces default on a $200 million loan for the property, and the mall is scheduled for a closure this week, according to the Kansas City Star.