Texas Restaurant Charges HBCU Students Extra After Server Says Black Students 'Don't Tip'
A server told Brittany Blakney and her friends, ‘Black students from Prairie View don’t tip.’
Houston restaurant Locatelli’s is feeling the heat after one of its servers told Black patrons that students at a local university "don't tip" as an explanation for why he added an arbitrary 15 percent gratuity charge to their dinner bill.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
To add insult to injury, they forced the six Black students to leave the restaurant.
Brittany Blakney, a student at Prairie View A&M University, was celebrating her graduation on Thursday when their server notified her table that he would be adding a 15 percent gratuity charge.
When Blakney and her friends politely asked why, he openly told them it was because they were Black.
“Basically he said, ‘Black students from Prairie View don’t tip,’” she told KPRC Houston.
“It was really shocking because I had never experienced anything like that before.”
Blakney asked to speak to the general manager, Kerrie Salazar, who immediately got angry and threatened to call the police on the students.
Salazar defended the server who added the charge to their bill to local news outlet KPRC Houston, but admitted that the restaurant only applied the charge for certain customers.
In a later interview, Salazar justified her actions by claiming Blakney "graduated as an engineer and makes twice as much as I do."
She first said the incident had nothing to do with race, but when pressed said she and the server "anticipated" Blakney and her friends would not tip and got preemptively angry about it.
The 15% gratuity for groups is a rule on the books according to Salazar, but they often to do not enforce it.
Salazar complicated things even further by explicitly mentioning the gratuity charge. According to the IRS, if the restaurant wanted to use the gratuity charge to make up for tips, they have to report that on their taxes, which it is unclear if they do.
Lmfaooooooooo it’s crazy cuz if I’m remembering correctly I went to Locatellis and the woman in the picture actually had an attitude while serving me 💀 https://t.co/9iChpsV62L— Angie💋 (@Angiebriana_) June 14, 2019
Blakney added that Salazar's response to the situation was strange and excessive.
“It was definitely embarrassing because she even threatened to call the police. Nobody was belligerent. Nobody was loud…cursing at her…anything,” she told KPRC Houston.
Sensing she was in the wrong, Salazar said the restaurant wanted to invite Blakney and her friends back to the restaurant "as an olive branch."