Article: “Restaurants refuse service over guide dogs” (Apr.2006)

"According to Lee County Sheriff's reports, a restaurant employee told Jorgenson he could not be there with the 80-pound yellow Labrador and told him to leave. Jorgenson met with a deputy that night and filed a criminal complaint nearly two weeks later April 18.

"They were concerned about health violations, but it's a Seeing Eye dog, so where the owner goes, the dog goes," said sheriff's spokesman Angelo Vaughn.

"You feel like a second-class citizen, really," Jorgenson said Thursday. "It's really a form of discrimination."

Florida law allows guide dogs to be granted access anywhere the public is allowed, including restaurants, public transportation and shopping malls. Violating the law is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in county jail or six months probation and a $500 fine.

Guide dog access is also protected by federal laws stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act" Read the rest of this entry »


Article: “Applebee’s Fires Two After Blacks Complain” (Apr.2006)


"CARTERSVILLE — An Applebee's restaurant in Bartow County fired two employees after African-Americans accused the business of discrimination, the manager said Saturday.

Three blacks complained of poor service at the restaurant over a four-day period."

link: "Applebee's Fires Two After Blacks Complain" by Tara Jones ( Apr.1, 2006)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system helps facilitate communications between the waitstaff and its guests. In a restaurant with conditions such as the above, if a customer's signals for assistance using WaiterBell are ignored, then it is clear to the customer that they are being denied service. The WaiterBell system will also help others on the waitstaff, as well as the manager, recognize if there is a pattern to the service gaps which calls for further investigation.

Article: “Senior moment: Chains forget older customers” (Jul. 2002)


"Representing an untapped gold mine for restaurant and hotel businesses, those nearly 50 million middle-aged consumers and workers currently make up about a fifth of the nation's population and represent more than half of its discretionary purchasing power."

"Foodservice operators received "very poor" customer service grades from older guests in the university-sponsored USA Today study.

"A majority of the mature respondents consider themselves occasionally mistreated in restaurants," the researchers explained in the report. "For example, some of them felt rushed to finish eating so others could have the table. They also felt restaurant employees did not care about them." 

"Ironically, casual-dining chains, the growth horse of the restaurant industry, received the poorest marks for customer service to older guests. Inattentive servers, lack of product knowledge to address specific questions and slow service were common complaints among older restaurantgoers who eat in casual-dining establishments. Fastfood and fine-dining operations tended to generate more "satisfied" comments than casual dining, the report said."

link: "Senior moment: Chains forget older customers; study: mature workers fare no better – Statistical Data Included" by Milford Prewitt (Nation Restaurant News, Jul. 8, 2002)

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system would help restaurants address service issues highlighted in this article. The system helps empower all customers to help enhance their dining experience and prevent service gaps from developing.

Article: “Study shows blacks tip less — but they may have good reason” (Mar.2006)

"Poor tips, Lynn says, may contribute to black diners getting poorer service and to companies' reluctance to open restaurants in predominantly black communities, not to mention angering servers and customers alike. And it fuels yet another debate about tipping, always a hot-button topic for travelers.

Lynn doesn't discount the role of anti-black bias in any of these problems. But he mainly sees this cycle at work:

Expecting skimpy gratuities, waiters resist serving African Americans, or they provide poorer service, which discourages blacks from patronizing table-service restaurants. Low tips also make it hard for restaurants in black neighborhoods to attract and retain staff, causing turnover and decreasing profits.

Gerry Fernandez, president of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit group in Providence, R.I., that promotes diversity, finds merit in Lynn's findings.

Some African Americans may be "extremely sensitive" about service glitches, he said, such as getting their food late, after other tables are served, or being seated in the back. Such actions, whatever their intent, may be perceived as racial slights.

"Remember the back of the bus?" he said.

In addition, poor service motivated by bigotry may occur "way more than anybody wants to admit," Fernandez said."

link: "Study shows blacks tip less — but they may have good reason" by Jane Engle (Los Angeles Times, Mar.26, 2006) 
link: "Race Differences in Tipping: Questions and Answers for the Restaurant Industry" by Michael Lynn, Ph.D. (study cited in the article ) / news release about the study

excerpt from news release:
"Fernandez notes particularly that restaurants need to examine service issues from a minority perspective. He stated: “whether you agree with the research or not, black customers are not always receiving the service they deserve, therefore any effort focused on improving customer service should be supported by the hospitality industry.”

WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system empowers customers to discreetly, but clearly, signal for assistance. The WaiterBell system prevents any kind of misunderstanding about a customer's need for table service and ensures quality responsive service for all diners. This can help a restaurant franchise prevent any questionable incidents of poor service.