- Buffalo Wild Wings has fired two employees and promised to conduct sensitivity training following an alleged racist incident last month at a Naperville, Illinois, restaurant, according to company statements.
- An employee reportedly asked a group of patrons to move to a different table because another customer didn't "want black people sitting near him," according to the Naperville Sun. When the group refused, a manager asked them to do so because another party had reserved their table — but the store didn't take reservations, a Sun reporter later confirmed. The group later left the restaurant after being asked by multiple managers to move, per the report.
- The company later banned the customer who made the request from its stores for life, fired the workers involved and promised sensitivity training. A follow-up statement by Buffalo Wild Wings President Lyle Tick also said the company would work with community leaders and officials to gather additional input. At a press conference Tuesday, the two men asked Buffalo Wild Wings to consider implementing additional screening procedures in its hiring process, among other changes, the Sun reported. Buffalo Wild Wings did not respond to a request from HR Dive for more information about the training.
Tick said Buffalo Wild Wings took "swift action" once it learned the facts of the situation, and the company appears to be borrowing in part from the playbook established by employers who've faced similar incidents, like Starbucks.
Starbucks drew attention for closing of all U.S. stores for a day of training after a 2018 incident in which a Philadelphia manager called local police, leading to the arrest of two black men who were waiting at the store to meet an acquaintance. For its training, the company elicited input from Starbucks executives, researchers and representatives of organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Starbucks' training drew both praise and criticism, with some commending the company for taking a stand on social issues as others wondered whether its gesture went far enough. Other companies have announced similar efforts since, including Sephora, which rolled out additional diversity and inclusion training "touchpoints" to its ongoing programming not long after an accusation by singer SZA that she was racially profiled at a Sephora store.
But diversity and inclusion work doesn't stop with training, experts previously told HR Dive. Employers can structure policies so that specific training points are reinforced on the job. Managers play a large role in preventing biases from customers, but most managers in a 2018 survey by West Monroe Partners said they receive little training.
It's also important for HR leaders to note that workers can be the victim of bias and discrimination on the job. A Deloitte survey released in June found that 64% of U.S. adults working full-time at large businesses had experienced bias in the workplace in the past year alone.