Olive Garden Manager Fired For Accommodating Customer's Demand For A White Server

by Madison Vanderberg
MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty

Olive Garden manager fired after accommodating racist customer’s demand for a non-black server

A manager at an Olive Garden in Evansville, Indiana has been fired after she accommodated a customer who requested a white server. A white woman entered the Evansville Olive Garden on Saturday, February 29, 2020, and after making racist comments to the hostess, a black woman, she demanded a non-black server for her table, and the manager shockingly complied.

The situation came to light when a fellow diner saw the exchange and took to Facebook to bring awareness to the situation. He noted that the white customer (who appeared to be dining with a partner and children) specifically used the word “colored,” saying in part that she’ll “refuse service from a ‘colored’ server.”

“That couple should’ve been refused service for even asking something like that!!” Evansville local Maxwell Robbins shared online. “It’s disgusting that olive gardens manager would allow that especially with a very diverse staff.”

The news caught the attention of the local NAACP chapter, who worked with Olive Garden to investigate the situation. The two groups finished their investigation on Monday and Meagan Bernstein, a spokeswoman for Olive Garden, said the company has “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

“As a result of our investigation, we made the decision to separate with the manager involved,” Bernstein told NBC News. Though the manager that accommodated the racist request has been terminated, the damage was already done.

Amira Donahue, a hostess at the restaurant, told NBC News that when the white woman came into the restaurant, she “made comments about me to my co-workers concerning my race and saying that I should work at a strip club instead. She asked if I’m even black and if I am from here.”

According to Donahue, the racist customer reportedly “screamed” her demand for a non-black server at the manager until the manager complied. In Robbins’ now-viral Facebook post, he originally noted that he saw Donahue crying while she witnessed the incident.

“[Donahue] was in tears and had no one to support her,” Robbins originally wrote in his Facebook post (as excerpted by NBC News), before deleting it and updating it with the news of the manager’s termination. “So I felt if I didn’t write this post, nothing would have happened and she would continue to go to work for a place that she feels uncomfortable at and unwanted at.”

“It’s 2020, not 1920, we should be over this, something should have been done, it should take more than social media to get a problem like this out there,” Donahue told ABC affiliate WEHT WTVW.

WEHT added that the server involved in the incident isn’t emotionally ready to do an interview yet.