ST. PAUL - Chipotle has offered to rehire a St. Paul manager who was fired following a wave of social media outrage over her refusing to serve a group of young black men, whom employees accused of being repeat dine-and-dashers.
The manager was fired Saturday after one of the men on Thursday posted a video on Twitter of the group’s visit to a Grand Avenue Chipotle restaurant, which resulted in millions of views and instant condemnation.
The manager, when contacted by the Pioneer Press, referred the inquiry to her attorney.
On Monday, the company released a written statement to the Pioneer Press saying it reviewed evidence of the visit and offered the manager her job back.
“While our normal protocol was not followed serving these customers, we publicly apologize to our manager for being put in this position,” said the statement from Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief communications officer.
“Our policy is to treat our customers and employees fairly and with respect at all times and under any circumstances. We will work with all our restaurant teams to ensure they are prepared to handle situations of this kind and know they have our full support. We are committed to doing the right thing and acting in a manner consistent with a thoughtful, fact-driven approach.”
When Chipotle announced the manager’s firing Saturday, the company said it was “committed to treating all of our customers fairly and with respect,” and added that despite the manager believing the men had left the restaurant without paying in the past, “this is not how we treat our customers and as a result, the manager has been terminated and the restaurant is being retrained to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
But on Sunday, Chipotle said it was reconsidering its action, saying it received “additional information which needs to be investigated further.”
“We want to do the right thing,” Chipotle said, “so after further investigation, we will re-train and re-hire if the facts warrant it.”
The company did not clarify what type of training would be warranted, nor did it offer information beyond its written statements. It also said it had been aware of some tweets by the man who posted the video — in which he appeared to be discussing dining and dashing — before the decision to fire the manager had been made.
“Our actions were based on the facts known to us immediately after the incident, including video footage, social media posts and conversations with the customer, manager, and our employees,” Schalow said Sunday in an email.
The posted video begins with an employee telling the men, “You gotta pay, because you’ve never had money when you come in here.”
“Y’all are basically stereotyping us,” one of the men replies.
Eventually, one of the restaurant’s employees called the police.
On Sunday, media outlets published images of several older Twitter posts from the man who had posted the video, 21-year-old Masud Ali, in which he appeared to discuss dining and dashing.
Efforts to reach Ali for comment have been unsuccessful.
In one post from July 2015, he tweeted: “Dine and dash is forever interesting.”
In another 2015 tweet, Ali wrote: “Guys we’re borrowing food … that’s it and if the lady tires (sic) to stop you at the door don’t hesitate to truck the s— out of that b—-.”
In January 2016, he tweeted: “aye man I think Chipotle catching up to us fam … should we change locations…”