Accusations of Racism at NY Restaurant (Participation)

Published December 2, 2014 by djlwsu

Why César Ramirez Needs to Address the Claims of Racism at Brooklyn Fare

By 

A lawsuit filed yesterday in United States District Court by five former workers at the original Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare stands to sink the reputation of the lauded restaurant and its soon-to-open Manhattan counterpart. The plaintiffs are being represented by Maimon Kirschenbaum, the same lawyer who has carved out a name for himself over the last decade going after Le CirqueLe BernardinDanielBouley, and Babbo in wage-dispute lawsuits.

With its three Michelin stars and past accusations of Ramirez’s allegedly mercurial behavior, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare certainly fits the profile of the kind of restaurant that would draw Kirschenbaum’s attention, even though anyone who’s been to the restaurant knows that the operation is spartan and service is conducted by just a handful of employees. The former sous chef, prep cook, back server, and two servers who say they were underpaid would seem to represent a proportionally large number of staff members.

But while most of Kirschenbaum’s suits focus on finances, this latest one includes more troubling allegations leveled by Emi Howard, an Asian-American server, against chef César Ramirez. Howard claims that Ramirez was racist toward Asian customers — and, strangely, “Upper West Siders” — making particular demands and treating them differently. Here’s a passage from the lawsuit:

36. Defendant Ramirez routinely referred to Asian customers as “shit people.”

37. Defendant Ramirez many times instructed Ms. Howard not to place “shit people,” i.e., Asian customers, at the parts of the kitchen counter that were closest in proximity to his own place, the center.

38. When a large piece of meat was cut into many pieces for the guests, Defendant Ramirez instructed Ms. Howard to give the worst pieces of meat to the “shit people,” i.e., Asian people, and to “Upper West Siders.”

Brooklyn Fare owner Moe Issa responded with a statement that reads, in part, “We pride ourselves on the diversity of our staff,” and, “we welcome everyone who comes through our doors.”

As is typical in cases like this, it’s a case of dueling accounts — a situation that Kirschenbaum relies on. Industry advocates and restaurateurs say the lawyer’s M.O. is now practically a template for a financially devastating nightmare: Announce a new suit with a press release — this one (which he sent to Grub) was billed as “Explosive” — then add-on any additional plaintiffs who come forward. As things drag on, it becomes clear that the prime option for restaurateurs is often to simply settle out of court and make it go away. This brings up an adjunct issue Grub Street pointed out last year: “Are the restaurants being sued really doing anything illegal, or has Kirschenbaum identified a legal gray area that he can exploit?”

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to “settle” charges of alleged racism. Ramirez, who is notoriously private to begin with, told the Post last night that he had no comment on the claims. The problem is that as a result, only one side of the story is being told — with flamboyant headlines that are sure to stick in diners’ minds. (As you might expect, the Post’s headline plays down the fact that these are allegations: “Chef at ritzy eatery served the worst meat to Asians: suit.”)

For all we know, this might very well be the case. Then again, it might not. Ramirez shouldn’t opt to sit silently while the media speculates — he needs to address these claims for the sake of both his restaurant and his own reputation.

Lawsuit [PDF]

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50 comments on “Accusations of Racism at NY Restaurant (Participation)

  • There is a lot that goes into restaurants that many people don’t think about. When I go to a restaurant, all I think about is how my service is and the quality of the food. A big part of the quality of the food goes with the speed it comes as well. What I do not think about, and I’m sure many others don’t either, is how we are perceived by the people serving us. The people in the back may have a problem with us and can do things to our food that we would have no idea. It seems like racism has been accepted in this case as the cook has been so open about his hate for some races yet still has a job and has not been confronted until now. Racism can be found past just the servers or diners, it is found in the back as well.

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    • Chad,

      I most agree by the fact that when I go to a restaurant I don’t take into consideration of what may be going on in the kitchen. I sit down and as soon as I get impatient all I do is complain about how long it’s been and how slow my server is. For example Monday in the evening I went to Applebees in Moscow and our waiter right off the bat seemed annoyed. We ordered our food but when our appetizers arrives we got bone in wings instead of bone out. We asked politely but her frustration got the best of her and she replied “No, that is NOT what you ordered”. She took the food and brought back our “new” request but I couldn’t help to wonder if the waiter or the cook did something to our food out of frustration or revenge. Just like we think things about our waiters, they have their personal opinions.

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  • This is very true. Before I worked in a restaurant I never thought about how underpaid many people were or how they were being treated. But after I got my job and quit it I started to think to myself things like, “Maybe they had a bad day”, “what if there sick but cannot have a sick day”. I start to think about how I am treating them, and thats how it should be. I would any other person feel if they were getting underpaid and constantly worrying about how they are going to make it through the day.

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    • I completely agree,

      I feel like it’s easier to relate and think outside of this little constructed box when one experiences working at a restaurant. People are self centered sometimes and I’m guilty of this too at times but I too have worked at a restaurant and it’s never as pretty in the back as it is in the front.

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  • Yes, People do not think about what goes into restaurants at all, they just look at it from the outside point of view most of the time and think things like: Am I getting good service? Is the food good? Is the restaurant clean? You never know who is having a bad day or what is going on in their life and they are just trying to make money and support themselves and maybe their families. I used to never think about the waiters and waitresses and the staff that is working in the restaurants they are human beings too and have lives too. I can’t believe that the cook has been working in many kitchens and has been a cook for so many years and has just got in trouble now and caught. Its really crazy that racism is everywhere and anywhere even today. I mean it is not a surprise but its just saddening that people are like the way they are.

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  • Like others that commented on this, I never went into a restaurant thinking about how the employees are being treated and how they treat the customers that walk in. It was always simply about how fast I got my food and if it tasted good. There has, however, been a saying in our family that directly applies to this. We are from western Washington and whenever we were over on the east side of the state and would go out to eat we would always say “Oh yeah they know we are from western Washington they are going to spit in our food.” Unfortunately, this “joke” is a very serious issue that’s been popping up in restaurants all over America, similar to the court case in this article. The crappy thing about it is that it’s not like the boss is underpaying their employees & can be simply settled in court. The courts can’t settle it easily. With Ramirez, he is not commenting on it which should be even easier for the courts to settle the case, only being able to use the side which mentions racist remarks.

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  • It wasn’t until recently that i noticed the problems that lie within restraurants that nobody realizes and this article reassures me of those problems. When a worker like Ramirez is racist towards other people, it doesn’t go noticed right away when he treated customers differently that he serves that are Asian customers or “Upper-West Sidders”. Its frustrating that its puts customers in a position to be impacted by his racial actions without even knowing it. The fact that he was very open about his racism and was able to slide with it for a good period of time is something that needs to be put to an end. This article does a good job putting out an eye for this for other workers across America and can hopefully have a positive impact to this particular problem.

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  • I never gave much thought about what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant until I started working for one myself. However, my experience has been quite the opposite than what we have discussed. I work for a semi-large restaurant chain that prides itself on quality food, quality service, and truly becoming an asset to it’s local community. Being paid ridiculously low wages, or racism like what occurs in this article, is never something I have experienced. I have been surprised and shocked, yet not disbelieving, of the things I have learned that are going on in countless other restaurants besides my own and have been very interested in learning about this discrepancy. I think its really empowering that this specific restaurant is taking a stand against the racism it’s head chef is inflicting against Asian American’s. It also will help open the door for more and more underpaid restaurant workers to take a stand for themselves as well.

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  • The sad thing is, Ramirez will most likely come out of this lawsuit victorious. The disturbing trend over the past few years in similar situations that include numerous racial implications have gone in favor of the defendant more than the plaintiff and it doesn’t seem like this lawsuit will be much different. Considering the fact that Ramirez is also a very private man, especially with the media, suggests he is guilty, but there’s no real way to prove this if he doesn’t confess himself. When I sit in a restaurant, I never think about what’s going on in the kitchens unless they’re taking too long on my food. To think that certain portions of food are being selected for different races is unacceptable and absurdly racist but is it criminal? I really hope Ramirez is successfully sued and the plaintiffs can get what they deserve but I really don’t know if there is enough concrete evidence behind their claims to win.

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  • I agree with what Sean says- Ramirez should absolutely be found guilty for being racist and it isn’t right to treat people that way at all, but in the end, is it actually a crime? Is there enough evidence to prove that not only are his workers being discriminated against, but his customers and so on. It’s really disgraceful that at this day in age the color of your skin still makes a difference as to how you are treated but it especially disgusts me how often it’s taking place in the professional business world. Giving Asians the bad part of meat is like a banker doing a loan with an Asian and only giving him 75% of the loan he promised to give him- it’s just not fair. Up until we started reading and talking about this issue in class I never even realized there was an issue like this- but now I’m paying close attention to it in restaurants and I’m noticing just how many white waiters and waitresses there are and how many minorities work in the kitchens when you walk by them.

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  • I strongly agree with the comment earlier. I believe no one walks into a restaurant with this thought of how my food is being prepared and how are the conditions of the staff. I think like so many people in our society we base our opinion on the quality of the food and that alone. For my personal experience when I walk into an upscale restaurant I already have this idea that the food is going to be amazing. Once the food exceeds my expectation I believe that everything about this restaurant is also just amazing like the quality of how the workers are treated. I believe the only way to get past this mindset is if society brings more attention to the unfair treatment of these workers. If not, people will continue to be oblivious to what is really happening.

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  • I agree with the previous comment. Previously when I used to walk into restaurants my main focus would be the vibe of the environment, how it looked, and how good the food was. If i thought all of those categories exceeded my expectations I always automatically assumed it would be a fantastic place for anyone to work ! Now that I know the realities of the restaurant business I can spot out the things we have been discussing in class, sometimes it is absolutely sickening. I am sure the majority of restaurant goers have the same outlook as I did before the realities were put in front of us. I think the only way we are going to be able to change this for the better is keep talking about it, make people more aware. Otherwise this is going to be just a continuous downwards spiral of poor treatment.

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  • Not until this course did I really think about and consider what goes on behind kitchen doors. This article shows that what goes on “behind the kitchen door,” can also happen throughout the whole restaurant. It doesn’t surprise me that this kind of ignorance is still taking place. “Chef at ritzy eatery served the worst meat to Asians: suit,” this headline downplays the situation as if the people filing these claims are being dramatic, as if this kind of ignorance does not matter and does not mean anything. This is exactly why people think it is okay to openly voice and act on their prejudiced views. Kind of makes me wonder if I have ever been a victim of this kind of treatment. Since I am a woman of color, have I ever been given the unwanted scraps? Something this article has made me think about. What makes it even worst if that these people will never know, just like I won’t. Although this is being brushed off, this article is bringing awareness and forcing conversation.

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  • It is interesting that Mr. Ramirez would give the worse meat to such specific groups; not just Asians but “Upper West Siders”. The details of the accusations make Ms. Howard’s side of the story seem pretty valid, especially since Mr. Ramirez declined to comment. While it is not right for him to want to give the short end of the stick to these specific customers, unfortunately nothing he did or said really seems like something that could get him in legal trouble, because he is not refusing service to anybody because of their race or anything. It is good, however, that his actions are coming out to the public so that it will force him to do something to fix his behavior or him and his restaurant’s reputation will be destroyed. Even though I don’t think Mr. Ramirez could face any serious punishment for his actions, it is not right what he was doing to customers and he deserves to be publicly embarrassed by the story coming out.

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  • I believe there are many case of discrimination in restaurant. I was wondering how difficulty it is to work on restaurant. All we care as costumer is quality of service and quality of food. Myself as a costumer, when I go to restaurant I only think about food and comfortable place. In back of restaurant we do not see owner discrimination and unequal treat against minority people. Race and ethicist doesn’t matter when come to equal wage and economic opportunity. In this case Ramirez is guilty of refereeing Asian American “shit people” and should be prosecuted within law of discrimination. Our Restaurant process unequally to people of different background for example, “ Ramirez instructed Ms. Howard to give the worst pieces of meat to “ shit people”(Asian-American).

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  • Going out to dinner with my family is always an event. My parents love having conversations with our servers, and more often than not, most of our time at dinner is spent sharing stories and telling jokes back and forth with our waiters. While it can be quite embarrassing to be associated with some of the things my parents talk about, I am even more embarrassed for those families who hardly acknowledge their waiters in the first place. It’s a sign of disrespect, and says a lot about their character. Whether they are of an ethnicity other than white or not, I think it is easier for waiters to discriminate against guests like that. We don’t see what goes on in the back of a restaurant, which means that the waiters could be talking with the cooks about how terrible some of their tables are, and the cooks could easily be more careless with that group of peoples food just like the example of giving the Asians the lower quality pieces of meat. I think its important for people to hear about the lawsuits against Ramirez, and realize the discrimination in the restaurant business is more common than we think. I also think its imperative that the restaurant workers are fighting discrimination within their own restaurant, and I hope that other restaurant workers would step up and take action against discrimination in their own workplaces now that progress is being made in the Ramirez case.

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  • I would not like to go to a restaurant where the chef has bias against certain races and I am sure many others would not like to either even if they are not directly affected by the chef’s choices. Even though, his views are interesting not much can be done from a legal perspective. I think the suit was more to raise awareness of his actions. Surely there will be repercussions, whether it be the loss of his job or decrease in business because of bad reputation. Just another one of the many issues with the restaurant industry.

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  • Being a former hostess, I know it is true that restaurant workers get paid little money. My mom also used to own a restaurant and she told me that restaurants actually have the right to pay a little under minimum wage (well at least when she owned a restaurant). I personally worked in a very open and friendly restaurant that accepted and treated everyone as equals. I can see how some restaurants struggle with issues of race and don’t treat their employees as good as they probably should. This particular case I believe is a little extreme. It is not acceptable to serve poor quality food to certain races and talk trash about them behind their backs. It is very unprofessional as well as, to be completely frank, messed up. Restaurants should treat costumers with the utmost respect, after all, they are the ones who pay their bills.

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  • It has not been very often that I have thought about where my food is coming from or how it gets to my table. It was not something that would catch my attention and most likely because of the fact that I have no first hand experience in working “behind the kitchen” so I would not know what kind of things happen back there. My main concern typically on most dates with my girlfriend was how the service provided to us was and how we were treated. On occasion I would tip our waiter but that solely depended on how the service was and how long our food took to be brought to our table, never really paying attention to the process it took to getting the food on our table. But now that i have learned quite a bit of how much racism there can be in the kitchen I believe its important to always have the up most respect for my waitress/waiter just like it is also important for the restarunt to provide its best service to me. And something that I find more important is for employees to step up and speak is one of their co-workers is doing racist acts on a customers food because that is unfair to the person receiving it. No matter the reason behind it, it is not justifiable especially for racist reasons.

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  • At this point, it appears as though the only thing against Ramirez are allegations. The fact that he won’t comment on the allegations seem to suggest that they are true, but obviously he has the right to not comment on the matter. If the allegations are true, hopefully he will be found guilty and punished. It is a shame to think that some restaurants still treat customers differently based on race, and even purposely serve them lower quality food. At the very least, if he gets off with no charges against him, hopefully the bad publicity will negatively impact the success of his restaurant.

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  • Working around someone who is bluntly racist and is clearly serving different races with lower quality food should not be tolerated in any sort of restaurant or work environment in general. It is your job to serve who ever walks into the restaurant with equal quality however they make look or whatever racial background they are. Although I do agree with most of my classmates, it is hard to prove Ramirez guilty even with all the allegations if he refuses to own up to his racial comments. But, who would own up to their racist ways in a public court system? Not very many people, and that is the big issue here. Ramirez can’t get let off the hook so easily, if it is clear from multiple workers of his racist remarks and that he is lowering his quality of cooking it seems like a no brainer he just be fired no matter that outcome of the lawsuit and hopefully that will let Ramirez learn there are serious consequences for being racist towards any human.

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  • I would say I never really ever thought about how workers were being treated at restaurants it just never really hit me. Like I wouldn’t feel safe at a restaurant where the boss or chef is against different races because that could play into how your food is made how long it takes to get made, what’s goes inside your etc it’s just not an safe feeling. Most people don’t think about that usually they just worry about servicing and the food for the most part we overlook the conditions of what’s happening behind the scenes of the restaurant workers. If it was me I wouldn’t care who worked for me long as you making me good money and your getting paid a fair share it would be no problems long as we both getting our jobs done. I would Ramirez should be trailed and found guilty for being racist because them people never did anything to him he just has in is mind that people of other racist should be under him and treated differently when it shouldn’t .

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  • After discussions in class and readings from the course, i am no longer surprise that restaurant worker were treated that way. Frankly speaking, I am glad that I took this course as I learned that there were more untold stories that I should be aware off despite the innocent looking of things might be. In this case for instance, it does not surprise me that much since some worker even forced to overworked to a point where could endanger themselves and people around them. However, this did not meant that I do not care about what covered in this article. This simply means that discrimination could happen anywhere and anytime without any subtle indication. No matter when or towards who, it should be dealt and taken care off the right way

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  • Working in Restaurants for many years has allowed me to understand the complications and issues that come up within the kitchen. It is not uncommon that restaurant employees will hold certain grudges against particular employees due to stereotypes common amongst the food-service culture. When working in Bellevue the discrepancy I repeatedly heard about was the disdain for elderly and wealthy Bellevue women who’s love for picking apart restaurant quality and servers was matched by none other.

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  • I never really think about the things that people could do to my food because when I go to a restaurant I always am extremely polite to the waiter. Although I have not though about even though you are nice to them, the kitchen staff could have a different opinion about you. Now that I think about it I often ask for my meal to be changed in some way from what the menu says, this could be annoying to the kitchen staff and make them mad. Which in result they could mess with my food in some way. I believe that this happens a lot because a few years ago I was watching the news. There was a man who was talking about a book that he wrote about what some people would do to their customers food, sometimes for no reason at all. I think this discrimination toward people should be stopped because this could result in some real harm if they are not carful.

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  • Before taking CES 101, I had never really given any thought to the working conditions that go on in the back of the restaurant. Typically, I had just been concerned with the restaurant being clean and sanitary. But, when I was younger, I used to watch Restaurant Impossible with Chef Robert Irvine. He opened my eyes to how unsanitary and dirty restaurants can become if they are not properly cleaned daily or weekly. Irvine also opened my eyes to the owners of the restaurants, some of the owners just open up a restaurant without prior experience in the restaurant industry. For a few years due to Restaurant Impossible, I was interested in how clean the restaurant was, if the chairs/booths were kept in good condition and the management of the restaurant. More recently, I have just been concerned with how long it took to be seated, how long it took once the food was ordered to get to the table and how good of service the waiter/waitress gave. Now, I am starting to realize the racial discrimination and disparity within restaurants. People of color are almost always working in the back of the restaurant, there are some situations that whites work in the back, such as white teenagers cleaning the dishes. You usually see whites and lighter skinned people of color working in the front of the house. The racial disparity within in restaurants is visible in almost any restaurant, in any city.

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  • There is a lot that goes into working in the restaurant business. The racial and sexual disparities within restaurants are visible when you see women work predominately as waiters and people of color usually work in the back washing dishes or preparing food. now when it comes to customers, this is a different matter. I have encountered my fair share of bad service in small town diners on the east coast. I must say some were not pleasant to say the least. I get this feeling when I am at a restaurant and my host/hostess does not interact as much as he or she would with a different person of a racial background. Now I don’t know if there is a level of comfortability when talking/interacting with someone of your own race, but it is still troublesome.

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  • Obviously racism is the main factor in this case and there is definitely racism in the restaurant industry as well as copious other work environments. But as we are concluding this class you could look at this case from a privilege perspective. Giving that whites have more privilege in the restaurant industry it becomes clear that multiple factors play a role in this case. Asians don’t have the same privilege as blacks, and blacks don’t have the same privilege as whites. Being white I don’t have to deal with nearly the amount of racism and other privilege aspects than other races. Everything that we have learned in class relates to this case and why today’s society is the way it is. Personally racism is a greater problem than privilege, but they all connect together at some point and if we eliminate one than the others will slowly follow.

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  • I agree with some of the comments above, Ramirez will probably not be found guilty cause many of these things happen and come up with numerous excuses to cover up the truth. When we do go to restaurants we don’t care how the workers are being treated we only care how the food is being served and the quality. He discriminated Asian Americans and “Upper West Side” people and should be punished for that. I think its very strange how he doesn’t have a comment to this situation, which also makes it suspicious of his guilt. Sad part about this article is that some customers will never know if they are being discriminated in a restaurant since it happens in the back and unknown. How would you know if they are giving you the bad part of the meat? This article is actually useful for us because it gives us an awareness of what can be happening to us secretly without knowing and giving us knowledge of others way of being discriminated.

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  • After reading this is extremely saddening to see that people are still getting judged by restaurant owners. Also with him calling Asians “shit people” and giving Asians and Upper West People in New York the worst piece of meat. I was fortunate enough in the restaurant I worked at they treated everyone the same because they knew everyone was equal. With how people are afraid to stand up to the bosses because they need a job I feel like I would have unfortunately fell into that group because I need money at that time to help me through classes I was taking. With all this being said i do believe Ramirez should be found guilty because he is discriminating against certain people.

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  • Before taking ces I was very unaware of the restaurant industry and how it is so different from state to state. In highschool I worked in a restaurant and jobs like that were very popular because of on top of being paid minimum wage you had the chance of even making more money. In the industry before I was working in it I would always be impatient with workers at a restaurant or wonder why they weren’t being friendly. After being in it and you experience it from the other side you understand it much better. The person you are serving never knows how your day has been, how your week has been, if someone in your family just passed away or if your exhausted. But every time you come into contact with them you have to put on the best smile and pretend that your having the best day of your life and you wouldn’t rather be anywhere else then there serving them. What if when you served someone and they asked you how your day has been going, you tell them the truth?
    This article has a tough case on hand because there is no hard evidence. The fact that he discriminates against asians and upper side people and is so vocal about it in the workplace shows how widely accepted things of this nature are in the restaurant industry. This class has definitely raised awareness of the restaurant industry and what needs to change of it.

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  • When going into the restaurant business as a restaurant owner I believe you need to be as cautious as possible about things like this. Nowadays you have to be extremely careful about what what you say if you are in any position of power or authority. If you are a successful restaurant owner, workers or customers will file lawsuits about just about anything just to get some money out of the deal. We are in a society today where people love to hate powerful figures for something that they think they did wrong, and as a result these authority figures are under much more skepticism than the average joe. Also, being a powerful figure you must be very careful about how you approach different races and sexualities due to recent events concerning these topics. All in all, I believe that Ramirez was very reckless in how he handled certain situations whether he said the accused things or not and now has learned a lesson on how to conduct himself and his actions as a business owner following this lawsuit.

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    • I agree with you CJ. Restaurant owners and head chefs are under constant surveillance because there are dozens of employees that would love to get some money out of a law suit. In this case, if what Ramirez said was true then he has certainly learned a lesson and proven to other chefs that they need to carefully think about what they say in the kitchen.

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  • Working in a restaurant I understand the way servers and cooks think. Working in a bigger restaurant like Red Robin I didn’t ever experience cooks talking down on races with the cooks, but I can say with servers and managers it was a different case. I know when I had customers who were teenagers I could expect a lousy tip, because in more cases that is how it was. I also know that when Asian people come in you can assume that they don’t generally know how to tip, this causing servers to not give their 100% best into giving them good service. In my previous days of serving, I don’t generalize people by race but more on the way the present themselves and based off that I can make a generalization on how much they will tip me. I’ve had every race give me a bad tip and a very good tip. I’m sure when I go into a restaurant and a server sees that I’m a young adult, they believe that I wont tip well and I can then see how I don’t receive the best service. In the case of this article it is shocking that he would give the Asians the worst pieces of meat because he has a very ignorant perception on “shit people”. I rarely ever hear of problems in the back of the house because they don’t normally deal with the guest unless the guest is complaining about how the food taste, from my perspective the front of the house are the people who make the generalization and create the racism.

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  • Realizing now how much discrimination there is in the restaurant industry I am semi embarrassed how I used to think there was no problem with race before. After learning about racism in the workplace my eyes have been completely opened to when I am actually witnessing it. Now when I walk into a business I notice who is the hostess, who my wait staff is and who looks to be the manager. I also notice the diversity of people eating at this establishment.

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  • It would be interesting to hear César Ramirez’ reaction to this story. It does seem like restaurants get away with a lot more than they should regarding equality, however this case seems like a lot of he said she said. Cesar Ramirez could possibly be calling Asians “Shit people” and giving them the worst pieces of meat, and in that case should be punished. It is hard to deal with cases like this in the restaurant industry because their is no proof other than peoples testimonies. It is crazy to think about people business and restaurant owners being openly racist like that, but it does happen and we should work to put a stop towards it.

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  • This really opens my eyes, in the past when I go eat at a restaurant i never thought about the racism in the work place, but now it all makes sense. The white women are always up front as hostess, and most all waiters and waitress are white. its hard to believe this stuff really goes on in the places we pay for their services

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  • I’ve worked in a restaurant and from working there I now understand how it works. It is true that in the kitchen only hispanic people work. There is not a single white person who is cooking. But at the same time where I worked waitress where white and hispanic. So they were treated equally. I think it all depends about who’s manger and if they are racist towards different race. “When a large piece of meat was cut into many pieces for the guests, Defendant Ramirez instructed Ms. Howard to give the worst pieces of meat to the “shit people,” i.e., Asian people, and to “Upper West Siders.” When I read this I was in shock how could someone be so rude to their clients only because they are asian. This really shows how people cruel people can be towards other race.

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  • I agree with the comments previously posted about how most of society, including myself are unaware of all the events that take place within a restaurant. When customers enter a restaurant they are more concerned with getting their food hot and as fast as possible rather than how it is prepared in the back of the house and the conditions of the workers handling their food. I feel that most of society can agree that they are mostly concerned with the quality of their food and service. I personally feel that if I am satisfied with the quality and service of my food then I am automatically satisfied with the restaurant as a whole. However, after discussing the poor work conditions most restaurant workers face in their daily work I would not at all be satisfied with the restaurant and would no longer have the desire to support these restaurants who treat employees so terribly. The accusations made and details given by Ms. Howard seem to be accurate, mostly due to the fact that Mr. Ramirez declined to comment on the accusations made. Unfortunately for this specific case Mr. Ramirez technically did not do anything illegal, he did not deny service to the “Upper West Siders” just gave them poor quality food and service. Due to the fact that Mr. Ramirez cannot be charged for these allegations, we as people should take matters into our own hands and not support his restaurant or other restaurants treating specific groups of people poorly. If we begin to acknowledge that there is more to a restaurants success than the events that take place in the front of the house we can spark a change ro better the back of the house.

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  • I have heard Asian people called many things but this is by far the most degrading thing I have ever heard. I am not surprised he won’t comment on the issue. How could you possibly say anything to defend yourself in this situation. There is no defense, this man deserves to watch his restaurant go down in flames. What is almost more concerning than his behind the scenes racism is the backlash that I would imagine the servers receive from Asian customers who are displeased with their seats or their cuts of meat. As we learned in class, servers are likely to fall victim to the consequences of unhappy customers. Regardless that they didn’t have any part in the cutting of the meat, they are the only people the customers can take their displeasure out on. I can only imagine these servers are losing out on tips due to their boss’s racist demands.

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  • I think about how my service will be and the quality of food when I go to a restaurant. When people walk into the restaurant’s they don’t take into consideration of what may be going on in the kitchen. One of the many parts of the quality of food is the speed it comes as well. Everyone wants his or her food faster. Many will complain about how long it’s been and how slow their server is. We also don’t know how the people serving food to us perceive us; majority victims of this are African Americans. Racism is found past the cashier, waiters/ servers, it’s found in kitchen too; many cooks are racist and they are open to hate for some specific race.

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  • The restaurant industry is two faced. What a naive observer see’s is not even half the story. Things like how long of a process the food endures just to reach the restaurants and retail centers. Then those working conditions in those places are often unsanitary and so stressful that mistakes are bound to be made and the uncertainty of whats actually in our food remains in question. You also have to think about the mindset of the people making and preparing your food because you have no idea what there going through. Maybe they can barely feed their kid while working 2 jobs and life becomes dull and ultimately too stressful. Maybe that person is wound up when preparing your food and feels animosity towards the world and you end up con-sequencing for that for no reason. There are a lot of angles to this topic.

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  • Restaurants often hide their true identities by how good the food tastes or how nice the experience was. After working in the restaurant industry for the past two summers I can affirm that this is true. After quitting my old job I learned that my manager had been taking peoples tips in order to buy food and diapers for his two-year old daughter; not justifiable behavior but he was in a situation that presented no other alternatives. In this law suit, Ramirez is totally in the wrong. In no situation is it okay to discriminate against customers especially when handling food. What if the meat he served them was undercooked and they had food poisoning but because the restaurant presents itself as being upscale no one would think it was his fault. The lawyer, Kirschenbaum, in my opinion is pushing the boundary of what you can be sued for. Ramirez is not legally in any trouble, but if Kirschenbaum is able to prove that his discrimination has some other side affects and that he has a history of harassment then I believe there could be a very controversial law suit.

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  • I think this unit regarding the restaurant industry really opened up everyone’s eyes, not everyone has experience in the restaurant industry. The issues that are associated with the industry aren’t visible to us like tip discrimination, front vs. back workers, the poor salaries, racist workers (specifically the chef in this case), etc. I’d say an average person like myself likes to go to a restaurant, eat, pay, and depart; I have no clue what goes on in the back, didn’t really pay much attention to the workers, and I mind my own with the company I’m around. After these readings and class lectures about the struggles faced by restaurant workers, I’m a bit more aware and less apathetic about my surroundings; I’d say these workers are ordinary people just like myself with hopes and dreams. Those workers strive to pay for a higher education, put food on the table for themselves and family, and there are some who’d rather blow it on drugs as I’ve seen in class due to succumbing to high stress. Many restaurant workers have it harder than others, such as the asian chef mentioned in this article and others in the same position dealing with people in higher positions such as managers, women who are given a hard time by male/rowdy customers, minorities who are tipped less by racist customers (it was revealed to us that 40% of tippers include race as a factor), and others. Point being, not everyone is aware of the people who make/serve their food, personal beliefs in many people (government, racists, capitalists, etc) cause it to be an unfair industry overall. I’d like to know why the minimum wage is so low and who makes that decision, have that person work and live on that income; that’s something I’d like to see. I get paid more standing around in a laundry room than someone busting their behind working in the restaurant industry. That’s just my 2 cents on this subject.

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  • There have been a lot of good posts that I agree with. People who work in the restaurant and hospitality industry should worry about serving their customers instead of letting their own prejudices get in the way. I understand that doesn’t affect how people feel, but if you work in any kind of hospitality industry- especially the restaurant industry, I hope for your sake you like people. Otherwise there are other jobs that doesn’t rely so much on what others feel. There is so much that goes on in the restaurant industry that the average person has no idea about. It’s like a whole other world that no one will understand unless they are a part of it. I have never heard of picking out certain pieces of food for certain people, but it doesn’t really surprise me. I’m sure it happens and it’s probably the least concern. I feel very fortunate that I have never had to work in the restaurant industry. I have learned so much just in these last few weeks about the industry.

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  • It’s surprising how some people can hate a certain group of people for no reason other than what they look like. This case is a prime example of people judging other people based on the actions of someone who happened to be of identical race. There should be no place for this kind of behavior in the world and especially in the restaurant industry where every person should receive equal services. The actions taken by Mr. Ramirez were unacceptable and should be punished to its fullest extent. People need to learn that we are all created equal just as God intended it to be no matter what race you happen to be born into.

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  • I do understand that some people have trouble accepting someone that is out of their race. But i get sick of them because iv experienced so much hatred towards me just because i was Asian while i was living in Georgia for 2 years. I really hope that the people now realise that it is the 21st century and should start to open their minds to the whole world because i am sure that the era where everyone will come as one will come.

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  • If Ramirez truly thinks he isn’t breaking any laws, then why won’t he talk? Because he knows he is doing something wrong. He knows treating customers and employees the way he does is not ethical, he just doesn’t care. People that act like this don’t care about others, they don’t care what other people think or feel. The only way to break people like this is by exposing them. Lawsuits like these need media attention in order to make people aware that racism like this exists everywhere and every day. In order to address institutional racism we must talk about it on an institutional level, at a level that is comparable to the power that racist agendas hold. Employers like Ramirez need to be exposed for how they actually treat people, because then people will be outraged (hopefully) and not support businesses like his and many others. Personally, anytime I hear a scandal about a company I do my own research and usually come to the conclusion that I will not shop or eat there anymore for their practices. People need to find out about this and stop supporting those businesses. We have to remember that the People run this country, we just need to get our voices heard.

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  • When we go to a restaurant we only see the romanticized version with fancy designs on the walls and hopefully great service and food. The real reality is that we are wrong, while the mood is set for us the back of the kitchen is working sick, stressed out and barely making enough money to live off of. With this being said people sometimes don’t show their best colors and obviously Ramirez is a racist. He seems to not care about the consequences that he is facing by being that way since he wont talk to the media but that’s his own problem. I worked a summer at an ice cream stand and almost everybody who worked there would stereotype the customers that came through. Mainly it would be about Canadian tourists because they would never tip but it was interesting how quickly people were to judge the customer and that led to the way they would be served based on the scoopers ability to work for the tip.

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  • I never thought about what goes on behind the kitchen because I was always told that most restaurants do not have good hygiene, even if the food is good. In today’s society, people are almost required to go out to eat depending on the families eating out habits it can range from 1 day eating out or even 7 days eating out. People like to chit chat in restaurants and get a great vibe when with family or friends. Not many people even talk about what’s going on behind the kitchen. For example, “I wonder who is cooking or prepping my meal, how clean is the kitchen, are the food fresh or frozen for more than a couple months, why and how did this bug get into my plate, etc” There are so many questions that one can ask, but usually people don’t complain unless there really are problems with the dish. Another go to method would be that the customers will never return to the same restaurant after their first bad impression. I do agree that there are certain racism going on for specific groups or just people with attitude. I have heard stories that the chefs sometimes spit into the customers meal if they don’t like the customers requests or attitudes. There are many more things that they can do behind the kitchen and people who don’t realize it are victims of these petty personal attacks. I have not experienced racism from chefs to customers, but I have seen customers being racist about the waiters. Many customers are at fault because they talk with complete arrogance and demand perfect service even though they tip disappointingly.

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