Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Pizza Hut bosses try to defuse ‘race’ row

A restaurant chain today ordered its staff not to ask for payment before a meal after an incident involving a group of black footballers.

The AFC Bournemouth players were angered after being told to pay the bill before being served with their food at Pizza Hut.

Midfielder Anton Robinson was reportedly told by the restaurant manager that the request was made because of their appearance.

He told the Daily Echo: “We had a good idea what he was getting at. A group of white kids came in straight after us and they weren't asked to pay before they had their food.

“The only thing that was different was the colour of our skins.”

Immediately following the incident three weeks ago, Pizza Hut said the request had not been racially motivated, but done on the advice of police to stop customers leaving without paying.

But the restaurant giant has now ordered staff not to ask for money in advance.

It said in a statement: “Following a recent incident, we want to reiterate that we strongly oppose any form of stereotyping and we have reminded staff at all of our restaurants to use our standard policy of asking for payment after the meal.”

Simon Woolley, director of campaign group Operation Black Vote, said: “Pizza Hut have demonstrated that a good employer can deal with these problems with |honesty and integrity.

“Moreover, they learn from their mistakes and come out even stronger.”

The incident occurred when five Bournemouth players — four black and one white — went for lunch at the town's Castle Lane West Pizza Hut outlet.

The restaurant chain has now apologised to the players and will make a contribution to a charity of their choice.

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