After customers verbally abused their staff so badly the staff was reduced to tears – one restaurant in Cape Cod closed its doors for a “day of kindness”.
Customers at Apt Cape Cod in Brewster, Mass, have been particularly abusive this summer, but the straw that broke the camel’s back came last Thursday when Brandi Felt Castellano, the restaurant’s co-owner, told The New York Times a man verbally tore down a young worker who told the customer that he was not able to take his breakfast order because the restaurant had not opened for the day.
“I never thought it would become this,” the shocked restaurateur told the Times.
“As many of our guests and patrons treat us with kindness and understanding, there have been an astronomical influx daily of those that do not, swearing at us, threatening to sue, arguing and yelling at my staff, making team members cry,” Felt Castellano and her wife Regina Felt Castellano, wrote on Facebook.
“This is an unacceptable way to treat any human. So Chef Regina and I have decided to take the day and give the staff time deep clean the restaurant, train, and treat my staff to a day of kindness. We will be open again for breakfast tomorrow. Please remember that many of my staff are young, this is their first job, or summer job to help pay for college. We have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of kitchen, product availability and staffing availability, we are not trying to ruin anyone’s vacation or day off.”
Brandi Felt Castellano told The Times, “Many (restaurants) didn’t survive the pandemic. For people to be this aggressive towards the ones that have is disheartening.”
Felt Castellano said the bad behavior has gotten worse as the summer has worn on and staffing continue to be in short supply – making wait times for tables longer and some menu items not available.
“It’s like abuse,” she told the Times, recalling an incident where a group of people threatened to sue after they didn’t get the table they wanted.
“It’s things that people are saying that wouldn’t be allowed to be on TV because they would be bleeped. People are always rude to restaurant workers, but this far exceeds anything I’ve seen in my 20 years… I would say that it is its own epidemic.”