Days after three employees were fired for falsely accusing two black women of dining and dashing, an Independence, Mo., Applebee’s has closed its doors for good.
According to KSHB-TV, a spokesperson for the restaurant chain’s corporate office said that the restaurant was officially shut down, and employees have been offered jobs at other locations. The spokesperson declined to give a specific reason for the closing, but as the news station notes, the Independence Center Mall is scheduled to be sold in a foreclosure.
However, the sudden closing shocked some employees.
“I was told to come into work Thursday morning in uniform,” Teryn Johnson, who said she has worked at Applebee’s for 30 years, told the news station. “I got there at 9:30 a.m. and noticed the big trucks were out there removing the sign. I knew that was a sign.”
“For a high-class restaurant ... not to tell us anything, not to tell me to go to work, call or anything, nothing to inform me to go there, it’s crazy,” said Oliviah Lewis, a hostess at Applebee’s who found out via social media that the branch was probably closed. “Not a word. Not a call. Nothing.”
Last weekend, the branch came under fire after Alexis Brison posted a video to her Facebook page showing the treatment that she and her friend Asia Hardy had been subjected to at the restaurant.
Brison accused the restaurant of racial profiling after she and Hardy were accused by staff members of dining and dashing.
“About an hour into [our] dinner we were approached by a Independence police officer, a mall cop, and the restaurant manager. We were told that we were accused of eating and not paying for CHICKEN the day before (dining and dashing),” Brison wrote in her post. “Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal. After being mocked, humiliated, and embarrassed we were asked to pay for our food, leave, and not come back.”
The officer who handled the situation was also, of course, less than kind, and made fun of their discomfort.
A spokesperson for the Independence Police Department commented on the incident, noting that, “Since the event transpired on Friday, the officer’s professional conduct has been carefully and thoughtfully reviewed by the Professional Standards Unit to ensure compliance with departmental policy. The City of Independence does not comment on any findings or outcomes with regard to the matters of personnel.”
According to KSHB, the two women have since hired a lawyer. City Manager Zack Walker has also issued a statement, speaking out about the treatment the women received. He said that he regrets the negative experience the women had, explaining: “City staff receive regular training on diversity and sensitivity to ensure the diverse populations we work with have a fair, equal and inclusive experience. We make every effort to provide the highest standard of service and hold our staff to these high standards.”