A smoothie chain has come under fire after employees in two of its North Carolina stores used racial slurs to describe customers on receipts.
Smoothie King, a Dallas-area-based franchise company, said that the employees, who worked at separate stores in Charlotte, had been dismissed.
The allegations broke on Sunday when a Black customer reportedly responded under a Twitter promotion that said, “Cheers to $5 Friday.”
“Do I have to be called the n-word for the discount?” the customer commented, along with a photo of the receipt for a “Hulk Strawberry” drink that said, “ni**er – to go.”
The second incident involved customer Tony Choi, a Korean, who took to Facebook to expose a receipt that referred to him as “Jackie Chan.”
“The three employees working there at the time couldn’t stop laughing about it,” he wrote.
Choi added that he experiences racism “here and there,” but the incident over the weekend took the cake.
“Today I left this store furious on the inside, trying to not let my young kids know what just happened.”
Speaking to WCOS, Choi said that he decided to share his receipt because the slur was unnecessary and hurtful.
“He could have easily just typed a single character. We were the only people in the store at the time. Instead he actually took the time to type what he did,” he said of the employee identified as Zack H.
Both employees have been terminated by their franchisees. We are continuing to investigate this incident.
Smoothie King responded to the backlash a few hours later, describing the employees’ actions as “totally unacceptable.”
“Today, two instances happened in our Charlotte franchise stores that are totally unacceptable and go against every value that we stand for. Two of our team members wrote inappropriate, racial remarks about our guests,” CEO Wan Kim told WBTV. “We have zero tolerance for any action where a guest is disrespected, and we have taken immediate and decisive action.”
Kim added, “This behavior does not in any way reflect our company’s commitment to creating an open and welcoming environment, and for that we sincerely apologize.”
The company has since fired the employees in question, while it closed the two Charlotte stores and vowed to provide training on “inclusivity policies and best practices” for the rest of its more than 1,000 franchises, according to Reuters.
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