March 14, 2017
A restaurant owner apologized Sunday for a Facebook post asking why Hispanics don’t tip.
Steve Wayte, the owner of Roll One for Mi in Fresno, CA, says social media outrage about his post got out of hand.
“My servers are thinking about building a wall around the restaurant. Why don’t many Hispanics tip?” the post read.
Wayte says the post was meant to be a joke, and he was venting after his employees were stiffed tips by several customers. He has since taken the post down and apologized for it.
“There was no malice in my heart. I was just defending my staff that works very hard to put out a quality product and good service. This was nothing against the Hispanic community,” he said.
Former Fresno County supervisor Henry Perea says he felt the need to speak up about the post after people started him screen captures of it.
"He chose to indict the entire Hispanic community. Well, okay, more power to you. I defend your right to exercise that free right of speech and to make it, but then he's gonna have to respect mine, too,” Perea said.
On both Facebook and Twitter, Perea is calling for a boycott of Roll One for Mi.
"We have the opportunity to flex economic muscle, and I think when we speak through our pocketbook, people will listen,” Perea said.
Wayte says he was blindsided by Perea’s reaction.
"What hurts my feelings so bad is that he's trying to economically damage me, and I've done nothing to Henry Perea. It was a joke,” he said.
Carlos Rucker, an employee at the restaurant, says he’s not surprised by the backlash to the post.
"In the back of my mind, I knew this could happen. Sometimes the reality is hard to take in because you know, some Hispanics are very bad at tipping. It might a cultural thing, not a personal thing,” he said.
Perea says the restaurant owner should have dealt with the people who didn’t tip as individuals, rather than as a race.
Wayte hopes the boycott backfires and the publicity will draw more people to his restaurant.