The owners of Grenache, a Michelin Guide-recommended fine dining restaurant in Manchester, U.K., have made headlines after coming to the defense of an autistic waiter who was insulted and dismissed by a table of customers.
“The customers seemed to have a problem with him, even though his service was good,” owner and head chef Mike Jennings told the Manchester Evening News of the waiter, Andy Foster. “I explained that he suffered from autism and their response was that they didn’t want to be served by him.”
Foster has been working for the restaurant for the last month, and told the paper that he has grown accustomed to critical comments, though his boss is determined not to let thoughtless customers get in the way of his job. “They asked me why I would give him a job in a restaurant like ours,” Jennings said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
In response to the incident, Jennings published a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, making it clear that discriminating guests would not be welcome in the future.
“Here at Grenache, we employ staff based on experience, knowledge, and passion for the job,” Jennings wrote. “NOT the color of their skin, or the way they look, how many tattoos they have, their dress size, religious beliefs, or illness. We do not discriminate! If you do… then please do not book a table at Grenache. You do not deserve our time, effort, or respect.”
In a follow-up comment, Jennings added, “Cringed as I was posting this as I didn't want people to think we were being rude... But then I thought, we need to stand up for what we believe in! Our staff are our foundation and this is our way of standing up for them!”
On Facebook, commenters from around the world expressed their support for the restaurant’s approach to the situation. “Thank you for being decent human beings,” one person wrote.