Last month, Chipotle got a public hand-smack because an employee did a "hands up, don't shoot" gesture to nine visiting NYPD officers who blew off the burrito bowls and left, sparking a store boycott by local cops and a pile of customer complaints. Chipotle co-CEOs Steve Ells and Monty Moran issued an apology statement disavowing the gesture, making damn sure that the police got an "I'm sorry" out of the deal. The apology, if translated into reality, would probably say "Hey look, we wanna sell people guac and chips, not piss off cops!" Sometimes a public apology is one of the costs of doing business, and at least Chipotle kept it classy.
Here's a list five restaurant apologies -- translated from overly cautious corporate rhetoric into what they really meant. Cheer up, Chipotle! You are far from the first and won't even be the last eatery to cough up an apology, and compared to some, y'all got off easy.
5) The "Whoops we got your kids wasted" apology
Back in November of 2014, a Joe's Crab Shack in Colorado Springs accidentally served boozy drinks to a group of six kids, ages two to eight, ostensibly because there was a mix-up between a "Shark Nibble" children's fruity drink and a "Shark Bite" adult beverage full of rum, vodka, and curacao. Here's the official apology statement from Joe's: "Joe's Crab Shack is aware of this incident at the Colorado Springs location, and we are investigating this matter internally. We do not condone underage service of any kind. Our guests can rest assured that our processes are continuously examined so that incidents like this are avoided."
That statement was probably code for "Our dumbass server rang that shit in wrong and our dumbass barkeep made the wrong fucking drinks; please don't sue us because your loin-fruits got introduced to happy hour a couple decades early."
4) The "Rapey dessert name" apology
A Staten Island restaurant called The Phunky Elephant introduced a boozy dessert drink last year called the "Roofie Colada" after a joke from Family Guy, and some patrons apparently didn't think the joke was amusing, kicking off a Facebook war of words. It got ugly, as Facebook fights usually do, and ended up with the following apology statement on the restaurant's page.
"The Phunky Elephant is a place with a unique atmosphere. We treat our guests with the utmost respect and we are always open to feedback to make our restaurant a welcoming and comfortable place with a touch of humor and quirkiness. We certainly did not intend to create an impression of reckless or negligent behavior by presenting the dessert at question to our guests nor did we mean to make anyone feel uncomfortable or insulted. This desert name was simply a homage to an adult cartoon and there was no malice. We obviously do not support date rape or any sort of violence for that matter. We humbly apologize if we have offended anyone and we appreciate the community around us and its awareness toward the cause. Please be advised that the dessert is currently off the menu until it is appropriately renamed."
This apology roughly translates to: "Idiot dude-bros who jerk off to Adult Swim also sometimes own/run/work in dining establishments, and think rape jokes are HILARIOUS! Some broads can't take a joke and got beefed about the whole rape drug thing, but since we want girlies to keep coming in, we are sorta sorry and whatever, and we will try to keep the misogyny confined to the kitchen areas from now on."
3) The "Child abuse and sexual harassment" apology
In September of last year, a Minnesota restaurant, Weggy's On Campus, promised customers via Facebook that if they came in wearing Adrian Peterson jerseys during the Vikings-Patriots game, they could spank their servers. Weggy's idea to lighten the mood during the debate over allegations of child abuse against Vikings' running back Peterson was met with negative responses from Facebook users, so the post came down, and Weggy's kept the apology short and sweet with a post that said an employee "simply thought they were being funny."
Translation?--"Uhhh...we don't get it. That shit is helluh funny! Wait...so beating kids is bad now? Crap. And the spanking thing was a damn good idea! FOOTBALL!!! Wait...we only meant for dudes to spank the chick servers. We don't want dudes spanking other dudes! Fuck it--let's call the whole thing off."
For more restaurant apologies and translations, read on.
2) The "We served whale meat" apology
Who could forget 2010's controversy over The Hump sushi restaurant in Santa Monica, which was busted in a sting operation selling endangered whale meat to customers? Whale meat is considered a delicacy in Japan, but chowing on it here in the States is the opposite of legal, so after the bust there was an apology, something to the effect of "we were supposed to NOT kill endangered whales for lunch meat, we did it anyway, but now we swear we aren't gonna do it anymore." Sadly for The Hump and its whale-snacking customer base, the sorries didn't work, and the place shuttered shortly thereafter. Here's the apology statement still posted on the restaurant's website.
"THE HUMP IS CLOSING ITS DOORS After twelve years doing business in Santa Monica, The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20th, 2010. The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species. Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The Owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species. One such action will be to make a substantial contribution to one or more responsible organizations dedicated to the preservation of whales and other endangered species. The Hump apologizes to our loyal customers, the community of Santa Monica, and the public at large for our illegal actions. While the current difficulties faced by The Hump overshadow the many friendships formed over the years, we want our customers and friends to know how much we thank you for your support."
The translation of this statement goes a little something like... "We are boned worse than the fish we used to serve, and our attorneys are making us show some sort of remorse so that we won't go from serving whale to yuppies, to serving Malt-O-Meal to fellow inmates."
1) The "Nazi dinner" apology
In a stunning case of "bad idea, worse timing" in January of last year, on Martin Luther King Day, a WWII historical re-enactment group in Minnesota held a private dinner at Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit Restaurant; leaked photographs of the event revealed some serious Third Reich re-enactment going down, complete with Nazi flags and German military uniforms. The fallout from this dinner was intense, and restaurant owner Mario Pierzchalski issued a lengthy statement of apology. Here's an excerpt(read the whole thing here):
"A group of people, who are members of a World War ll reenactment group, made reservations for a private party on a Monday, a day when we are normally closed to the public. Private parties are sometimes held on Mondays so groups of people can have privacy for whatever reason they choose. As long as their activities are not illegal, immoral, or unethical, I do not interfere with their celebrations. Most parties are not large enough to justify closing the restaurant to the public, but on Mondays, we are normally closed, and I gladly accept private parties for that day. My restaurant did not sponsor or plan this event, but only provided a dining space with food and drink.
For this particular group, there were props and costumes used for the gathering. Yes, some people were dressed in German military uniforms, but there were also people dressed in Italian and Allied (American, British, etc.) military uniforms. At no time during this party was there any activity that would be in violation of my restaurant policies or my personal policies."
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The apology in its entirety could be summed up with "Folks, I just gave these over-enthusiastic, socially inept History Channel fucknuts some jagerschnitzel, so don't blame my ass!"