It’s not the kind of news restaurants want to make.
According to multiple news outlets, some former employees of the Guy Fieri restaurant at Live! Casino Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County protested outside the facility Monday, calling for more equitable pay among workers and highlighting some alarming allegations made by former employees.
In particular, Nathaniel Ridley, a former cook at Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar, said a manager used a racial slur when confronting kitchen staff about some music playing one day. According to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, both Ridley and fellow employee Kendra Gillcrese witnessed the alleged slur.
“It was just mind-blowing,” Ridley said. “He just stood there and he never said ‘I’m sorry,’ or showed any remorse.”
Added Gillcrese: “I was just shocked and I went home and was like, ‘Did he really just say that?’”
Allegations against American Kitchen + Bar at Live!
According to Action News 4, Ridley and Gillcrese said they reported the incident to human resources, but nothing significant happened.
And so, employees planned the protest. In addition to the alleged slur, Ridley said he later learned he was being paid less than other employees for similar roles and responsibilities.
One of the goals for Monday’s protest, along with an online petition that has been circulated, was to encourage management to consider racial sensitivity training for its staff. The protesters are also seeking back pay for employees who may have been mistreated.
In response, a spokesperson for Live! Casino issued the following statement to Channel 4:
“Live! Casino Pittsburgh and Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar are proud of the jobs we have created in Westmoreland County, are committed to our Team Members, and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The allegation that our compensation varies by race is simply false.”
Live! Casino Pittsburgh opened in November
Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar opened alongside Live! Casino Pittsburgh in November 2020 at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township.
In a press release announcing his restaurant’s opening, Fieri said: “Pennsylvanians know great food and I’ve seen it all around the state shooting (the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’) and with my own restaurants, so I couldn’t be more stoked to bring my American Kitchen + Bar to Live! Casino Pittsburgh. Get on board Pittsburgh, we’re heading to Flavortown!”
But a few months into its first year, the American Kitchen +Bar has encountered some bad publicity.
And it’s not the kind of news any restaurant wants to make.
Lead image via Dreamstime.