Just two months before the deadly gang war broke out in Waco on Sunday, another Texas “breastaurant” was forced to apologize after being shamed on social media for kicking out a patron that they thought was gang-affiliated because of his tattooed face.
The story demonstrates the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” perils that business owners can face while trying to keep customers safe, happy, and coming back for more.
Almost immediately after the shooting outside the Twin Peaks restaurant on Sunday, police in Waco, TX began laying the blame for the lethal shootout on the restaurant itself. As KWTX repored:
(Waco Police Sgt.) Swanton…said police have been trying to work with management at Twin Peaks for several weeks but have been thwarted in their efforts to avoid a situation like happened Sunday afternoon.
A McLennan County official said the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has revoked Twin Peak’s alcohol license for a period of seven days while the investigation continues.
The Waco police department’s solution was apparently for the restaurant to tell the bikers that they weren’t welcome at Twin Peaks anymore. With 20/20 hindsight, that may appear reasonable, but news reporters who spoke with servers at the restaurant say employees had not felt unsafe around bikers prior to Sunday’s incident.
One of the Waco PD’s concerns are the “Bike Nights” held at Twin Peaks, which motorcyclists are encouraged to attend. However, hundreds of restaurants and bars across the USA hold “Bike Nights” every single week. Furthermore, the Waco shooting happened on a Sunday afternoon.
The Waco police’s suggestion that the restaurant should refuse service to bikers is also complicated by what has happened when other businesses tried to do just that.
For example, another Texas restaurant called Bombshells made headlines in March for kicking out a patron with facial tattoos.
Bombshells is another “breastraurant” – a category of chains like Twin Peaks and Hooters which feature a combination of food, sports TV, cold beer, and sexy girls. Bombshells raises the machismo level by adopting a military theme.
As the Daily Mail reported:
Erik Leighton says he and a friend were escorted from the Bombshells Restaurant because of his facial ink.
Upon entering the staff told him face tattoos were forbidden.
It sounds simple enough, but implementing such policies is trickier in the age of social media, where anyone can mount a nationwide campaign against any slight, real or imagined. Leighton’s story made it to FoxNews Chicago:
“I have no criminal record. I work hard at a plant, I have two cats. I’m the furthest thing from a gang member,” Leighton explained. “I don’t think Harry Potter goes hand in hand with gangs.”
Bombshells says the facial tattoo policy is in place because there is a “large gang concentration” in the area. Leighton is hoping the policy will change after what happened to him.
The bad press created a public-relations backlash that forced Bombshells to apologize.
The details from Waco still aren’t clear, and it’s certainly possible that the restaurant management could have done more to prevent the shooting. However, business owners aren’t mind-readers. Kicking out patrons who haven’t actually done anything wrong can be a problematic business practice.
Either way, the real culprits in Waco are 100% clear: the two-wheeled thugs who did the shooting.