Customers Refuse to be Served by Autistic Server, Then the Restaurant Owner Responds

March 5, 2016 Updated: March 5, 2016

A restaurant owner has hit out against customers who refused to be served by an autistic waiter.

The customers at Grenache in the U.K. had an issue with the server, before owner Mike Jennings came over and talked to them.

The customers seemed to have a problem with him, even though his service was good.
— Mike Jennings, restaurant owner

“The customers seemed to have a problem with him, even though his service was good. I explained that he suffered from autism and their response was that they didn’t want to be served by him,” Jennings told the Manchester Evening News.

“They asked me why I would give him a job in a restaurant like ours. I couldn’t believe it.”

The waiter in question, 45-year-old Andy Foster, started working at the establishment three weeks ago, and is also a registered caregiver for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimers.

Jennings and his partner Karen added on Facebook that they spent the next day “rebuilding the confidence” of Foster. 

Thoughts on an incident which occurred last night….Totally unacceptable.Strongly worded but we need to get our point across.#equalopportunities

Posted by Grenache Restaurant on Thursday, March 3, 2016


They said if customers discriminate against people, they shouldn’t book a table at Grenache. “You do not deserve our time, effort, or RESPECT!” they added.

The partners later added that they were hesitant about posting the message.

“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!”

Foster was grateful.

“Mike and Kaz have been so supportive saying it’s not my fault,” he said.

“The customers said they didn’t know I was autistic but I shouldn’t have to walk around with a t-shirt on explaining it. I should be treated fairly and exactly the same as everyone else in the restaurant.”

Many commenters have hailed the owners online, and others have promised to come visit when they’re in the area.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber