Larah Moore, the general manager of East Park Tavern in Charlevoix, Michigan, took a stand after she saw one of her employees in tears.
A restaurant in Michigan shut up shop early due to customers being rude and disrespectful to the servers. Larah Moore, the general manager of East Park Tavern in Charlevoix made the call after one of her servers broke down from being treated disrespectfully. Moore decided to shut down the kitchen despite it being the busiest time of the year for the restaurant, because people matter. The Venetian Festival is eight days long with tourists arriving in Charlevoix from all directions. It's estimated that more than 100,000 tourists, referred to as fudgies, arrive for the festival. Moore was shocked after seeing one of her employees breaking down in the server station. "She was crying. And I just kind of took my kitchen manager to the side, and we both decided we had enough,” Larah Moore told TODAY.
East Park Tavern is one of the favorites of the local crowd and has been described as a “down-to-earth neighborhood haunt.” Moore was aware the restaurant could be targeted by the festival over its decision to shut down the kitchen but believes it was a stand that needed to be taken. “Everybody in town is there to celebrate and have a good time, and it usually rubs off on your restaurant staff or, you know, just about any other business in town. We all try to keep good spirits up. It’s a fun time for everybody, or at least it’s supposed to be,” she said. Moore said this year's crowd was very rowdy and ruder than usual.
Moore took the decision after consulting with her staff on the matter before hanging a sign outside that read: "Due to mistreatment of our servers, our kitchen is closed." She also took to Facebook to share the image and wrote a lengthy post explaining why. “I’ve worked in downtown Charlevoix most of my adult life during Venetian. It’s usually great, busy, but fun and worthwhile,” wrote Moore. “I’m so incredibly disappointed and embarrassed by the Fudgies we have this year. My staff took a BEATING all week. Last night was our last straw. Too many rude comments. Too many arrogant individuals acting like they can throw money at us to get their way. Too many cocky jerks.”
“No one gets to treat my staff like trash," she continued. "They are the absolute shining stars in my life, and I love and appreciate the hell out of the few of them that I am lucky enough to have. If you push your servers, watch them start to push back. We are here to ensure great food, drinks and quality of your time spent with us. We are not here to be abused. We will not tolerate that anymore.” Moore said there were a lot of nice customers as well, sharing a picture of a note left by a nice patron. "Thank you so much for being such a phenomenal waitress even though you had so many other tables. Have a blessed night. We really appreciate all you do!" read the note left for one of the servers.
The post went viral immediately, garnering more than 8,800 shares and 5,300 likes. Many agreed and sympathized with her. Many local people appeared to agree that the crowd this year was particularly rowdy. "We have had a really difficult tourist season here too. People have just been a whole different breed this year! It’s insane," wrote Cassandra. "It is absolutely worse than it's ever been," concurred Foster. "I’m angry/sad for you and your coworkers, embarrassed for Charlevoix, and completely enraged that grown adults think they can act like children with daddy’s money throw fits and get what they want. You’ve put up with so much already I can’t imagine how truly awful it was to make this decision!!" wrote Michelle.
“People need to realize how much the service industry folks give up to be there to perform that job," said Moore, calling on patrons to be more kind to employees. "To do it every day with a smile on their face, even when they feel like nobody cares and nobody appreciates them… Somebody cares about that person that's waiting on you just as much as you care about the people you have at your house. And I don't feel like you would go to your mom's house and treat her like trash when she serves you a meal," she added.