The Delta Sigma Theta sorority booked a table at Bahama Breeze in Orange Village to celebrate member Danielle Nelson’s new book and impending move to California.
The upbeat evening went awry when a member of the group of about 40 people became frustrated after waiting 25 minutes for her bill, according to Cleveland.com.
Sorority member Chante Spencer, who was at the restaurant, told Cleveland.com that the woman said she was ready to leave the restaurant over the delay in getting her bill. She was not a sorority sister but was with its members, who were spread out among multiple tables, according to the report.
Spencer said the restaurant’s manager then called police to ensure all tabs were settled.
“Police were standing there to make sure everyone paid, which we felt was racial profiling,” Spencer told Cleveland.com.
Bahama Breeze is owned by the Florida-based Darden company, whose restaurants include the Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants.
Rich Jeffers, Darden’s senior director of communications, told Cleveland.com the restaurant “clearly fell short of delivering great service, and we’ve invited the guests back in order to provide an exceptional Bahama Breeze experience.”
Spencer said the women never threatened to leave without paying, and claims the manager called cops because the women were black.
“I am hoping that Bahama Breeze looks at this very carefully and alters policies and does some more training,” she told Cleveland.com. “You cannot make assumptions that people are going to commit a crime based on how they look.”
Nelson was among a group of protesters gathered outside the restaurant Thursday, according to Fox 8.