Larah Moore, 27, the general manager of East Park Tavern in Charlevoix, Michigan, shared her decision in a statement posted to Facebook over the weekend. She explained that the issue stemmed from the influx of tourists, known as “fudgies,” in the area for the annual week-long Venetian Festival -- which sees nearly 100,000 people visiting the town each year for food, music and parades,
Moore has apparently worked in downtown Charlevoix during the festival for “most of [her] adult life” and this year was different because the “fudgies” were rude to her staff. Their behaviour was so bad that it ultimately convinced her to close the restaurant early on a Saturday night.
“Due to the mistreatment of our servers, our kitchen is closed,” reads the sign Moore hung on the door and then later posted to Facebook.
In her caption on the Sunday 24 July post, Moore said the Venetian Festival is “usually great, busy, but fun and worthwhile” but that she found herself “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,” she continued.
Moore shared that her staff took a “BEATING” from the tourists and emphasized how hard working restaurant employees are before noting that they “are not here to be abused”.
Moore then concluded: “No one gets to treat my staff like trash. 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.”
While speaking to Today about the experience, and her decision to shut the restaurant early during one of its busiest weeks of the year, Moore said that she and her kitchen manager made the call after she found one of the restaurant servers “breaking down in the server station” and crying. “We both decided we had enough,” she said.
On Facebook, where Moore’s post has been shared more than 8,000 times, people have applauded her for prioritising her employees over the tourists.
“WOW is all I can say. It’s honestly so sad that it’s had to come to this. But I also applaud you for standing behind your team and taking a stand. Humanity as a whole needs to be better,” one person wrote.
Another said: “People have become so mean! Unless you’ve experienced it yourself you can’t fully understand. I support your decision!”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I can’t understand why people treat servers like servants,” someone else wrote.
Others said that they have noticed or experienced similar unacceptable behaviours from customers recently, with one Facebook user noting that they’ve also had a “very difficult tourist season”.
According to someone else, the Venetian Festival crowds have gotten “more and more entitled and rude” each year.
“I’m so sorry. In 2016 I had my last fill of Venetian crowds and a**holes. I can’t do it anymore. I have watched them get more and more entitled and rude as the years have gone on,” they wrote.