After facing an increasing number of incidents involving verbal abuse from customers, the co-owners of Apt Cape Cod, a farm-to-table restaurant in Massachusetts, decided to take action. Brandi Felt Castellano and Regina Felt Castellano announced on Facebook that they would close the restaurant for breakfast and treat their employees to a “day of kindness.”
The decision came after a man lashed out at one of their young employees for simply informing him that they could not take his breakfast takeout order since the restaurant had not opened yet. Many other customers had also been screaming at employees, threatening to sue, arguing, yelling, and making team members cry.
A Massachusetts restaurant closed for a “day of kindness” after customers behaved rudely toward its employees. The verbal abuse had worsened since the eatery was allowed to fully reopen.— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 14, 2021
“I never thought it would become this,” the co-owner said. https://t.co/fRZLALEwnS
The co-owners stated that they were not trying to ruin anyone’s vacation or day off, but rather trying to give their staff a break. They emphasized that many of their employees are young and that this is their first job or summer job to help pay for college.
In the wake of this incident, other restaurateurs took to social media to share similar anecdotes, highlighting the strain that fully reopening has placed on an industry that has already been battered by the pandemic.
Cape Cod restaurant closes for "day of kindness" after customers' rude behavior made employees cry https://t.co/r8ALPVJT1i pic.twitter.com/ABfuV86J01— The Hill (@thehill) July 15, 2021
Felt Castellano explained that this behavior was not always the case, as customers were overwhelmingly kind to the staff pre-pandemic and even during the initial stage of the health crisis. However, ever since the state fully reopened restaurants, indignity after indignity has allegedly plagued Apt Cape Cod’s 24 employees, many of whom are young and also include the couple’s two children.
Restaurant closed for ‘day of kindness’ after staff abused by rude customers https://t.co/X2NLi3zW15— The Independent (@Independent) July 16, 2021
Felt Castellano believes that this problem rose from some customers assuming that things would be back to pre-pandemic “normal” without grasping that restaurants are still grappling with problems associated with staffing and supply shortages.
https://t.co/u1uszulwZw— Corby Kummer (@CKummer) July 17, 2021
Fed up, the Castellanos posted a sign outside their restaurant making their expectations clear: “If you cannot be kind, you cannot dine!” The new mantra joins Apt’s tone-setting motto of “Come as strangers, leave as friends."
The co-owners hope that customers will understand that restaurants are doing the best they can with the resources that are available to them right now. They emphasized that it is essential to remind people to be patient and kind with restaurant workers. Since their “day of kindness,” many customers and other businesses have expressed solidarity with Apt Cape Cod and its employees.