Popular Silver Lake restaurant Burgers Never Say Die is the latest to push back against what it says is an increasingly aggressive customer base during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Much like the issues that struck nearby Hugo’s Tacos in Atwater Village earlier this summer, Burgers Never Say Die says on its social media today that customers have been caught on camera not wearing masks (despite a mandate to do so), swearing at and insulting employees, and pushing over furniture when refused service. Many of the incidents have been caught on the restaurant’s security camera.
Per the Instagram post, which is up now (warning: the text contains from strong language), some customers who have ordered and/or are waiting to pick up food have “cursed at us,” are being “antagonistic about wearing a mask,” and have made “physical threats to our staff.” Others, the restaurant says, have used foul and even racist language against staff members and threatened to fight them. The post says that from now on, anyone not following the restaurant’s stated coronavirus guidelines to keep staff safe will be denied service and refunded, or removed from the property.
The statement goes on:
These are the realities we face every day working through a world-wide pandemic that has changed everything for all of us. If this post upsets you, or, if you don’t understand the importance of wearing a mask when in public, or the idea of common courtesy, being kind, being respectful, or being mindful of the people around you doing a world-wide pandemic, then please don’t visit our shop.
Back in June, Hugo’s Tacos in Atwater Village closed for a time as employees there made similar claims of customer harassment and general refusals to wear a mask. More recently, a bar manager in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego was attacked by a customer after telling them to wear a mask.
“There are people who don’t seem to have any regard for others around them,” owner Shawn Nee tells Eater by phone today. “There’s a lot of entitlement, I guess, concerning some customers.” Nee says that as the pandemic drags on, things have slowly gotten worse, and there have been limited instances of customers getting into altercations with one another over mask wearing and social distancing.
“There’s a lot going on, but it doesn’t change the fact that you need to treat others with kindness when you leave the house,” Nee adds. He says that Burgers Never Say Die has considered hiring a security person to watch the line, and that they are in talks with the building owner to potentially shut the front door permanently and instead opt for a built-in takeout window, at least for the duration of the pandemic. “It would limit customer access to staff, for sure,” says Nee. “I feel like at some point someone’s just going to jump the table and hurt somebody. It seems like it’s just been escalating.”
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