Restaurant boss defends autistic waiter after customers asked not to be served by him

'Please do not book a table at Grenache' Mike Jennings wrote on Facebook 

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The Independent Online

A restaurant owner has come to the defence of one of his waiters after some customers said they did not want to be served by him because he was autistic. 

Mike Jennings, who runs Grenache in Walkden, Manchester, took to Facebook after being horrified at the way a table of customers treated his staff member. 

They asked not to be served by an autistic staff member and asked Mr Jennings, why he would employ him in such a restaurant. 


Thoughts on an incident which occurred last night....Totally unacceptable.Strongly worded but we need to get our point across.#equalopportunities

Posted by Grenache Restaurant on Thursday, 3 March 2016

The waiter, Andy, 45, who has autism, joined the restaurant three weeks ago. 

He juggles his job with his role as a registered carer for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. 

The post begins: "Today was spent rebuilding the confidence of one of our team, after being disrespected and socially discriminated by a table dining with us last night."

He then explains his recruting policy, saying: We employ staff based on experience, knowledge and passion for the job... NOT the colour of their skin, or the way they look, how many tattoos they have, their dress size, religious beliefs or illness. We do not discriminate!"

Finally, he delivers a clear message: "If you DO [discriminate]... Then please do not book a table at Grenache. You do not deserve our time effort or RESPECT!"

Andy told the Manchester Evening News: “I always feel that it’s automatically my fault and I go into defence mode. I always think I have to apologise.

“When I apologised to the customer she made such a fuss.

“The other table I was serving left a big tip so I knew it wasn’t me.

“I try not to take it personally because it has happened so many times in the past I have just got used to it.”

He said he was pleased with the support Mr Jennings and his partner Karen have given him.

He said: “Mike and Kaz have been so supportive saying it’s not my fault.

“The customers said they didn’t know I was autistic but I shouldn’t have to walk around with a t-shirt on explaining it. I should be treated fairly and exactly the same as everyone else in the restaurant.”

The Facebook post has been shared in support hundreds of times and advises anyone with similar views to these customers not to book a table at the restaurant.