Restaurant Shuts Down for a Day After Customers Made Staff Cry

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The owners of Apt Cape Cod, a farm-to-table edifice successful Brewster, Mass., drew a enactment successful the soil against customers’ rude behaviour since being allowed to afloat reopen.

Brandi Felt Castellano, left, and Regina Felt Castellano are the owners of Apt Cape Cod.
Credit...via Brandi Felt Castellano

Neil Vigdor

July 14, 2021, 7:32 a.m. ET

The verbal maltreatment from rude customers got truthful bad, the owners of 1 farm-to-table edifice connected Cape Cod said, that immoderate of their employees cried.

The last indignity came past Thursday, erstwhile a antheral berated 1 of the eatery’s young employees for telling him that they could not instrumentality his meal takeout bid due to the fact that the edifice had not opened yet, said Brandi Felt Castellano, the co-owner of Apt Cape Cod successful Brewster, Mass.

“I ne'er thought it would go this,” she said.

So Ms. Felt Castellano and her spouse, Regina Felt Castellano, who is besides the caput cook and co-owner, announced connected Facebook that the edifice would adjacent for portion of that aforesaid time to dainty the restaurant’s employees to a “day of kindness.”

The determination drew wide attention successful the community and connected societal media. Other restaurateurs shared akin anecdotes that they said demonstrated the strain that afloat reopening was placing connected an manufacture that was battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of america didn’t past the pandemic,” Brandi Felt Castellano said of restaurants successful an interrogation connected Tuesday. “For radical to beryllium this assertive towards the ones that person is disheartening.”

This was not ever the case. Earlier successful the pandemic, customers overwhelmingly exhibited kindness, Ms. Felt Castellano said. The restaurant’s motto, which is posted connected its website, is “Come arsenic Strangers, Leave arsenic Friends.”

But since restaurants successful the authorities were allowed to afloat reopen connected May 29, the attraction of the eatery’s 24 employees, galore of whom are young and who see the couple’s 2 children, had gotten worse.

“It’s similar abuse,” she said. “It’s things that radical are saying that wouldn’t beryllium allowed to beryllium connected TV due to the fact that they would beryllium bleeped. People are ever rude to edifice workers, but this acold exceeds thing I’ve seen successful my 20 years.”

Ms. Felt Castellano, 39, said that immoderate customers had assumed that it would beryllium concern arsenic usual, but had not grasped that restaurants were inactive grappling with staffing and proviso shortages. That tin mean that hold times are longer and that immoderate items connected the paper are not available, which she said has been a root of immoderate of the verbal maltreatment toward the restaurant’s employees. When a radical of diners didn’t get the array that they had requested, she said, they threatened to sue.

“I would accidental that it is its ain epidemic,” she said.

The restaurant’s Facebook station resonated with galore radical online, who condemned the boorish behavior.

“Having conscionable travel retired of the past 15 months, you would deliberation radical would beryllium grateful to conscionable beryllium capable to bask a repast out,” wrote 1 Facebook commenter, who identified himself arsenic David Degan and who primitively comes from Buzzards Bay, Mass. “So bittersweet that overmuch of nine has gone backmost to being unkind and entitled.”

Tyler Hadfield, a co-owner of The Rail, a edifice successful Orleans, Mass., the adjacent municipality from Brewster, said successful an interrogation connected Tuesday that helium had experienced akin issues astatine the eatery that helium and his brother, Cam Hadfield, opened this spring.

Last week, helium said, a radical of diners took retired their frustrations connected his employees aft having to hold 40 minutes for a array and adjacent longer due to the fact that of a machine problem. They asked for the nutrient to beryllium boxed up aft it had been brought to the array and past dumped the contents of the full to-go container successful beforehand of the edifice erstwhile they left, helium said.

“That’s conscionable astir the worst behaviour I’ve ever seen,” helium said.

As restaurants accommodate to the changing contours of the pandemic, Mr. Hadfield, 27, said that helium wishes that customers would amusement much patience for the radical cooking their meals and serving them.

“Giving america a small grace to travel from zero to 60 would beryllium nice,” helium said.

Next doorway to Massachusetts successful Rhode Island, the caput of the state’s hospitality relation said successful an interrogation connected Tuesday that respective edifice owners had precocious complained to her astir customers mistreating their employees. One of them, she said, had expressed concerns that his workers mightiness locomotion disconnected the job. She besides recalled an occurrence past summertime erstwhile an crystal pick store successful the authorities closed 1 of its locations for the remainder of the play due to the fact that of rude customers.

“I deliberation we conscionable request to punctual radical that we are each doing the champion we tin with the resources that are disposable to america close now,” said Dale J. Venturini, the president and main enforcement of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. “I deliberation it’s pent-up demand. People bash not person the aforesaid patience that they whitethorn person had successful the past, and I’m hoping that’s going to change.”

Ms. Venturini said that the association, which represents immoderate 900 restaurants and hotels, had precocious started a “Please Be Kind” run to assistance businesses and their employees. It includes signs that restaurants tin station asking for customers’ knowing amid a staffing shortage and a poster with links to intelligence wellness resources for hospitality workers.

After much than a twelvemonth of eating and drinking astatine home, Ms. Venturini said, immoderate edifice patrons had changed their expectations. In 1 lighthearted example, she said that 1 had complained to his bartender that determination was nary intoxicant successful his drink.

“We learned that helium was making himself a triple astatine home,” she said, continuing, “But determination are different times erstwhile that turns nasty. They spot an bare array and they don’t recognize wherefore I can’t beryllium down.”

Ms. Felt Castellano said that galore of her customers and different businesses expressed solidarity with her edifice and its employees aft announcing that the eatery would adjacent for portion of Thursday.

One regular lawsuit dropped disconnected a acquisition paper for the restaurant’s employees to usage astatine a section crystal pick shop, portion a parasail and Jet Ski store successful the adjacent municipality offered a time of amusive connected them, she said.

“A batch of people,” Ms. Felt Castellano said, “have been like, ‘Thanks for saying what we’ve each been wanting to say.’ ”

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