IHOP server tells black teenagers to pay up before they eat

AUBURN, Maine — A server at a Maine IHOP restaurant asked a group of black teenagers to pay upfront for their meal, prompting the manager to issue a public apology.

Manager Melvin Escobar told the Sun Journal newspaper that "this is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time."

What happened on Sunday at the Auburn IHOP came to the attention of Escobar after a young man from Monmouth posted about it on Facebook.

Escobar said he believed the server's actions were not racially motivated but she was worried the kids would duck out on the $100 bill. The restaurant recently had some problems with teenagers walking out without paying, he said.

"IHOP and our franchisees strive to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this isolated incident is not reflective of that commitment nor tolerated," the company said in a statement Monday night. "The franchisee of this location is in the process of reaching out directly to the affected guests to apologize for an individual team member's misguided actions as well as using this as an opportunity to underscore the values we uphold as a brand with his entire team."

IHOP restaurants are franchised and run by International House of Pancakes LLC, a subsidiary of DineEquity Inc.

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Information from: Sun-Journal, http://www.sunjournal.com

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