Over the weekend, Hilda and Jesse, a new all-day breakfast spot in North Beach, refused to serve three members of the San Francisco Police Department, as now reported by multiple media outlets, and even Fox. The restaurant’s owners originally posted on Instagram, saying that on Friday, December 3, they seated three police officers in uniform, but that “our staff felt uncomfortable with the presence of their multiple weapons,” and that they “politely asked them to leave.” Chief of police William Scott responded on Twitter, saying he encourages officers to support local businesses and respects the wishes of the restaurant, even though he found them “discouraging and personally disappointing.”
How did that work out for them? Shockingly, for once the social media backlash ran in the correct direction:
The restaurant received a social media storm: As of publication time, even though it only opened a little more than a month ago, Hilda and Jesse has received nearly a thousand reviews on Yelp, with a one-star rating average. The page is currently frozen due to unusual activity. The owners subsequently apologized on Instagram, saying “we made a mistake” and “handled this badly,” and apologized to the SFPD. In an interview with ABC7, co-owner Rachel Sillcocks said, “It’s not about the fact that we are anti police. It’s about the fact that we do not allow weapons in our restaurant. We were uncomfortable, and so we politely asked them to leave. It has nothing to do with the fact that they were officers, and everything to do with the fact that they were carrying guns.”
I found the reference to “the fact that we are anti police” interesting, but never mind that. My question is: if this was about the safety of your employees, and not about preening . . . why did you boast about it on Instagram?
Lady, you thought you were going to be applauded for this. After all, your restaurant is located in San Francisco. But apparently, a city tired of smash-and-grabs and a defense attorney for a D.A. had a different thought.
Gee. That’s too bad.
The apology is insincere. I will not be eating at this place. And I am not a big fan of mob tactics, including social media mob tactics. That said, if a mob is going to form, I am heartened (and surprised) to see a social media mob with common sense.