A teenager who was told to leave a North Carolina Domino’s says the request was racist, but the company said it was just policy.
Kni’yah Harris-Nickens, 15, was at a Domino’s in Clayton with a group of friends last week when an employee told the teens to leave even though they ordered 16 Parmesan bites to share, according to ABC11, the News & Observer’s media partner.
Harris-Nickens used her phone to record the incident, which she and her mother told ABC11 was an act of racism.
But Domino’s says the teens were asked to leave because of the restaurant’s anti-loitering policy.
The restaurant, which is in a residential area, has had issues with “unaccompanied teenagers” loitering in and around the restaurant and causing problems for other customers and for business, Domino’s said in a statement.
The company also said the group of teens had not just received their food and had been in the store for more than 30 minutes, according to the statement.
In the video, an employee at the restaurant asks the group if they ordered anything else and one of the teens says no.
“Then I’m going to have to ask y’all to leave,” the employee said.
“Why are y’all kicking people out,” one of the teens can be heard asking. “We can’t sit here?”
“Because a 16-piece parm bite is only supposed to feed one person and we have a sign that says no loitering,” he said.
The employee then threatens to call the police.
Harris-Nickens told ABC11 that this isn’t the first time this has happened, and that the same employee asked her and two of her friends to leave last month after they had ordered food.
But Domino’s said in the statement it had “no knowledge” of that incident.
“I feel like, I mean it’s racist,” the teen told ABC11.
Harris-Nickens’ mom, Ticca Harris, complained to Domino’s about what happened, ABC11 reported.
“We understand and appreciate Ms. Harris’ concern about her daughter,” the company’s statement said. “Domino’s had no intention of singling out her daughter and her friends. Her daughter and friends were well behaved while in the store.”
Storm Rutcho, director of store operations and management, said the store opened in May 2015 and has since “taken a lot of abuse by the kids,” which is why it implemented an anti-loitering rule.
He said the teens left one of their friends outside because he was banned from the restaurant for “boxing” in the lobby and damaging the thermostat.
He said the employees acted professionally during the incident and were doing their job.
But Harris told ABC11 her daughter should’ve been allowed to stay.
“If I’m coming in there and I’m giving you money for something that I’m about to eat, I’m about to share, you shouldn’t tell somebody that they need to leave,” Harris said, according to ABC11. “You need to change your dining policy.”