leguan toronto

Toronto restaurant owner fires back at two-star review calling staff member 'hijabi girl'

Toronto restaurants sometimes get two-star reviews, but a local owner had a detailed response for one calling a staff member "hijabi girl."

"I've mentioned that hijabi girl twice that I want the chicken burger (that's $10 on the menu) with no spice at all," reads a two-star review posted about chicken sandwich spot Leguan.

"I've repeated to confirm that the hijabi girl heard me well. Later on, I've received the burger that was still spice on it."

The review goes on to say how the reviewer complained about the spice on the burger, was informed of another option with no spice and that they should have been told about it earlier, and appears to refer to the owner as "the guy." The review concludes with the person saying they're "not recommending this place ever again."

The owner of Leguan posted a screenshot of the review and his response, saying that not only do their staff know the menu well, there are also chili symbols on the menu that indicate the spice level of items.

He says he wasn't there when the original item was ordered, but was present when the reviewer came back complaining, and says that the person had requested a "milder version" of a spicy sandwich, which they had talked through with the staff member and agreed on ordering.

"It saddens me as an entrepreneur that you feel your money was wasted on us. I should have possessed greater insight to offer you a refund or at least a replacement sandwich. For that I apologize," reads the restaurant owner's response.

"However, as a proud Guyanese Canadian that has the privilege to live in such a multicultural country I cannot condone your discriminatory views on my beloved staff member! Was it really necessary to refer to her as the 'hajabi girl' on a platform that is more utilized as a precursor to even considering dining at a restaurant? I find it odd you then referred to me as 'the guy.'"

The response concludes with the owner saying they would issue a refund even though they have no other way of contacting the reviewer.

"I was deeply troubled by this review. It would have been okay if this individual simply didn't like our food, but the diction and syntax used was incredibly disrespectful toward my staff," Leguan owner Josh Persaud tells blogTO.

He says the person actually had gotten food from Leguan on Saturday and returned on Sunday, and it was the order on Sunday that had issues.

"It hit home on multiple levels. This is her first job and she has done such a tremendous job at learning the various facets of customer service. She's kind, hard working and knowledgeable about our business," says Persaud.

"To see someone disrespect her in an intersectional discriminatory manner made me livid. Perhaps it was the way I interpreted the review, but I felt compelled to respond to the review to express my disapproval of the notions this individual put forward. Perhaps they are unaware of the way their language is used, but it wasn't acceptable."

Going forward, they're planning on redirecting patrons to the visual guide of the menu so communication is clear on what's included in their sandwiches.

"My staff member said 'wow' when I had informed her. She didn't know how to respond. She's so kind though, that she didn't even give it a second thought. I feel as though I've failed her as an employer because that situation shouldn't have affected her in this manner," says Persaud.

"Clearly there was miscommunication with the order. We truly value our patrons and want to ensure they have the best possible experience."

It's pretty clear that beyond a refund, this disrespectful customer got a major dressing down.

Lead photo by

Leguan


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