Restaurant shuts down for ‘day of kindness’ after customers bring staff to tears

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A restaurant in Massachusetts has closed its doors for one day to give the staff a break after facing an onslaught of negative experiences from customers.

Apt Cape Cod, a farm-to-table restaurant in Brewster, is owned and operated by Brandi Felt Castellano and her wife Regina Felt Castellano. Kindness is an important concept to the two women; the restaurant has the motto “Comes as Strangers, Leave as Friends”

She wrote ina Facebook post earlier this month, “As many of our guests and patrons treat us with kindness and understanding, there have been an astronomical influx daily of those that do not, swearing at us, threatening to sue, arguing and yelling at my staff, making team members cry. This is an unacceptable way to treat any human.”

Ms Felt Castellano said this treatment from customers had led her to make the choice to shut up shop for a day so she could carry out maintenance on the shop and give her work force a “day of kindness”.

“So Chef Regina and I have decided to take the day and give the staff time deep clean the restaurant, train, and treat my staff to a day of kindness,” she continued.

The restaurant reopened the following day. However, she urged diners to be respectful to the people working in the restaurant, reminding customers it was a lot of the staff’s first jobs. They are also battling against some not ideal conditions, such as small kitchen space.

People left comments expressing their shock to hear about the experiences the Felt Castellanos and their workforce had been having.

Eric McNulty said, “Shame on those customers. Thank you for taking care of your staff. Can’t wait to come by and be nice at breakfast.”

Brandi Felt Castellano remarked that as the Covid-19 pandemic has gone on, the attitudes displayed by customers have gotten increasingly negative

“I would say that it is its own epidemic,” she told The New York Times about how the rudeness from customers had exceeded anything she had seen in 20 years in the industry.

Ms Felt Castellano also told the Times that other restaurant owners had thanked her for “saying what we’ve all been wanting to say”.

In the neighbouring state of Rhode Island, there have been attempts to get customers to be more gracious to the people serving them in hospitality settings. The Rhode Island Hospitality Association launched the campaign “Please Be Kind”. The president of the group, Dale J Venturini told the Times that social distancing measures have decreased people’s tolerance.

“I think it’s pent-up demand. People do not have the same patience that they may have had in the past, and I’m hoping that’s going to change,” he said.

The Independent reached out the Apt Cape Cod for comment.