By Hilary Kimuyu
J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen has become the butt on online rancor after one of its staff bluntly told a paying black customer that the establishment prefers whites customers.
A customer by the name Monique Kemboi wondered why she sometimes experiences ‘racist bias’ at the establishment and yet the establishment is in Kenya.
“Sometimes I have experienced racial bias where they attend to Whites and Indians faster than Africans which is saddening because we are in Kenya and in 2019 people, this should not be an issue but noted,” she posted on Instagram.
J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen, which has branches in Westlands and Karen, responded with a shocking reply.
“This exists all over Kenya not just J’s. It’s about tip culture not racism. All restaurant owners know this and it’s important to state the truth,” J’s staff responded.
The response has since been taken down by the establishment after it elicited a backlash.
The restaurant issued a statement on Thursday emphasizing their position on discriminatory behavior
“Notices will placed in our establishments stating our zero tolerance policy to any form discriminatory behavior or harassment of any form whether this maybe from any member of staff, patrons or any external security services deployed,” part of the statement read.
A post shared by J’s Westlands & Karen (@jsfreshbarandkitchen) on Jun 13, 2019 at 4:20am PDT
Their response still did not go down well with patrons who called them out more.
Yvonne Nyawira said; “Your response to Monique Kemboi is such an ignorant comment. So basically you are saying yes we are racist but it’s only because it’s for tips so it’s OK? Did you even think before coming here to respond in such a way? Have you thought about the countless Kenyans who spend money there until morning buying spirits, wines by the bottles and beers by the crates keeping your doors open so you can afford to pay staff and rent? Sustainability trumps your white folk who drink two beers all night. But you can go ahead and keep your tippers I’m out! ALSO, WE TIP!!! Not that this is the issue!”
While Ivy Kinuthia described how she also had a terrible time at the establishment.
“I used to visit Js regularly but had a horrible experience with security while visiting with a friend from another African country which resulted in extreme humiliation. I even asked to speak with the management and they literally dared me to do so. I made several phone calls that were not answered. What I got from that was that it was encouraged behavior. Please save us your non-discriminatory signs. Js is a self-hating, overpriced and non-inclusive venue. It’s been a year since I last visited and I am happy to say that I have no plans of returning. We need less businesses like you and I am glad to see that more people have caught on.”
“Your wait staff are entitled and require intensive training. It beggars belief that they treat Africans badly and still expect our tips (a concept that is as foreign as it is optional). It’s a fact that whites get preferential treatment in your establishment: In a country that is 99% black, you should be VERY ashamed of that. Do Better,” said Elayne Okaya.
A respondent by the name Yaw Twelve said; “You know I used to respect y’all until you responded to Monica. Being racist in your own country openly is one of the worst decisions you could make. Considering the economic instability of the currency, people have no time and patience for such kind of treatment. In a full African country with no predominance, you can afford to keep such a mindset… . I ain’t stepping near that place anytime soon.”