Mike Colgan/KCBS Radio

Santa Clara Mayor Calls For Investigation Into Alleged Incident At Denny's

December 11, 2018 - 8:38 am

SANTA CLARA — The mayor of Santa Clara said she is disturbed by claims from a group of elderly Korean American customers who say they were denied service at a Denny's restaurant in the city.

The diners, including Army veteran Andrew Koh, told KCBS Radio last week that they were told to leave by the restaurant's manager who became verbally abusive when the group of 10 took too long to order food on Easter Sunday. 

'That does not define who we are in this city and that should not be tolerated at all when a legitimate customer comes in for service," said Lisa Gilmor, Santa Clara's mayor, after viewing a video about the customers' complaint. 

Gilmor said she's instructed the city manager to investigate the claims. California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing has previously requested mediation between the restaurant and customers.

In a statement provided to KCBS Radio, Denny's expressed a willingness to meet with the customers, who say they want only an apology and are not seeking money. 

"Denny’s is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all our guests. Denny’s has not refused a meeting with Mr. Koh nor is the Denny’s franchise in Santa Clara aware of a request by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to meet with Mr. Koh before today," the statement said. "Denny’s previously reached out to Mr. Koh in April and would be happy to meet with him and the DFEH to discuss the matter.”

But attorney Richard Konda from the Asian Law Alliance, who represents the customers, said he's received no response from a letter and calls to the company. 

There has, however, been an outpouring of public support for his clients, he said. 

"It's one of those kinds of incidents where people can identify with being treated unfairly," said Konda.

Update: This story has been revised to include Denny's complete statement about the dispute.