Mother’s Day wait times spark scuffle outside Red Lobster in York, Pa.

Mother's Day wait times spark scuffle outside Red Lobster in York, Pa.



An altercation was videod by a bystander at Red Lobster near York, Pa. while a demand for a refund became violent. There was a long wait for take-out.

York Daily Record

A backlog of orders led to an altercation outside a Red Lobster in East York, Pa., on Mother’s Day. 

On Sunday, May 10, a video captured a few Red Lobster employees forcefully ushering a patron outside the restaurant’s main entrance. In the video, the customer demands a refund several times before swinging at an employee. 

“I was assaulted and have a whole crowd to see it,” the customer said in the video, which was recorded by a bystander. 

Springettsbury Township Police responded to a 4:26 p.m. call at Red Lobster on Sunday, said Lt. Tony Beam. 

“We did respond, we talked to the people involved,” he said.

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He said that when officers arrived, the employees seen in the video were there, but the woman in the green sweatshirt had left. Police spoke with her at a nearby location, he said.

As far as what kicked off the incident, Beam said that from watching the video, “She was upset because her food wasn’t ready. She wanted her money refunded.”

Beam said that the restaurant was closed to patrons; only employees were allowed inside.

“That restaurant’s closed; you’re not allowed in there,” he said. “My understanding is all food is brought outside of the building.”

He said that on Mother’s Day, there were additional reports of delays in restaurants preparing food.

Elsewhere, cars were backed up to pick up food at an Olive Garden in West Manchester Township, Pa.

The Red Lobster restaurant had a presumed three-hour wait for food, according to another bystander overhead in the video. 

“We ask for patience and understanding when that happens,” Beam said.

Red Lobster is owned by San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital, which confirmed the long wait times and the incident.

Nicole Bott, director of communications for Red Lobster, provided this statement regarding Sunday’s incident: 

“We understand that we may have disappointed some of our guests on Mother’s Day when due to COVID-19 and changes to our operations and staffing, we were not able to keep up with the demand at some of our locations. We apologize that some of our guests experienced long wait times, crowds, and in some cases, did not receive their orders. It is always our goal to provide our guests with a great seafood experience, and unfortunately, for some guests, we did not meet that goal on Sunday. We are working to better understand what occurred and how we can prevent it occurring in the future. That said, we do not tolerate violence for any reason in our restaurants. We expect our team members treat our guests with respect, and we expect our guests to treat our team members with respect in return. We are grateful our Manager and the guest involved were not seriously injured in the incident on Sunday.”    

Police are still investigating the incident, but no charges have been filed. 

Neil Strebig is a journalist for the York Daily Record and curator for the York on the Move newsletter. He can be reached at [email protected], 717-825-6582 or via Twitter @neilStrebig

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