IHOP apologizes after Maine waitress made black teens pay for their meal upfront

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AUBURN, Maine — The International House of Pancakes restaurant chain has responded to a waitress asking some black teenagers to pay upfront for their meal at a Maine franchise by saying it has ‘‘zero tolerance’’ for discrimination.

IHOP president Darren Rebelez on Tuesday called the episode at a restaurant in Auburn an ‘‘isolated incident’’ and reiterated the restaurant is reaching out to the teenagers to apologize. He says ‘‘appropriate disciplinary actions’’ will be taken.

The Auburn location will be closed Thursday for training.


Local manager Melvin Escobar said the restaurant has had problems with teenagers walking out without paying, but he says the waitress’ actions were wrong.

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‘‘This is the first time it happened, and that will be the last time,” Escobar said.

IHOP restaurants are run by International House of Pancakes LLC, a subsidiary of DineEquity Inc.