Aretha Franklin Gets in Tiff With Johnny Rockets Waitress

Releases statement about 'rude, nasty' server
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2014 10:44 AM CDT
Aretha Franklin Gets in Tiff With Johnny Rockets Waitress
In a May 29, 2014 photo, Aretha Franklin looks up while on stage during Harvard University commencement ceremonies, in Cambridge, Mass., where she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree.   (Steven Senne)

Do not mess with the Queen of Soul. That's the lesson a waitress at a Johnny Rockets on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls probably learned this week, after Aretha Franklin released a statement complaining about the server's "very rude, unprofessional, and nasty" behavior Tuesday night. Franklin ordered a hamburger to go after performing a sold-out show, her spokesperson says, as per the AP. But when she sat down to wait for her meal at an empty table—one of many in the restaurant at the time, she tells the New York Daily News—the waitress yelled at Franklin, according to the singer's rep.

The server told her, "You can't sit there" because Franklin wasn't eating in, Franklin says. But when Franklin said, "OK, I'll have it here," the server told her, "You can’t have it here because we’ve already rang you up as a takeout customer," the singer recalls. Then, she says, the waitress told her to stand outside the restaurant's perimeter, in a food court area. "I got up and walked out," Franklin says. "I said, 'You should eat it yourself and you pay for it.'" Pulling rank didn't appear to help: "My nephew mentioned to her who I was," Franklin says, "and she said she didn’t care who I was." A Johnny Rockets spokesperson says the employee is "new and very young," and that the franchise owner is sorry and has spoken to the worker to clarify the store's takeout policies. (Back in April, Franklin sued a satire site for a fake story about her getting into a fistfight with Patti LaBelle.)

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