Applebees: Give Chelsea Welch her job back
Chelsea Welch was a waitress at an Applebee's Restaurant in the St. Louis, MO area and was fired for posting a receipt online showing an angry diner's note due to a mandatory tip. She did not mean any harm in posting. She just thought it was odd and funny and some of the people online that saw it would find it amusing. When the pastor approached management at Applebee's over it being posted online and going viral online because of it making Yahoo! News, she was fired. Here is the story from Yahoo! News: A person claiming to be a pastor apparently tried to stiff a waiter on a tip, explaining that their work for God absolved them of having to leave one. A photo of the receipt, posted to Reddit.com, shows a bill for $34.93 that included an automatic 18 percent gratuity ($6.29) above a blank space for an additional tip. "I give God 10%," the diner wrote on the receipt, scratching out the automatic tip. "Why do you get 18?" The person then wrote "Pastor" above their signature, and an emphatic "0" where the additional tip would be. The Reddit user who submitted the image explained in the comments section that the receipt was part of a total bill of over $200 for a party of 20, which is why the gratuity was automatically added. “Parties up to eight ... may tip whatever they’d like, but larger parties receive an automatic gratuity," the server wrote. "It’s in the computer, it’s not something I do.” The server added: “They had no problem with my service, and told me I was great. They just didn’t want to pay when the time came.” [Update: Applebee’s fires waitress who posted receipt] Scribbling notes on receipts has become something of a trend. Earlier this month, the manager of a North Carolina Red Robin surprised an overdue pregnant woman by comping her meal. “Once seated, a manager came up to us and started talking,” the woman's husband told Consumerist. “He was extremely friendly and jokingly asked my wife if this was her last meal before heading to the hospital." When the check came, a note from the manager next to her portion of the bill read: "MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC." “It was a pleasant surprise and made my tired-of-being-pregnant wife a little more cheery," the man said. An Applebee's waitress who posted a receipt with a note from a pastor complaining about the automatic gratuity added to the bill on the Internet was fired on Wednesday after the pastor complained to her manager. Chelsea Welch, the waitress, wrote in an email to Yahoo News that the pastor (who has since been identified as Alois Bell) told Welch's manager at the St. Louis-area Applebee's that the ensuing firestorm had "ruined" her reputation. "I give God 10%," Bell wrote on the receipt, scratching out the automatic tip and scribbling in an emphatic "0" where the additional tip would be. "Why do you get 18?" (There were more than eight people in Bell's party, triggering the auto-tip.) Welch, who snapped a photo of the bill from a fellow server and uploaded to Reddit, defended her right to post the receipt. "I thought the note was insulting, but also comical," she told Consumerist.com. "And I thought other users would find it entertaining.” Bell, a pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church, was not amused, and she called Welch's manager to complain. “[It was] a lapse in my character and judgment,” Bell told the Smoking Gun, adding she did not expect her easily recognizable signature would be, as her friend informed her, “all over Yahoo. You went viral!” [Related: Pastor leaves waiter note on receipt: ‘I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?’] “My heart is really broken,” Bell added. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” A spokesman for Applebee’s said it apologized to Bell for violating her "right to privacy" and confirmed that Welch “is no longer employed by the franchise." Welch was surprised that Applebee's fired her, "especially because there was nothing specific in the employee handbook admonishing this behavior." "I had no intention of starting a witch hunt or hurting anyone. I just wanted to share a picture I found interesting," she said. “I come home exhausted, sore, burnt, dirty and blistered on a good day. And after all that, I can be fired for ‘embarrassing’ someone who directly insults their server on religious grounds.” Welch also isn't buying Bell's embarrassment. “If this person wrote the note, obviously they wanted it seen by someone," she said. “I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the Big Man used as reasoning."
If you would like to contact Applebee's other than just your petition letter being automatically sent to their corporate office, DineEquity, Inc., here is the contact info that you need:
Applebee's Services, Inc.
8140 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64114
Monday – Friday: 7am–7pm CST
Also, here is the information for DineEquity, Inc. which owns Applebee's and IHOP (International House of Pancakes).
450 N. Brand Blvd., 7th Floor
Glendale, California 91203-4415