A seemingly harmless discount to parishioners who wanted a good meal after church backfired on a Ohio restaurant after a secular organization cried foul.
The owners of the Starters Cafe in Cheviot, Ohio, offered a 10-percent discount to those who presented that morning’s church bulletin at Sunday brunch.
“What we did was make an offer on social media to give a 10-percent discount to anyone that gave a church bulletin to us on Sunday for brunch,” Justin Watson said to WKRC.
Watson said there are at least seven churches within a mile of the restaurant and felt this would be an easy way to get more people in the door.
“We’ve had an outstanding response from the local community. There’s been a lot of support,” Watson said.
Watson, who opened the restaurant the first week of June, said the response was positive – at first.
“Nobody has said a word to me in any way, shape or form. So, as far as you know, thinking that that was any type of discriminatory act or anything offensive to anybody seemed completely absurd to me,” Watson said.
Then Watson said he received a negative Yelp review from a woman regarding the promotion, and a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatening legal action. The FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition of America and bills itself as a protector of “the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.”
“I realized there may actually be legal repercussions for this. So, in the end, I ultimately (ended up) recanting the offer and also issuing an apology to the lady,” Watson said to WKRC.
Watson said the woman accepted his apology and removed the Yelp review. Currently, the restaurant’s Yelp has an average five-star rating.
Watson told WKRC he is not particularly a religious man, but thought it would be a good marketing move.
“My busiest day of the week is Sunday, so, in my line of work, I’m not an incredibly religious person. It was just an attempt to drum up some business for my new business,” Watson said.
Read the rest at: FFRE