Eatery Offers 10% Discount if You Bring Church Bulletin; Then Things Went Very Wrong

July 20, 2018Jul 20, 2018

A restaurant in a Cincinnati, Ohio suburb was compelled to shut down a popular discount offer aimed at boosting Sunday morning business all because one liberal complained.

According to local CBS affiliate WKRC Cincinnati, when the new owners of Starters Cafe in Cheviot reopened the diner in June, they realized it would make financial sense to encourage the congregations of the several churches surrounding their establishment to darken their doors for a Sunday morning meal.

They came up with a creative idea to do just that, and it worked incredibly well.

What did they do? They posted a message on Facebook informing “all church goers, parishioners, and members of the congregation” from any church anywhere to enjoy a Sunday breakfast or brunch at a 10 percent discount. All customers had to do to get the discount was to bring in their church’s bulletin.

“We've had an outstanding response from the local community,” said co-owner Justin Watson. “There's been a lot of support.”

But then a familiar organization decided to throw cold water over everyone’s fun. According to Fox News, a woman from the Freedom From Religion Foundation accused Starters Cafe of discriminating against non-churchgoers.

Watson was a bit shocked by the accusation, especially since he’s not even a churchgoer himself.

“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,” he explained.

Afraid he might face legal action, Watson shut down his discount offer and apologized to the atheist activist. Civil rights attorney Megan Fields, though, isn’t convinced he needed to.

She said the offer may not be discriminatory from a legal stance because people weren’t being barred from the restaurant because they didn’t go to church that day. They simply didn’t get the discount.

As for the massive number of restaurants that offer selective discounts to senior citizens and to women on ladies’ night, Fields said, "The courts haven't agreed on how they come out on that. Some say that is discrimination because you're offering an advantage to, women for example, to the exclusion of men. Others are saying this is simply a promotion and that it's not intended to discriminate.”

Starters Cafe is now opening the discount for everyone who comes in between noon and four on Sundays. But many people, including some atheists, were not happy that the owners were pressured into changing how they conduct their own offers.

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