Torchy’s Tacos Addresses Nazi Diner Incident with Anti-Hate Message, New Training Procedures
Torchy’s Tacos is assessing its procedures this week after customers encountered a group of Nazi-clad diners at a Fort Worth, Texas, restaurant on Sunday, a company official said Wednesday.
The 116-unit fast-casual brand, based in Austin, Texas, was reevaluating procedures after a customer posted a TikTok of the group, the official said.
“The decision was made to deescalate, remove them from the restaurant and bar reentry just to keep our guests and team members safe,” said Morgan Hendrix, who leads Torchy’s brand marketing and partnerships, in an interview Wednesday.
The company is also reevaluating training of managers and staff in wake of the incident, she said.
“This has brought up questions in terms of operations, in terms of how we function,” Hendrix said. “How does a restaurant move forward? And how do you treat, train, talk about sorts of different types of people that come through on the regular?”
Jessica Gregorio, the woman who posted the TikTok video viewed more than 350,000 times, told the Star-Telegram newspaper that the group of about 10 people was had finished eating when she walked into the restaurant with her mother. She initially thought they were in costume. Their Nazi paraphernalia made Gregorio extremely uncomfortable, she said.
Hendrix said the company was taking unspecified security precautions.
“This is a bigger conversation that we’re all having now internally and looking at not only safety precautions but at what can actually be done,” she said, such as escalating the incident to management or calling in police.
“We keep the safety of our guests and our team members at the forefront,” Hendrix said. “So that’s the No. 1 question right now.”
The company was quick to respond on social media, she added, because that reflects the ethos of the company.
On TikTok, the company replied to the posted video: “We are taking this matter extremely seriously. We want to be very clear that we will not and do not stand for hate.”
On X, what is formerly known as Twitter, the company added: “In a difficult situation, our team acted to forst ensure the safety of the other guests and our team members. When the group tried to come back, they were not allowed.”
The company also added: “[Expletive] HATE.”
“Our team did not initially recognize the affiliation of the group,” Hendrix said. “This is a learning moment for us. I don’t think a lot of people have gone through any college course that teach you how to handle a hate group.”
The company has reached out to the woman who recorded the video as well as team members at the restaurant, she said, adding that CEO Mike Rypka also sent a note about the situation to employees systemwide.
A group dressed in Nazi clothing was reported putting anti-Semitic material on cars at Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Sunday, the same day people wearing similar paraphernalia were videoed eating at a the restaurant.