The owner of a North Carolina Zaxby's is speaking out after complaints that his employees mistreated two sheriff's deputies.
He wants to meet one-on-one with the sheriff about what happened as upset customers said they won’t return to the restaurant in Shelby until the incident is addressed.
The owner of the franchise said it took a long time to build a good relationship with the community and he wants to keep that good reputation, both with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and with the people in the community.
"Me, my team, my family, all take this incident extremely seriously," franchise owner Neil Glezen said.
He has been at the Zaxby's almost around the clock since the incident, which went viral on Facebook.
Two Cleveland County deputies went to the restaurant for lunch Sunday and were heckled by employees in the kitchen, according to a post by one of those deputies.
The post said their food was coated with sauce so spicy it burned to the touch.
"We are going to do whatever we have to do to improve that relationship going forward," Glezen said.
He said they are finishing an internal investigation, but hasn't said what happened to the employees.
"If it did happen, then the employees need to be fired on the spot," resident Tony Cleveland said.
Cleveland believes the employees were angry over police shooting deaths last week in Louisiana and Minnesota.
"Stuff that's happened 100 miles away has nothing to do with your immediate community," Cleveland said.
The post on Facebook frustrated regular Zaxby's customer Kim McDaniels.
"I'm not happy with the behavior of the young adults that were in the kitchen slandering our local law enforcement," McDaniels said.
She refused to eat at Zaxby's on Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office did not return calls from WSOC-TV on Tuesday.
“The Zaxby’s located at 2005 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby, N.C. is independently owned and operated by a franchisee. It is our goal to always provide every guest with exceptional service.
Upon notification of this incident we launched an internal investigation with our management team and are working quickly to resolve this issue.”
Capt. Joel Shores took down his original Facebook post late Monday.
He wrote another post that read, "We have made contact with the appropriate folks at Zaxby's. They have told us it will be fully investigated and are extremely sorry that this occurred. They were very apologetic. We are not going to judge an entire franchise based on a couple employees. That is what is happening to us in law enforcement and we are above that! Zaxby's cannot be judged on a few bad apples. Just pray for our nation."
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