Bunkers Sports Bar owners take back apology to mom, say video does not support her version of baby-food dispute

Restaurant owners: “Please think before you post. Words do matter. Cyber bullying and slander (are) never acceptable.”


The owner of a popular Dayton-area restaurant and bar says she did not have correct information when she apologized to a local mother following an incident at the restaurant involving outside food. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Popular sports bar apologizes to mom for kerfuffle over baby food 

“In reviewing all the information, we should have handled the situation differently. We wouldn’t have apologized for something which did not take place. My staff handled the situation correctly, appropriately and respectfully and for that, I apologize to them for the names they were called on social media and the subsequent social media bullying and backlash which ensued,” Leann Kreusch McLaughlin and Mary Lou Kreusch, the owners of Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill in Vandalia, said in a statement provided to this news organization. 

>> Lawsuit claims local coffee shop used fraud, lies to snag retail space

See complete statement below. 

McLaughlin said she did not have all pertinent information when she apologized to customer and Vandalia resident Whitney Hague and her family. 

Hague had claimed in Facebook post that a Bunkers manager confronted her family after her 1-year-old daughter’s grandfather prepared to feed the toddler Gerber Mac and cheese when they visited the restaurant on July 28.

Questioned about her Facebook post about the incident, Hague told this news organization that four members of her family left the eatery located at 893 E. National Road in Vandalia embarrassed. 

>> RELATED: Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining

 

“She said, ‘Sir, If you open that, I am going to ask you to leave,” Hague told this news organization. 

Bunkers apologized to Hague on Facebook, and McLaughlin told us she did the same by phone. She explained that the restaurant’s no outside food policy does not apply to babies and other special circumstances. 

Both Hague and the restaurant have removed Facebook posts about the incident.

McLaughlin now says she should not have issued the apology because the information presented to her by the customer did not match the facts as described by her staff, and which were later seen on a security video recording. 

In their statement vetted by attorney Heather Duwel-Mehl, McLaughlin and her mother and business partner call Hague’s since-deleted Facebook post misleading, and that the baby food was brought into the restaurant in a KFC container. 

 “Gerber baby food was never once visible. The only thing visible were KFC containers the family had in their hand upon walking in the restaurant. The still photo from the restaurant’s security cameras clearly show takeout containers, not Gerber food containers as previously portrayed,” the statement said.

Hague did not return a phone call seeking comment. 

McLaughlin and Kreusch said families are welcomed in their restaurant.

“We want our customers to know we openly support a family environment. We also want to support our staff and thank them for trying to handle such a chaotic situation with respect and professionalism,” the statement says. 

The owners say they learned a valuable lesson about the power of social media.

“Never allow social media pressure to compromise your values,” the statement says. 

“With so many on social media and public opinions being so highly discussed, Bunkers wants to send an important message. Never post to social media directly following an emotional situation. Please think before you post. Words do matter. Cyber bullying and slander (are) never acceptable.”

>> Complete lineup of 2018 concerts at the brand new Levitt Pavilion in downtown Dayton

Complete statement from Bunkers 

Recently, an event has hit local and national news as well as social media regarding an incident with Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill and a family. The incident occurred when the family brought food into the local restaurant packaged in KFC containers. Upon notification of the restaurant’s no outside food policy, the family abruptly left the restaurant and turned to social media by writing a misleading post. After the post and news articles, numerous reports occurred on social media portraying the business as anti-baby and anti-family friendly and criticized the way the situation was handled. 

Counsel for Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill Attorney Heather Duwel-Mehl with the firm Duwel Law attempted to help the parties come together and jointly address the situation in a positive manner. In the end, it wasn’t possible. Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill at no time ever denied a patron service nor kicked them out of their establishment due to bringing in baby food, puffs or formula. Gerber baby food was never once visible. The only thing visible were KFC containers the family had in their hand upon walking in the restaurant. The still photo from the restaurant’s security cameras clearly show takeout containers, not Gerber food containers as previously portrayed. 

The owners of Bunkers Sports Bar and Grill, Leann Kreusch McLaughlin and Mary Lou Kreusch state they, just like many other restaurants, have a no outside food or drink policy. This is a common sense policy which most restaurants implement. Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill’s policy does not apply to baby food, baby bottles, baby puffs or food for individuals with food allergies. Had dialog taken place or the baby food been in its original packaging, this situation would have been avoided. 

Our business has received negative statements and anti-baby commentary due to a misrepresentation of a situation on a Facebook post. As owners, we feel strongly that rebutting such information is important. We want our customers to know we openly support a family environment. We also want to support our staff and thank them for trying to handle such a chaotic situation with respect and professionalism. 

We learned an extremely valuable lesson throughout this entire process. Never allow social media pressure to compromise your values. Three hours after the initial post on social media, Bunkers apologized to (the mother) and her family for the way she was treated before having all the facts. In reviewing all the information, we should have handled the situation differently. We wouldn’t have apologized for something which did not take place. My staff handled the situation correctly, appropriately and respectfully and for that, I apologize to them for the names they were called on social media and the subsequent social media bullying and backlash which ensued. 

With so many on social media and public opinions being so highly discussed, Bunkers wants to send an important message. Never post to social media directly following an emotional situation. Please think before you post. Words do matter. Cyber bullying and slander is never acceptable.”

 

  


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food & Dining

Fresh summer tomatoes take classic Southern red rice to the next level
Fresh summer tomatoes take classic Southern red rice to the next level

The earliest designs on summer tomatoes are always the raw ones: tomato sandwiches, tomato salads, tomatoes peeled and sliced and fanned out on a platter, glistening like something more carnal than vegetal. They are the preparations for which the supermarket counterpart offers no fair approximation, the ones the tomato righteous may forgo eight or...
Is the era of the white male food critic coming to an end?
Is the era of the white male food critic coming to an end?

Belmar Meat Market sits at the corner of Harrison and 24th streets in the Mission District, a historically Latino neighborhood that is fighting the relentless creep of gentrification. In the back of the market, there's a small kitchen, where employees prepare and sell menudo, burritos and heavenly little tacos wrapped in freshly pressed and griddled...
‘We don’t want you to live here’: 50 years ago, the power to fight housing discrimination was granted
‘We don’t want you to live here’: 50 years ago, the power to fight housing discrimination was granted

The people depicted in Alice Gatewood Waddell’s “Dance to The MOVEMENT” are celebrating, but they aren’t victorious... yet.  “It’s not a celebration of something that is a done deal,” the Kentucky-based artist said of the piece she created for the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s 25th...
What Had Happened Was podcast: Inside Dayton’s 1992 Christmas Killings 
What Had Happened Was podcast: Inside Dayton’s 1992 Christmas Killings 

Deep wounds are hard to heal. Some wounds never completely heal.  More than 25 years ago, a gang of youth led by a 16-year-old girl described as a cold-hearted terrorist, left a lasting scar on Dayton around Christmas. What Had Happened Was podcast host Amelia Robinson sat down with retired Dayton police Sgt. Stephen C. Grismer, educator ...
Chemical engineer turned baker offers tips for bread
Chemical engineer turned baker offers tips for bread

The smell of freshly baked treats greets patrons as they step into the newly opened Village Oven at 1407 Union St., in Brunswick.  The brand new bistro, just five weeks in operation, was formerly the site of a car wash, but has found new life as a Euro-inspired cafe. The latest locale to join the ranks of the downtown business is the brain child...
More Stories