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“It allows for arbitrary decisions:” Restaurant catching heat over dress code

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    ATLANTA (WGCL) — A restaurant in Buckhead is catching heat over perceived inconsistencies in its dress code.

Monica Johnson had brunch reservations on Sunday at Le Bilboquet. She wasn’t aware the restaurant had a business casual dress code and showed up in a track suit.

The restaurant lists the following statement on its website about attire:

To enhance the experience of your visit we ask that you respect our business casual dress code.

Collared shirts are suggested for gentlemen. Casualwear including baseball caps, flip-flops, slides, excessively revealing clothing, cut-offs, sweatpants and athletic attire are considered too informal for the dining experience we provide at Le Bilboquet.

“Should I have not been seated? No, I was not dressed in the dress code that they said they had but be fair and consistent,” she said.

Johnson and her group of friends left and had brunch at a nearby restaurant. She had let it go, but as she was walking back to her car, she passed Le Bilboquet and noticed several people on the restaurant’s patio in shorts, t-shirts, ripped jeans and sneakers.

“It doesn’t seem consistent because several of the violations of the policy that were cited to me seemed to be taking place,” she said.

Johnson spoke with the manager on duty, who she said acknowledged the discrepancies but suggested she speak with the general manger. She emailed the GM but thought he was dismissive.

“What I was expecting did not happen,” she said. “What I was expecting would be sorry that was your experience. We’re not perfect. We don’t always get things right.”

Online reviews of Le Bilboquet show a pattern of complains about the restaurant’s dress code. One critic claimed she was denied because she “was curvy and had leggings.” Another wrote that he wasn’t allowed in “due to my jeans having a few holes in them.” One man claimed he was told jackets were required and was escorted out of the restaurant.

“It’s about just being equitable in decision making,” Johnson said. “Have your policy, apply it but be fair about how you apply it because when you don’t do that, it feels like it’s personal thing about you, like you aren’t good enough.”

A spokesperson for Le Bilboquet sent CBS46 the following statement in response to the complaints:

We, at Le Bilboquet, do our best to accommodate all of our guests. However, we have received consistent complaints from our patrons regarding other guest’s wardrobe choices. As a result, to protect our restaurant’s culture, we installed a minimum standard in our “business casual” attire dress code which includes jeans and sneakers but prohibits baseball caps and athletic clothing including sweatpants and tops. Though the definition of “casual” is ever evolving, we strive to maintain our policy requirements daily, but it isn’t a perfect system.

“Maybe this is an opportunity to tighten up your policy because the way it is written, it allows for arbitrary decisions to be made about who should be accommodated and who should not,” Johnson replied.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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