Aretha Franklin, Johnny Rockets Employee Have Beef, Singer Ordered Not to Sit Inside Restaurant

By Kevin Rutherford

Aretha Franklin really, really likes hamburger chain Johnny Rockets, so much so that she made a recent, customary stop at one of its restaurants in Niagara Falls, Canada.

But rather than getting a hero’s welcome or even getting a quick bite to eat without any attention, Franklin was reportedly scorned by an employee who simply didn’t like where she was sitting.

The New York Daily News reports that Franklin, after performing in Lewiston, N.Y., on July 22, stopped by the restaurant and ordered takeout. She sat at one of the booths to wait for her order to be completed but was approached by an employee who told her she couldn’t sit there.

“I said, ‘Excuse me, what do you mean I can’t sit here?” Franklin told the Daily News, the worker responding that she was seated in a booth at which only dine-in patrons could eat.

Related: Aretha Franklin’s Next Album Includes Andre 3000-Produced Tracks, Possible Adele Cover

But when she decided she’d just eat there instead to avoid issue, the employee shot her down again, because her bill was processed as takeout.

According to Franklin, she was ordered to stand outside the perimeter of the restaurant to wait, at which point the legendary singer gave up and told the worker that she “should eat it yourself and you pay for it.”

Apparently Franklin’s nephew was there and tried to reason with the employee and tell her who she was, but the employee did not budge.

Johnny Rockets later noted in a statement that it was sorry for the incident, and that the employee was new.

“She’s a public servant and she shouldn’t speak that way to anybody, celebrities or non-celebrities,” Franklin said, though she added that she doesn’t blame the chain as a whole and will continue to eat there.

Franklin has just a handful of more shows currently planned for 2014, the next one coming in Columbus, Ohio, on July 31.


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