East Coast Foods, the parent company of Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles, has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles is a Los Angeles institution that has been serving soul food to the surrounding area since 1975. Though the original was founded in Long Beach by Herb Hudson, there are now six locations spread throughout Los Angeles County and one in Orange County.
One of the debts of the company involves Daniel Beasley of Compton. He was a former employee of the Pico location and sued the company in 2013 for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. According to the suit, Hispanic managers at the Pico location harassed Beasley for being black and showed preferential treatment, including giving better schedules, to the hispanic employees. When Beasley complained to HR and the owner, nothing was done to fix the situation. Beasley was then fired, which Beasley claims was retaliation for exposing the racial discrimination. A jury awarded Beasley $1-million in damages. Even though the owner of Roscoe’s is black and his managers are Hispanic, Beasley’s victory sends a message to business owners everywhere, racial discrimination will not be tolerated regardless of whether the business is minority owned or managed.
The chain is a local favorite of Los Angeles residents including TV celebrities, pro-athletes, and musicians such as Kobe Bryant, Kendrick Lamar, David Beckham, Cindy Crawford, and Denzel Washington. President Obama is also a fan of the establishment when he is in Southern California. When TMZ asked Snoop Dogg about the bankruptcy proceedings he said, “I guess I’m gonna have to buy it, man.” Of course if he did that, he said he would also change the name to Snoop Dogg’s Chicken N’ Waffles.
Before the chicken and waffles fans hang their heads and cry, it’s important to note that the bankruptcy isn’t imminent doom for the chain. It just means that they will be given some time to restructure and reorganize its debt. Herb Hudson, who remains the president of the company, claims that the company has less than $50k in assets and between $10-50 million in debt.
What do you think of Roscoe’s predicament?