NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - Aretha Franklin says she walked out of a Canadian restaurant last week after an employee demanded she not sit while awaiting a takeout order.
The Buffalo News reported that after a concert Tuesday in nearby Lewiston, New York, the Queen of Soul stopped at the Johnny Rockets restaurant in the food court area of the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario. While the 72-year-old music legend sat waiting for her order, a restaurant employee told her, "You can't sit here because you ordered for takeout. You can only stand in the perimeter," according to a statement Franklin gave the newspaper.
"The woman was very rude, unprofessional and nasty -- certainly not the appropriate face for Johnny Rockets," Franklin's statement continued. "No one should be addressed this way, whether a celebrity or not. I told her she can eat and pay for my meal, and left."
A company spokeswoman told the newspaper the franchise owner was sorry for the actions of "a new and very young employee" and spoke with the employee to clarify the takeout policies.
Franklin -- who has won 18 Grammy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honors Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other accolades, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- had just performed with her Aretha Franklin Orchestra for a crowd of 10,000 at the Artpark Outdoor Amphitheater, said the Lewiston-Porter Sentinel.
"Over the years I have always enjoyed a burger and cherry Coke and the choreographed dance by waiters and waitresses at Johnny Rockets," Franklin noted in her statement. "This experience in Niagara Falls will not stop my enjoyment of burgers and cherry Cokes, and talking to the classy and friendly people at Johnny Rockets."