A Juneteenth menu is serving up controversy at the Atlanta based IKEA store, after employees said fried chicken and watermelon, were just a some items selected to honor Juneteenth.
CBS46 Tori Cooper spoke to IKEA employees and customers about the menu Monday.
The employees we spoke to did not want to go on camera over fear of repercussions, but they said that management needs to do more to educate themselves on black culture moving forward.
“They sent the menu to us in emails,” an anonymous employee said.
IKEA employees said the menu was sent out to employees last Friday.
They said the menu was going to be served to customers and employees as a way to, “honor and persevere Black Americans,” in light of the Juneteenth holiday.
“You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don’t even know the history, they used to feed slaves watermelon during the slave time,” an anonymous employee said.
Employees said the menu items selected including, fried chicken, watermelon, mac and cheese, collard greens and more were racially insensitive and ignorant.
“it caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit, people weren’t coming back to work.”
Employees outraged said 33 people called out from work, which sparked an internal email response from the store manager on Saturday.
“She said I truly apologize the menu came off subjective.”
However, employees said the decisions behind the creation of the menu should have included voices of color first.
“None of the coworkers who sat down to create the menu, no one was black.”
The store manager told employees and CBS46 that the menu changed after the issue but employees said, “They just delayed the menu by a day. Thinking that everyone who was upset by the Juneteenth menu stayed home on Juneteenth and wouldn’t notice, which just added insult to injury.”
We asked the store manager to send us the new menu.
The revised menu included collard greens, corn bread, mashed potatoes and meatloaf.
A picture taken by the same employee showed what was served in store the day after Juneteenth
“Fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens,” said the anonymous employee who also took the picture.
Customers also felt the menu was insulting.
“I’m just frankly disappointed in the learning process, you shouldn’t learn after you have insulted all of your black employees.”
The store manager told CBS46 News they deeply apologize for what happened and they realize they got the menu wrong.