Customer Demands Warning For Restaurant’s Special Needs Employees, Owner Puts Up This Sign-In Response

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In today’s society, it is crucial for businesses to embrace diversity and inclusion. One restaurant owner in Greenville, Amanda Cartagine, has taken this to heart at her Pizza Inn establishment. Despite a recent customer complaint about an employee with autism, Cartagine remains committed to hiring individuals with special needs. In fact, 63 percent of her kitchen staff at the Woodruff Road Pizza Inn have special needs. In this article, we will explore the significance of inclusive hiring practices in restaurants and the positive impact they can have on both employees and customers.

The Power of Patience and Understanding

Cartagine firmly believes that with patience and understanding, individuals with special needs can thrive in the workplace. She emphasizes that allowing them to learn at their own pace can lead to remarkable results. When given the opportunity, these employees can become unstoppable. Their work ethic is commendable, whether they are washing dishes or serving pizza. By providing a supportive environment, Cartagena has created a culture where all employees feel valued and part of a team, regardless of their limitations.

A Customer’s Complaint Leads to a Powerful Response

Despite the overall positive atmosphere at Pizza Inn, there was an incident where a customer complained about the service. The gentleman asked an employee with autism to refill the lettuce bowl. Cartagine’s manager privately explained the situation to the customer, highlighting that it was not the employee’s assigned task and that there were special circumstances. However, the customer remained dissatisfied. Inspired to address the situation in a respectful but impactful manner, Cartagine decided to put up a sign on the restaurant’s front door.

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The sign reads, “We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and hire all of God’s children.” This sign serves as a reminder to both employees and customers that Pizza Inn embraces diversity and inclusivity in its hiring practices. It stands as a symbol of Cartagine’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment for individuals with special needs.

The Joy of Employment for Individuals with Special Needs

The impact of inclusive hiring practices goes far beyond the workplace. Angie Mosley, whose son Ryan has Down syndrome and works at Pizza Inn, shares the joy her son experiences as a result of his employment. Ryan loves the fact that he has money in the bank and can afford to buy his favorite video games. Many businesses overlook the importance of providing employment opportunities for individuals with special needs, but Pizza Inn’s commitment to training and supporting these employees has made a positive difference in their lives.

Breaking Down Barriers and Changing Perceptions

Parents of children with special needs often face the challenge of breaking down barriers and changing people’s perceptions. Mosley emphasizes that individuals with disabilities are educable and employable; it simply requires a little outside-the-box thinking and patience. By hiring individuals with special needs, Pizza Inn is not only providing employment but also challenging societal stigmas and teaching others that these individuals are more similar to them than different. Mosley hopes that the sign at Pizza Inn will encourage people to be more open-minded and inclusive in their own lives.

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The Impact of Inclusive Hiring on Customers

Inclusive hiring practices not only benefit employees but also have a positive impact on customers. When customers visit Pizza Inn, they can witness firsthand the dedication and work ethic of the employees with special needs. This experience challenges preconceived notions and allows customers to see beyond the disability, recognizing the abilities and talents of these individuals. It creates a sense of inclusivity and fosters a welcoming atmosphere for all patrons.

The Business Case for Inclusive Hiring

Beyond the social and moral reasons for inclusive hiring, there is also a strong business case. By embracing diversity and inclusivity, businesses like Pizza Inn can tap into a broader talent pool. Hiring individuals with special needs brings unique perspectives, creativity, and problem-solving skills to the workplace. Moreover, it fosters a positive reputation within the community, attracting customers who appreciate and support inclusive businesses. Inclusive hiring practices can lead to increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations, ultimately driving business growth.

Embracing Inclusive Hiring Practices

For businesses looking to adopt more inclusive hiring practices, there are several steps they can take. First and foremost, it is essential to create a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals with special needs. This includes providing appropriate training, accommodations, and ongoing support. Additionally, businesses should actively seek out partnerships with organizations that specialize in job placement for individuals with disabilities. These partnerships can provide valuable resources and guidance throughout the hiring process.


Inclusive hiring practices have the power to transform not only the lives of individuals with special needs but also the perception of society as a whole. Amanda Cartagine’s Pizza Inn serves as a shining example of the positive impact that can be achieved through inclusive hiring. By embracing diversity and providing employment opportunities, businesses can foster a culture of inclusivity, challenge stigmas, and create a welcoming environment for both employees and customers. It is time for all businesses to recognize the potential and worth of every individual, regardless of their abilities.

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