Some chefs spend their lifetimes unsuccessfully slogging away to improve business.
But all it took for Reedy Creek Diner chef Greg Simons in Lexington, North Carolina, was to put up a controversial language sign and he’s seen his sales treble.
Mr Simons put up the ‘No speak English. No service’ sign in March and says he’s received great support–with some people asking for souvenir copies to take home .
‘All these calls I’ve gotten from outside the country and the U.S. have all been positive, saying things like “Good for you, don’t take it down”,’ he told My Fox 8.
Mr Simons took down the sign in March after receiving a deluge of complaints at the time from people concerned it may have been racist.
It was put up after a group were offended because staff could not speak Spanish.
But Mr Simons said: ‘Everybody’s money is green as far as I’m concerned. It’s a communication thing. Nobody here speaks another language other than English.’
In fact, the sign has received so much attention that he has added a list of additional languages and makes photocopies for customers wanting to take one away.
The sign was originally in Spanish, French, Russian, Irish and German, but Mr Simons said he put it up because of an issue with a group of Hispanic customers.
Now he claims to have even had visits from people speaking foreign languages who come along with an interpreter.
One of the positive messages of support he has received said: ‘A common language is a unifier – you did nothing wrong, Mr Simons. Best wishes to you!’
‘I’m saddened by the fact that someone might want to see a negative than a positive it’s just how you look at things,’ he said.
Mr Simons began working at the Reedy Creek Diner in November 2009 before buying it eight months later but had a few ‘problems’ with Spanish-speaking customers.
A brick was thrown through a window shortly after he put the sign up, which also said: ‘God bless America and all who those who protect and serve our great country.’
Hispanic or Latino people make up 8 per cent of North Carolina’s population, and last year’s 111 per cent increase was the state’s biggest ethnic group rise in a decade.
The full sign.
Close-up of the sign.