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Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has agreed to pay $8.7 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against black employees and customers. The suits were filed in 1999 by a dozen employees who allege they were segregated from white workers and received “back of the house” chores. It also settles claims from 42 plaintiffs (including the NAACP) that black customers were subjected to racial slurs, denied service, segregated in smoking sections, or served food taken from the trash.
Houston-based ChaseCom L.P. (No. 97 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $31.1 million in sales) has opened an inbound and outbound call center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on the site of a former one. The operation creates 140 jobs, at $8 to $12 per hour, in a community where 350 jobs were lost when West Corp. closed its mostly outbound facility in May. ChaseCom, founded in 1998, provides telecom services plus customer service support.
— Malik Singleton
Eight black physicians partnered to open an International House of Pancakes in Harlem this past July, and it is already ranked 14th in sales among the company’s 1,167 franchises throughout 48 states and Canada. Some residents opposed the IHOP, however manager Valerie Morgan says this IHOP serves 500 people per hour every Sunday. Co-owner Reginald Manning says, “It’s our first month of business and we’re already cracking. In another month, we should be No. 1.”
— Nkechi Olisemeka