Unusual Reason Cited For Restaurant Name Change

Students taking online cooking courses are probably already aware that successfully marketing a restaurant is a process rife with concerns and tribulations. You want to ensure that you’re appealing to a wide demographic while also maintaining your own identity as an establishment. Of course, no matter how effective your branding, advertising and the like, there are certain obstacles that you simply cannot account for. That seems to be the case for an African cuisine restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, that recently had to change its name due to customers fearing transmission of Ebola from their food, according to Jezebel.

Seriously, this isn’t a joke
While it sounds entirely ridiculous, Mama Ti’s African Kitchen is actually losing business due to fears of Ebola. Apparently, the mere fact that the word ‘African’ is used to describe the cuisine of the restaurant is enough to instill panic in the locals of Brooklyn Park. The owner of the restaurant, Kellita Whisnant, has indicated that her business has dropped off drastically since Ebola became a major story in the news several months ago, according to Fox. In fact, Whisnant has said that her business has declined by more than 50 percent since late summer, leaving her and others surrounding her restaurant to question the future of the business.

In an effort to reconcile the irrational fears of her Brooklyn Park customers, Whisnant has covered up the word ‘African’ on her sign, which she described to Fox News as a process that came with no small degree of emotional distress.

“This African name that brought people in here before is now hurting me,” Whisnant said. “We get the jokes, the ridicule. Now they’re even afraid to shake our hands. Just putting that tape up there triggered emotions that I keep down, but that really hurt.”

The most unfortunate part of Whisnant’s story is that there truly is nothing to fear about her restaurant. She has made clear to multiple news outlets that all of the beef used in her dishes comes from Minnesota, though public perception seems to be that African food must come from Africa. Further, multiple authorities in the field of health care and health education have made clear that Ebola is not transmitted through food, but rather through direct contact with bodily fluids of someone who is already infected.

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