ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — The franchise owner of a Baja Fresh in Roseville has taken pork off the menu because of his religious beliefs, and he’s now facing a lawsuit from the restaurant chain.
Baja Fresh says there are strict rules for what’s on the menu, and they were trying to shut down Sultan Hameed even before taking pork off the menu because he’s Muslim.
When CBS13 walked into the Roseville Baja Fresh, we got the same answer as regular customer Ryan Lovingood.
“She goes, ‘Oh, we got a new owner and he’s Muslim and we don’t sell pork anymore,’” Lovingood said.
Employees say the owner, who is a Muslim, decided to pull the staple of Mexican cuisine off the menu a month or two ago.
“I don’t know, it’s a Mexican restaurant,” Lovingood said. “It’s not like I went to an Indian restaurant.”
Reaction was divided between those believing the owner’s religion shouldn’t affect his restaurant, and others saying it’s his right as a business owner.
Baja Fresh says Hameed, a franchisee since 2007, can do whatever he wants, just not with its logo on the front door. They terminated the agreement with him more than a month ago—before this controversy even surfaced—for other alleged violations in breach of contract.
The Irvine-based company says Hameed is refusing to take down the Baja Fresh sign.
“We do not condone this restaurant’s practices and policies and are actively pursuing our legal remedies in order to disassociate ourselves from its unauthorized use of our good name,” the company said in a statement.
Calls to Hameed and his lawyer were not returned.
Baja Fresh says it may seek an emergency restraining order to shut the restaurant down while litigation is sorted out.