San Francisco Bakery Cites No Gun Policy in Refusal to Serve Police

no-gun policy policeman Reem's California
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In a bustling city like San Francisco, it is crucial for restaurants to maintain a harmonious relationship with local law enforcement agencies.

The safety and security of patrons, staff, and the community at large are of utmost importance. Given the current challenges of homelessness and street crime that relationship is being severely tested.

How do restaurants create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone? For some San Francisco restaurateurs their politics and the reality of today’s business are coming to a head.

Having a visible police presence in and around restaurants plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of both customers and staff. It instills a sense of confidence and reassurance, deterring potential criminal activities. Moreover, the presence of law enforcement officers can help mitigate any untoward incidents and respond swiftly in case of emergencies.

Restaurants can actively collaborate with local police departments to enhance safety measures. This can include conducting regular safety assessments, implementing security protocols, and participating in community policing initiatives. By working hand in hand, restaurants can contribute to the overall safety of the city and build trust with law enforcement agencies.

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Restaurants are taking proactive steps to prevent crime within their premises. This can involve installing high-quality surveillance systems, training staff on crime prevention techniques, and implementing robust access control measures. By being vigilant and proactive, restaurants can minimize the risk of criminal activities such as theft, vandalism, and assault.

Restaurants and local police can collaborate on social issues that impact the community, such as substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health. By working together, they can identify and implement sustainable solutions, ensuring the well-being of all stakeholders. Such collaborative efforts demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of the community and can garner positive attention.

With that said, The San Francisco Police Officers Association has blasted a local bakery after it refused to serve an armed police officer. The police union shared that one of their officers was denied service this month at Reem’s California, an Arab bakery on Mission Street, due to being “armed and in uniform.”

Reem’s California took to X, formerly known as Twitter to present its position. “NO COPS ALLOWED. That’s the confirmed policy of the bakery chain Reem’s,”. The post includes a photo of an email exchange between the union and the bakery where a Reem’s spokesperson wrote, “At Reem’s, we do have a policy to not serve anyone that is armed in a uniform.”

The San Francisco Police Officers Association also accused a local bakery of discriminating against police officers after it refused to serve an armed officer in uniform earlier this month. “Presumably, this includes members of the US Military,” the police union responded on X. They condemned the bakery for its “bigoted” and “discriminatory” policy and demanded the bakery put up a sign alerting customers of the policy.

Reem’s California defended their gun policy in an update on social media, saying it kept their employees and customers “safer.”

“Reem’s has a deep commitment to uplifting social and racial justice in our communities. This includes fostering an environment of safety for our staff and customers. In a time of increased gun violence — particularly impacting people of color, youth, and queer people — we believe that maintaining a strict policy of prohibiting guns in our restaurant keeps us safer,” the Instagram post reads.

Reem’s noted that the policy has been in place since they opened their first store in 2017. On its website, the bakery lists “social justice” as one of its three core values, along with sustainability and community building. “This policy is for armed officers, and we let police officers know that we welcome them back to our establishment when they’re off-duty and unarmed,” Reem’s said.

“Reem’s has a deep commitment to uplifting social and racial justice in our communities,” the statement said. “This includes fostering an environment of safety for our staff and customers. In a time of increased gun violence — particularly impacting people of color, youth, and queer people — we believe that maintaining a strict policy of prohibiting guns in our restaurant keeps us safer.”

It added: “Many members of our community have been impacted by gun violence, whether that be an experience on the streets of San Francisco or Oakland, having come from war or occupation, or having increased fear due to a growing climate of political extremism. All too often, Black and brown people, and poor people are the victims of this violence. At Reem’s we aim to provide a space where people can eat delicious Arab food and work together to strengthen our community, without fear of violence or harassment. We invite our community to step up and join us in creating that culture of care and resilience.”

Tracy McCray — the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association disputed Reem’s statement. McCray said the union was explicitly told that the bakery chain has a policy prohibiting those that are “armed in a uniform.”

“That is not our interpretation of their policy. That is exactly what they said their policy was. That is what their employee told our officer,” McCray said. “…And this is our point, if you’re going to have policies that discriminate against one group of people, then own it, post it publicly, and let your potential customers make the decision that best reflects their values.”

If the union’s claims are true, Reem’s California would be the latest Bay Area eatery to come under fire for refusing to serve police officers. In 2021, the owners of the all-day brunch restaurant Hilda and Jesse apologized amid public backlash after three uniformed San Francisco police officers were asked to leave the establishment. Earlier this year, a cashier at Pizza Squared was fired after he told several police officers that they were not welcome at the business.

Reem’s operates a bakery in Oakland and a kiosk at the Ferry Building in addition to its location in the Mission, which is temporarily closed according to the company’s website. Chef-founder Reem Assil is a social justice activist and former community organizer. In 2022, she was a finalist for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef

  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Imperial Dade
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Day & Nite
  • Inline Plastics
  • RATIONAL USA
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Easy Ice
  • Atosa USA
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Epiq Global Payment Card Settlement