Breckenridge pizzeria owner says ‘isolated’ failure to give veteran a discount led to online pans | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge pizzeria owner says ‘isolated’ failure to give veteran a discount led to online pans

Breckenridge is shown here from an overlook. Main Street's Northside Pizza faced public scrutiny last week over not giving a veterans discount. The restaurant has since clarified that they do offer a discount of 10 percent.

A scathing post in a popular Facebook forum last week caused such a stir that the co-owners of Northside Pizza in Breckenridge have been working overtime to control the damage and tell everyone that the pizzeria does in fact offer a 10 percent veterans discount.

U.S. active-duty military and veterans can get markdowns on fitness and medical aid, banking, electronics and cellphone service and at dozens of hotel and restaurant chains, but those discounts are apparently hit-and-miss in Summit.

A man recently put Northside Pizza in Breckenridge on blast in the popular Facebook forum One Man's Junk after a local veteran was denied his discount at the pizzeria.

Contacted by the newspaper, the poster said he was upset over what he felt like was exceptionally rude service while the bartender refused to give a veteran in his party a discount on the vet's meal. In his post, the man said a bystander was so upset that the bystander paid for the meal and thanked the vet for his service.

"I obviously hope that people will give us a chance and realize this is an isolated incident," said John Pallaoro, co-owner of Northside Pizza, Monday.

Since the post, Pallaoro said they have decided to let the bartender go. They also reached out to the man who criticized the business on Facebook and offered to comp his party's meal, but he politely declined.

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The business owners have also been trying to correct misinformation about their veterans discount, Pallaoro continued, explaining that they've always offered the 10 percent discount to veterans and active-duty military since opening nine years ago and will continue to do so.

"I don't know what happened that particular day or why (the bartender) would not do that," Pallaoro said, but they've since affixed notes on every computer station at Northside Pizza telling their employees, "Please, always offer 10 percent off military discounts" so it won't happen again.

"This is really unfortunate the way it went down," he said of the incident. "Since that's happened, we've been getting asked for the veterans discount a lot, as you can imagine."

Veterans discounts are fairly wide-spread across the country. Many chains offer individual stores options to give active-duty military and veterans discounts without actually requiring it.

On its website, The American Legion — the nation's largest veterans service organization — has more detailed information on a long list of companies that offer discounts for military service.

In most cases, someone will need the right document — an active-duty ID, Reserves or Guardsman ID, Military Retiree ID, Veterans Affairs ID or a state-issued driver's license stamped "VETERAN." Not every establishment offers veterans discounts, but the American Legion tells veterans that it never hurts to ask and, when in doubt, they should speak to the manager.

Checking in locally, a worker at the Dominos Pizza in Dillon said they don't have any kind of veterans or military discount while the owner of the Jersey Boys Pizza and Deli, also in Dillon, said they do.

In Breckenridge, an employee at Fatty's Pizzeria also said the business does not offer a veterans discount, but two other Breckenridge pizza joints — the Windy City Pizza and Pub and Down Stairs at Eric's — both said they do, each at 10 percent. At Extreme Pizza, the veterans discount gets even higher at 15 percent off.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were more than 18.8 million veterans living in the U.S. in 2015, including 9.3 million ages 64 and older. Veterans may be small in number compared to the overall U.S. population, but they do constitute a not-so-insignificant minority across America.

Whether veterans should get discounts has been a topic for debate for some time. A blogger with The Huffington Post asked the question and published over a dozen responses in July 2015.

The answers ranged from one military spouse who said she feels guilty asking for discounts to others who argued the small markdowns are well deserved. It wasn't so much about getting a 10 percent discount, they argued, as it is a nice gesture or a tip of the cap for service to one's country.

That's how Pallaoro said he feels.

"Putting your life on the line is a big deal," he offered. "We used a veteran to do all our electrical work when we opened nine years ago … and there's no discrimination from us against anyone in anyway. That was the hardest thing for us. You can imagine we've worked really hard to make this (business) a success, so to have something like this happen, we take it extremely personal."

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Jersey Boys Pizza and Deli in Dillon does, in fact, offer a 10 percent off veterans discount. An employee of the store previously said they did not, but the worker was new and unaware the restaurant has offered a 10 percent off veterans discount, just like it does for active-duty military, police, rescuers and other first responders, since it opened 14 years ago, according to owner Craig Sikorsky.

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