‘English Only’ Says Owner Of Popular Milwaukee Custard Shop

Philip DeVoe Contributor
Font Size:

Ron Schneider, owner of Leon’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, Wis., said he is tired of customers ordering in foreign languages and has established an “English only” rule.

“I would prefer if the employees would simply speak English, and encourage those customers who can to speak English, and if you don’t speak English, trust me — we can come up with some way to communicate with you,” Schneider told ABC 12-WISN.

Schneider said that ever since the neighborhood around his shop were flooded with Hispanic immigrants, his employees have had trouble communicating with those customers speaking in their native Spanish. Although many have claimed his policy is discriminatory, Schneider maintains the policy is strictly business.

“I’m trying not to encourage it because this is going to be a problem down the road,” Schneider told WISN. “We can’t be the United Nations. They got translators. We don’t.”

One of these Hispanic members of the Leon’s community, Joey Sanchez, recalled his experience earlier this week under the new policy. The woman in front of him was told to place her order in English after doing so in Spanish, causing Sanchez to place his order in Spanish intentionally. The employee told Sanchez she was not allowed to speak Spanish back to him, which frustrated Sanchez.

“[Leon’s makes] a good profit out of the Spanish community,” Sanchez said. “I believe if I can ask for a product in my language and have somebody there that can speak it and understand me better, it’s going to be better for him… [and] attract more Latino customers.”

Schneider has harsh words for those who claim his policy is racist.

“Let me tell you something. My wife is Hispanic. My children are Hispanic. Anyone that wants to call me racist on that basis, maybe we should settle it the old-fashioned American way in the alley,” Schneider said.

Follow Philip DeVoe on Twitter @PhilipDeVoe