Indianapolis Restaurant Serves Up Safety

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posted on November 6, 2015
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Art Bouvier

After an armed robber held up his eatery on Oct. 24, an Indianapolis restaurateur began offering a 25-percent discount to diners who carry Indiana Handgun Licenses. Since then, his restaurant’s business is booming.

Art Bouvier, 46, who owns the Papa Roux cajun and soul food restaurant in the Eastside section of Indianapolis, told America’s 1st Freedom that since he began offering Right-to-Carry permit holders a discount, “the response has been nothing but positive.”"Money is replaceable, your lives are not."

“We’ve gained hundreds of new customers, business is stabilizing to definitely a new plateau, and it’s translating into nothing but good for the restaurant,” Bouvier said.

As Bouvier explained, at around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, for the first time in Papa Roux’ eight-year history the restaurant was robbed when a man came into the restaurant wearing a hoodie, claimed to have a gun and demanded money from the cash register. 

“I’ve told my employees that money is replaceable, your lives are not,” Bouvier told the Indianapolis Star the day after the robbery. “Everyone is a little shaken up today; my manager can’t shake the feeling of helplessness, but I don’t want her to fear this happening again.”

Although several patrons were in the restaurant at the time, no one was hurt, and the robber escaped with an undisclosed amount of money. Police said it was the fifth recent robbery of restaurants in that area of Indianapolis.

That night, Bouvier went home and posted to Papa Roux’ Facebook page: “ALL CUSTOMERS: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, YOUR CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE EARNS YOU 25% OFF YOUR MEAL WHEN YOU DINE IN.” 

“If thugs are going to come in and threaten OUR extended family with guns,” Bouvier wrote, “you’d better believe I will use every trick I know to protect our family.” "'I just wanted you to know, I am carrying, and I was aware of your situation. I wasn’t going to create a life-or-death situation, but I had your back if it became one.’” Bouvier recounted. “That’s the kind of attitude I want.”

Within 24 hours, his post had garnered over 1,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Within 48 hours, the restaurant was seeing standing-room-only crowds for lunch—and that was on a Monday, which is normally a slow day.

Did the 25-percent discounts cut into Papa Roux’ bottom line? Apparently not. As Bouvier reported, two days after the discount was offered, “Our business was up 400 percent.” In fact, 110 customers with concealed-carry licenses dined in the restaurant on Monday, and 85 more on Tuesday.

What’s more, many patrons who had carry licenses that made them eligible for the discounts refused to take the discounts. “They said, ‘I do have my license; I don’t want the discount.’ They just wanted to reward the attitude of the restaurant,” Bouvier said.

Since then, the media attention—and public support that follows—has only increased. “Even the detractors have completely gone away,” he said. 

“They’ll go out to eat with the possibility that a criminal will bring a gun in, but they’ll stay away if they think customers might be carrying,” Bouvier told the Associated Press. “There was a guy in the restaurant with a gun on Saturday night—he’s the one who took my money!

Indeed, licensed, lawful carry permit holders don’t pose a threat to anyone except the bad guys. Whether or not a particular person supports the right to carry, chances are, permit holders are all around him as he goes throughout his daily routine. Decades of statistics show those unnoticed Right-to-Carry permit holders make everybody—except criminals—safer.

And despite the repeated imaginary horror scenarios we hear from the media and the anti-gun lobby—of bullets flying over traffic discourtesies and Wild West shootouts in McDonalds—those scenarios are essentially unheard-of. As Bouvier noted, many of his employees already have concealed-carry licenses. In fact, a license holder was present when his restaurant was robbed. So maybe the robber was wise not to actually brandish a gun. "We don’t need to be so scared to speak our minds and stand our ground."

“After the police left, a diner came forward and said, ‘I just wanted you to know, I am carrying, and I was aware of your situation. I wasn’t going to create a life-or-death situation, but I had your back if it became one.’” Bouvier recounted. “That’s the kind of attitude I want.”

So what’s Bouvier’s message to NRA members and advocates of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms that keeps us safe?

“I don’t know whether this is just a local phenomenon, but I think the overall message is: We don’t need to be so scared to speak up, speak our minds and stand our ground,” Bouvier said. “I think right now a lot of gun owners are running scared because it’s not politically correct. But it’s not proven to be a harm here.” 

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