Applebees: Social Media Nightmare

Blah! Blah! Blah!

Could this whole food fight have been avoided? As I shake my head, I can’t help but grin. It’s been an interesting story from the beginning. A pastor went to the restaurant with a large group. As is customary at many restaurants, gratuity (18% in this case) was added to the bill. The client wrote a nastygram on her receipt, scratching out the tip and scrawling something to the effect of, “I give God 10%, why do you get 18?” She clearly added that she was a “pastor” to her note. A waitress, but not her waitress, posted the note online. And then it all went pear-shaped. R.S. Stollar recounts the whole sordid story in this blog.

It’s quite a mess. There has been one poor move after another by the restaurant chain in trying to contain their PR problem. Will this sort of publicity have lasting negative effects for Applebees? Do they have a Social Media Marketing Specialist? If they do, will they lose their job after the absurdities that have ensued?

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3 comments

  1. rgmdo

    I think this article points out something most people tend to forget, that what you put online stays online. Whether or not the waitress was right in doing what she did, the reason for her dismissal is clearly one they change to suit their agenda.

  2. susanstamm2013

    I must have been the one person living under a rock because I never heard anything about this. Nevertheless, what a mess! Applebee’s desperately needs a public relations super hero to get them out of this mess. It just points out how once you put something out there on the web, you can’t take it back. It doesn’t even matter who is right or wrong at this point. They need to have employee policies and enforce them privately. This entire gaffe should never have been put out for the public to see. If there was no policy in place at the time, the employee who shared the original post should have received a warning or some disciplinary action, but not immediate dismissal.

    • adverbcreative

      They evidently had a customer privacy policy, but had clearly violated that themselves when they posted a receipt with a nice note. I guess their policy was to not violate a persons right to be nasty anonymously? Either way, right or wrong it is an epic example of PR gone terribly awry! I agree that maybe a warning would have been a more appropriate reaction.

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