Applebee’s had its brand go through the wringer over the past few days after a controversy erupted about a receipt that went viral.
A waitress lost her job after she posted a picture of a receipt from a pastor who didn’t give her a tip and simply wrote, “I give God 10 per cent, why do you get 18?”
How did Applebee’s team cope with the massive outcry?
Ron Ruggless at Nation’s Restaurant News spoke with Applebee’s spokesman Dan Smith about what went down.
“The first piece is we’re trying to explain the situation in as clear of terms as possible,” Smith told NRN. “And we fully understand that some people might not agree with our position. Our simple goal here is to provide the public with the facts.”
The second part of it is “the engagement piece,” he said. That means answering as many people as possible over social channels.
“The over-arching piece in this is we want to hear from people,” said Smith. “Believe me: every Tweet has been read; every Facebook message has been read. Our guest relations team is taking every phone call and responding to as many emails as they can.”
Applebee’s responded multiple times on the company’s official Facebook page and the CEO has made an official response. Smith said that no comments have been deleted, nor has anyone been blocked from the page.
Of course, the controversy hasn’t slowed down much. People are still calling for Applebee’s to re-hire the server or face a boycott and the brand is still taking a persistent beating.
A strategy of explanations and communication can only go so far. The people demand action.
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