Avoid Amy's Baking Company Freakout: Five Tips From PR Guru Larry Carrino
Yesterday, the Internet completely blew up with the story of the war between Amy's Baking Company owners Amy and Samy and everyone on the planet earth (with the possible exception of some cats).
Screenshot from Fox.com Gordon Ramsay speaks with Amy and Samy before things get really bad.
The Scottsdale, Arizona, restaurateurs have the dubious distinction of having Kitchen Nightmares host Gordon Ramsay walk out on them, before telling them they were "too far gone" (to which Amy replied, "Yala, yala... It's Christmas. Let's go home"). Of course, in the 40 minutes or so prior to that moment, we also watched Amy's husband Samy tell a customer to "get the f**k out of here," Amy fire an employee for asking a question, and the couple pocket the servers' tips.
After the show aired, Amy got busy on her business' Facebook page calling Yelpers "shit" and saying that God was on their side. The couple later claimed that their Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and website had all been hacked.
Look, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt concerning their Facebook postings (if you want to have some fun, Buzzfeed's curated a good selection), but this brought up a good question: Just how does a restaurateur handle tough situations and negative comments?
We consulted Larry Carrino of Brustman Carrino Public Relations. First, he thanked his lucky stars this was not his client. Then he gave us a list of five things a restaurateur should never do when dealing with the public. Before you get on the internet to reply to a Yelper or tout your "Kobe" hot dog read this:
1. Think before you post.
Yes, social media is an amazing tool but much like anything, if used badly it's dangerous. Twitter wars? Grow up. TMI? Have some self-respect. Consider what you're putting out there and what it says about you, not just what you're saying.
2. Don't attack reviewers, professional or otherwise.
If a reviewer gets something factually incorrect (the salad could not have had chicken in it because that salad doesn't have chicken in it!), then feel free to state your case but stick to the facts. Reviews are subjective, so calling out a critic, or Yelpers or bloggers as being "wrong" or "having an axe to grind" looks petty and ultimately accomplishes nothing. A negative review doesn't mean a libelous or factually fraudulent review. Know the difference. And also ask yourself, when reading criticisms, "Is any of this right and what can I do to improve?"