Friday, February 08, 2013

Can abuse on Twitter cause Applebees to back down?

Apparently, identifying details of the customer who refused to leave the requested 18% tip became known at an early stage -- so Applebees seem to have been justified in firing the person principally responsible for the publicity, which is presumably why they are not backing down.  No company wants to expose its customers to ridicule,  even if the customer is a bit "insensitive"

I don't like the custom of adding a tip to the bill.  I think it should be left to the customer.  It seems that the customer in this case thought so too.  She seems to have thought that the service was maybe worth 10% but not 18%

I remember the days when a 10% tip was acceptable.  In some places now 20% seems to be expected.  Can 25% be far away?

US restaurant Applebee's embarrassing Facebook fiasco has become a case study for how to ruin your reputation on social media.

Last month the restaurant fired one of its waitresses after posting the receipt she received from a pastor on which was written her excuse for failing to tip on Facebook: "I give God 10%," she wrote, "why do you get 18?"

Applebee's claimed that the waitress violated the privacy of a customer and violated one of the terms of her contract.

Naturally, social media users did not take kindly to this and many an hour was spent criticising the company, posting comments on its Facebook page and raging about it on Twitter. One lawyer even offered to represent the waitress pro bono for wrongful dismissal.

One user wrote: "What happens on the internet stays on the internet. This was deleted by Applebee's shortly after this disaster went viral."

Another user wrote: "The internet has already recorded that you have no qualms posting the exact same customer information when it is good feedback and not a snide comment by a horrible person. When a lawyer gets wind of this, I would get ready to grab my ankles."

Had Applebee's been wise and kept its mouth shut that's where this may have ended. Well, probably not, but they might have escaped with their reputation not entirely in ruins.

Because on Saturday night it decided to respond to the continuing outrage by commenting on its own Facebook post at 2.53am: "We wish this situation didn't happen… Our franchisee has apologised to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest's right to privacy".

Much more here


There is a rather passionate letter here which says Applebee's got it wrong.  It appears that the customer concerned was responsible for identifying herself.  That does put a somewhat different slant on it.


Anonymous said...

The tipping convention, especially in the US, is ridiculous, especially if the employer expects the employees to rely on them for most or all of their "wages". In many countries the "tip" or service charge, if any, is automatically added to the check at a standard %, and/or customers round up the total as a tip.
As a first-time tourist in the US I was confused when a waiter asked if I wanted change to the bills I gave, and he looked visibly astonished when I said "well, yes of course", not realizing one was expected to carefully include the tip first so as not to get any cash back (and I didn't in that case either!). I later saw people with calculators carefully working out what % of the check should be added. Risible!

Bird of Paradise said...

Restruants shouldnt force their costumers to leave tips

Anonymous said...

Once the government decided that tips were "income" and therefore had to be reported and subject to tax, employers decided that they shouldn't be required to pay servers minimum wage since tips would cover the difference. The government agreed and thus was born the underpaid serving staff and the consumer who was expected to pay the server's salary instead of leaving a(n) untaxable gift for the server. The more the government gets involved, the more it fouls things up.

Doug O. said...

There are many forward thinking countries where tipping does not exist, such as Japan.

MattS said...

"Once the government decided that tips were "income" and therefore had to be reported and subject to tax, employers decided that they shouldn't be required to pay servers minimum wage since tips would cover the difference."

This isn't quite true. What the law requires is that if actual tips do not come to normal minimum wage the employer is required to make up the difference. This is why restaurants, not wait staff, love mandatory tips. They don't want to be left actually paying a decent wage.

Anonymous said...

You want a tip? EARN IT!

Why is it now-a-days people feel ENTITLED to everything? Tips, welfare, healthcare, education...?

If the CUSTOMER wants to leave a tip that should be up to them, not the waitress/waiter or restaurant.

And if this is because of the "large party" then state that up front so the customer can decide to have his party els-ware to avoid the extra cost.

I guess the days of the "customer is always right" is long gone and now its "You will give me a tip weather you like it (or I earned it) or not!"