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.