In case you haven’t heard, quite a few people on the Internet are upset at Applebee’s right now for its actions in the tale of the obnoxiously self-righteous customer. After the story blew up, the company went strangely silent on social media, but on Friday its PR team got pro-active, releasing an official statement from the company president and choosing Facebook as the best forum in which to respond.
There’s a reason for this: Ad Week recently named Applebee’s as the most “socially devoted” restaurant brand on Facebook. But this story has proven to be its greatest social media challenge: “What’s the Buzz”, a homepage feature showcasing tweets about the brand in real-time, has been overwhelmingly negative for the past few days.
The new damage control effort began with this post:
The message goes on to clarify that the fired server violated company policy by publicly sharing a receipt on which the customer’s name was visible, thereby compromising her privacy (they added that the customer’s party did in fact pay the 18% gratuity required). Since then, the post has inspired almost 25,000 comments.
This crisis is not over.