Perhaps you had the immense pleasure of watching the Amy’s Baking Company debacle unfold on Facebook earlier this week. If not, below is a quick summary to fill you in.
Notorious in Scottsdale for their “The customer is not always right” mentality, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo were featured on last week’s Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares.” Things didn’t go so well. According to a Fox recap, “With almost 100 ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ episodes under his belt, Chef Ramsay has finally met two owners that he simply cannot help, despite his best efforts. For the first time in the history of the show, he just has to walk away.”
Viewers quickly took to Facebook and Reddit to share their two cents on the train wreck, leaving some not-so-nice comments about the restaurant and its owners. Amy and Samy took turns firing back with all-caps, profanity-laden Facebook posts.
Besides the obvious “be a rational human” lesson, this story holds a few teaching points for brands in the social space.
1. You can’t win ’em all
As of January 2013, Yelp clocked in a total of 1,044,492 reviews written. That’s a lot of opinions, and let’s face it: they can’t all be five star ratings. Now, Amy and company’s reviews leaned negative far before the episode was ever filmed. In fact, the controversy over Amy’s harsh 2012 response to a dissatisfied Yelper was one of the reasons they caught the attention of “Kitchen Nightmares” in the first place. To give you an idea, here are a few choice excerpts:
“It is blatantly obvious to be why you were ALONE on a Saturday night!”
“As for you having the Patio all to yourself unless you have been living on another PLANET it is summertime in ARIZONA MORON!!! Only TRAMPS and LOSERS want to sit outside in 110 temperatures!!!!”
Good times. The lesson here is that you either respond to try and make that person’s next visit better, or you leave well enough alone.
2. Take a deep breath
As noted in a previous post on handling social media gaffes, there’s something to be said for taking a deep breath and walking away from heated issues on social platforms. Responding in the heat of the moment often leads to regrettable statements that, thanks to the magic of screenshots, can’t be taken back (unless of course, you blame it on a hacker…see below). Now I’m not saying that Amy and Samy would have come back with any nicer words after taking a day to think, but for the rest of us, there’s hope in the cool down.
3. Social media (and reality TV, and business ownership for that matter) is not for everyone
If you are physically incapable of focusing on the positive and avoiding flame-throwing Facebook fights, welp, social media probably isn’t for you and your brand. That makes for good reality TV, but not good business principles.
On Tuesday night Amy and Samy notified followers that alleged hackers were the source of “those horrible messages.” We’ll see how that works out.