A Multi-channel Fail Strategy: Amy’s Baking Company

All businesses make mistakes sometimes: an airline loses luggage, a restaurant mixes up an order, a shipment is damaged en route. But, what all smart businesses do is avoid trying to put out that customer relations fire with a can of gasoline, the gasoline here being social media. Restaurant owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo tried this method of extinguishing the reputation blaze, with predictably explosive results.

Everybody knows the story by now about Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ. Having contracted with the reality television show Kitchen Nightmares to have host and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay come in to help their struggling bistro, the Bouzaglos went full-tilt angry and defensive when Ramsay noted there were areas of their operation that were … well, less than professional. They screamed at Ramsay, and he declared Amy’s Baking Amy's baking facebookCompany the first restaurant beyond his help. Amy also went into how her three cats are her “children” and freaked out viewers a little.

All of that is embarrassing for a business, but what happened when the show hit the airwaves was worse and drained away whatever little sympathy the small business owners may have retained until then. On Twitter and Facebook, where the restaurant has accounts, a string of profanity-laden posts called Gordon Ramsay, viewers of the show, and unwitting patrons of the restaurant horrible names and threatened them with police action and even physical retaliation.

When the word got out about these tirades, a wide range of social media and traditional news sites picked up the story of the crazy restaurant that insults its customers publicly. Then Amy and Samy did the unexpected: they claimed their social media accounts were “hacked” and that they were working with the FBI to find the hackers.

To which the blogosphere responded with a collective, “Suuuuuure, you are.”

Why so skeptical? This wasn’t the first time Amy’s had blown it up online. A customer on Reddit gave them a bad review last year, and they responded exactly the same way, but with no claims of hacking. That was what attractedKitchen Nightmares in the first place.

Watch the full episode here: