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Cleaning Up: Burger King’s Employee Bathtub Scandal of 2008 January 4, 2010

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Burger King found itself in the midst of an embarrassing crisis in August 2008 after an Ohio employee recorded himself taking a bath in the restaurant’s industrial sink. In the clip posted to the internet, the nude employee introduced himself as “Mr. Unstable” and bragged that it was his birthday as other employees laughed about his behavior.

After the video went public, Burger King’s corporate office released the following statement:

Burger King Corp. was just notified of this incident and is cooperating fully with the health department. We have sanitized the sink and have disposed of all other kitchen tools and utensils that were used during the incident. We have also taken appropriate corrective action on the employees that were involved in this video. Additionally, the remaining staff at this restaurant is being retrained in health and sanitation procedures.”

To see the video yourself, and a discussion of what happened, watch the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How did the action pose a major risk to Burger King’s business across the country?

2. If you were a PR consultant for Burger King in charge of its crisis management, how would you have recommended the company respond to the scandal?

3.  Was Burger King’s response to the crisis effective?  Why, or why not?

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Comments»

1. mari - November 22, 2011

I’m doing a pr project and I’m glad you have the Burger King video up. I couldn’t find it very easily. This seems like the kind of problem fast food restaurants have all over the world, though truthfully I don’t think fast food restaurants ever respond severely enough. I would like to see a restaurant sue one of these scandal-youtubers one day. Both as a pr student and as a Burger King customer.


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