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Kitchen Nightmares episode highlights ABCs of social media use for small businesses May 20, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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You’ve probably heard by now that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” show visited the worst business he has encountered in over 100 shows. The internet was abuzz after the episode aired in May. Ramsay met with the owners and staff at Amy’s Baking Company, a Scottsdale, Arizona, restaurant with a history of bad reviews. The owners, Samy and Amy, eventually revealed themselves as intolerant to criticism, unwilling to change, and hostile even to their own customers. After several confrontations with the participants in his show, Ramsay quit, saying it was the first time he had ever done so.

What ensued after the episode was a lot of shock all over the internet. Many viewers took to Amy’s Baking Company’s social media outlets to express their disapproval of how they run their business – especially how they treat their employees. What happened thereafter was even more shocking. Samy and Amy from Amy’s Baking Company shot back against many of the negative comments with the same vitriol they exhibited in “Kitchen Nightmares.” As The Washington Post‘s Alexandra Petri commented, the social media response by ABC was a lesson on “How to Lose an Argument on the Internet,” including the following actions:

  • “TYPE IN ALL CAPS.
  • Explain that God is on your side.
  • Call the other person a rude four-letter, three-letter, five-letter, six-letter, 10-letter or 12-letter name.
  • Explain that you are right because the other person is an idiot, while misspelling something.
  • Use erratic punctuation or grammar while calling the other person stupid — also while typing in all caps.
  • Describe your cats as “little boys in cat bodies” or “little people in cat suits” or “children, but actually cats, but really children” or “non-human children.”
  • Refuse to stop arguing.
  • When the backlash starts, insist that you were hacked.

Overall, the lesson learned from Amy’s Baking Company has more to do with how small businesses should use social media, especially in the midst of an image crisis. As Kelly Clay from Forbes.com argued, businesses should avoid replying to all critics, avoid engaging with trolls, avoid insulting naysayers, and walk away when such criticism gets overwhelming )at least for a while).

To see the embarrassing episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” starring Amy’s Baking Company, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How might “Kitchen Nightmares” have ruined Amy’s Baking Company’s brand?

2.  What mistakes did Samy and Amy make in their social media responses to critics?

3.  Can Amy’s Baking Company rebound from such an embarrassing episode?

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