I saw this article as a Yahoo story meant to get people excited at first and passed it on as another gotcha story. However today Applebees announced that they fired the girl who disclosed the image on Reddit. Now that how you get in front of a moving bus, not a story. This is a major “epic fail” by Applebees corporate, more embarrassing is the response by the PR team. Lets review, no laws were broken, no employee handbook guidelines broken (I know cause i worked at Applebee’s myself ages ago), no confidential information revealed.
It seems unfair to the former employee in question that she receives a smaller salary then minimum wage, under the guise of tips as a contributing factor. This is how it used to be at least. When a patron stiffs you on a big bill it hurts your day. First of all it should be noted that the policy to automatically charge gratudy of 18% (for more then 6 people) is an corporate policy, not an employee one. Secondly what kind of man [of god] speaks like this? Most importantly @Applebees, where is a persons right to speech, and privacy.
This shows the public three key things about your organization.
1) You will throw any employee under the bus when a crisis erupts (and quickly)
2) You are more afraid of the church, then Bill Maher
3) Seemingly you will even do away with your own policies to appease the crazies, and (as a former employee) there are ALOT in your restaurants!
What can be learned from this event from a PR perspective?
1) GET THE FACTS- Applebee’s wasted no time in making this termination, before all the facts came out. Especially the fact that the pastor (the good man of god he is) didn’t want anyone fired, so…?
2) DONT TURN A 24 HOUR STORY INTO A CRISIS – This started as a d#*k move by some stranger at some location. Instead of anger from one guy, you create a tidal wave by making un-needed (see above) moves.
3) WATCH THE YOUTH – When I was an employee at Applebee’s the best I could have hoped for was a cigarette break to wash down the anger over a bad tip, or a bad customer. Today the youth has a microphone that corporate doesn’t understand or respect. Figure it out, Donna that “chick with the blond hair” who is quite mediocre at her job has 4k facebook friends. Beware the blow back from outrage anxiety.