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The owner’s of a small bistro in Scottsdale, Arizona were recently featured on Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” a Fox TV show where Ramsay acts as a turnaround specialist for struggling restaurants.  The concept is simple, and it works really well – – if only people would listen to Ramsay’s advice.  Who among us wouldn’t like to have a successful person in our field spend a day or two with us and give us their thoughts on our business?  In this instance,  Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, the husband-and-wife team that run Amy’s Baking Company found out that they did not want what they thought they wanted.  Their implosion on network TV is the result.

During the episode, Ramsay caught them stealing tips from their waitstaff, buying muffins from a grocery store and passing them off as their own creations.  Ultimately, Ramsay walked out on them in frustration.  But that wasn’t the worst…when unfavorable Yelp reviews started appearing after the episode premiered,  the Bouzaglo’s took their act to a whole new level – – the digital world.  If you can imagine your most successful digital media campaign ever, on steroids, then you can imagine the opposite of that and you would be getting close to how bad things got.  The Bouzaglo’s cursed, threatened and berated anyone who negatively commented on them on social media including:  Facebook, Google+, Reddit and Yelp.  This created a frenzy of negative reviews.  By this point they had lost all control of the situation.

For those who are thinking, “So What?” consider that their Yelp reviews are now mostly 1’s, 2’s and 3’s, a direct correlation to their bottom line can be seen.  A restaurant receiving low marks will not be getting repeat customers, making their survival extremely doubtful.  Amy’s Baking Company closed for a month and the owners are planning a Grand Re-opening.

Object Lesson:  What you do online lasts forever.  Think about the ramifications of your posts before you publish them.  In the case of a bad PR situation, seek assistance from a pro to avoid any missteps!

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