Restaurant's Facebook Goes Nuclear Over Reviews & Gordon Ramsay; Owners Cry Hack

from the nobody-believes-you dept

I guess I can’t say for sure how I would react to a negative review (besides reading some Techdirt comments directed at me), but I’d like to think that I have thick enough skin not to make a complete ass out of myself. That’s why it always surprises me to see companies that should know better poop their pants over what customers (or non-customers) say on sites like Yelp and Reddit. Whether it’s suing customers or issuing DMCA notices, I simply fail to see the logic in pissing off even more people with that kind of behavior. If someone posted a negative review of one of my books for instance, even petulantly, I’d prefer to look at it as an opportunity to both learn from the negative review and appreciate the fact that someone out there cared enough to write something about it at all.

Or, if you’re Amy’s Baking Company, you can write off all the complaints as coming from “haters” and then make a complete ass of yourself on your company’s Facebook page. That restaurant has an interesting history of poor service, garnering poor reviews on Yelp, and even cursing at customers and tossing them out of their establishment for complaining. The woman who runs the place (you’ll never guess what her name is) appears to have the business sense of a drunken chimpanzee. In one of the all-time worst decisions of anything ever, they decided to bring in Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares for the stated purpose of proving to their customers that their food is crazy good and the haters are all idiots. Those that have watched the show in the past can probably already hear the freight train of doom headed Amy’s way.

On Friday night’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares, shouty chef Gordon Ramsay quit for the first time ever in the show’s 82-episode history. Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona — blamed everyone for their troubles, including “haters” and “bloggers,” but not themselves. The owners did not give service staff tips (pocketing the money instead) and admitted to having fired over 100 employees. Said Ramsay: “After about 100 Kitchen Nightmares, I met two owners I could not help, it is because they are incapable of listening.”

I’m not normally one for reality shows, but go watch this. Seriously. The level of crazy in Amy and her husband Samy is as epic as it is entertaining. Right off the bat, Amy breathlessly rails against “haters” and “bloggers” who are apparently to blame for her serving variously under-prepared and over-prepared food, wait times that are measured in hours for customers, and food combinations that would make even an amatuer cook blow their brains out in dismay.

Still, the whole point of the show is to help failing restaurants turn things around, right? So obviously things went poorly on the show, the public reacted, and Amy and Samy learned their lesson and got their shitake mushrooms together.

Of course they didn’t. Instead, their Facebook page went at times all-caps nuclear, with some of the greatest combinations of religiosity, anger, and cursing I’ve ever witnessed. Some treasures of highlights for you to enjoy.

“We will not bend to the will of these haters and sinners.”

“I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO RESELL THINGS WALMART DOES NOT MAKE THEIR ELECTRONICS OR TOYS SO LAY OFF!!!!”

“I am keeping note of all names here. We will be pursuing action against you legaly, and against reddit and yelp, for this plot you have come together on. you are all just punks.”

“WE ARE NOT FREAKING OUT. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT A “WITCH HUNT” I AM NOT A WITCH. I AM GODS CHILD. PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. FUCK REDDITS, FUCK YELP AND FUCK ALL OF YOU. BRING IT. WE WILL FIGHT BACK.”

Now, it should be noted that Amy and Samy have since claimed that someone hacked their Facebook page. Reading the above posts, which have since been deleted, you may be inclined to think that level of crazy is obviously the work of troublemakers. To that I suggest again watching the episode. Either someone is doing an immensely accurate impression of these two, or it was them and they aren’t enjoying the blowback that comes with pissing off everyone.

So, what’s the lesson that should be learned here? Is it that you shouldn’t treat your customers like garbage? Is it that you shouldn’t lash out about poor reviews online, regardless of whether you agree with them or not? Is it that you shouldn’t seek out Gordon Ramsay as a way to vindicate yourself? Or is that reacting to bad press from all the above by blowing an o-ring on your company Facebook page and then crying hack only makes you look petty?

None of the above. The lesson here is that you shouldn’t go to Amy’s Baking Company, because if the food doesn’t kill you, I think there’s at least a chance Amy will.

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Companies: amy's baking company

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Comments on “Restaurant's Facebook Goes Nuclear Over Reviews & Gordon Ramsay; Owners Cry Hack”

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85 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To be fair, those cakes did look delish.

Indeed, but.. none of them were made at this restaurant. The pictures posted to their facebook stream all can be reverse image searched, leading to a claim that “the hackers stole them from us and uploaded them elsewhere and backdated them” – and apparently uncropped some of them too. This is at the same time that their twitter is admitting they buy their baked goods (http://i.imgur.com/NZSxver.jpg).

See:
http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/14/kitchen-nightmares-facebook-freakout.php
and
http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/kitchen-nightmare-comes-true-for-arizona-restaurant-owners-182329445.html
contain links to see the original sources of many of those images, all happen to be linked with the word ‘this’ in the title.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I eat out a lot, at restaurants all across the price/genre range, and here’s my take.

Whether this practice bothers me or not depends. If I’m at a low-end eatery, I expect it. If I’m someplace that claims to actually cook their own food (thus, I’m expecting the food to be actually good and lacking in industrial chemicals like preservatives and food colorings), or if I’m paying very much above grocery-store prices for it, this practice ensures I won’t return to the restaurant.

It’s all about the essence of good business: meeting the expectations that the business sets.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

One theory making the rounds yesterday was that Samy, the husband, is actually using the restaurant as the front for a money laundering operation. Frankly it seems like an awkward way to do that, but on the otherhand it is hard to understand how a place like this could stay in business for 6 years if there wasn’t some angle we are not seeing. At first I thought that Samy would have forbidden the show if something illegal was going on. But if you watch the show you will see that trophy-wife Amy gets anything she wants and she wanted Ramsey. Samy comes across in the show as a Preda attorney who thinks he can get away with anything because he is smart; maybe he thought no one would notice.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

‘smelly’, as in what a shithead to cheat his servers, etc out of what is SUPPOSED to be their main source of payment…

i am ashamed that i did not know until a couple years back, that waitstaff do not even get paid MINIMUM fucking wage, (in most places, i think california is the one honorable exception); and in fact, places where they get a SHAMEFUL pittance per hour and HAVE to rely on tips for their income…

it really sucks, and has made me tip better and more consistently…
the whole thing sucks also, in that when i have -let’s say- sub-optimal food (NOT a complainer, will eat marginal food rather than complain) the major way i can communicate that, is by leaving a crappy tip…

but it (99% of the time) isn’t the waitperson’s fault the food was crappy, so i’m punishing them for the cooks and/or managements failure…
that’s not right…

(oh, as an aside, that 99.99% of the time when a manager/whatever comes waltzing around the dining area asking patrons how their food is, they RARELY, ACTUALLY are interested in honest reactions, they pause only long enough to get the usual ‘it’s fine/good/great’, and then they move on…)

art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

the major way i can communicate that, is by leaving a crappy tip

That’s a big gun to wield, though, and ends up hurting people who aren’t at fault for your dissatisfaction as you’re depriving the entire working staff, from cooks through servers all the way to the dishwashers.

But I do it. For me, a “crappy” tip is 15%. The tip I leave for adequacy is 20%. Exceptional service and/or food is somewhere north of 20%.

If things were so bad that leaving even 15% seems too much, I complain directly to the manager (and still leave 15% even if the check is comp’d).

EEJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is a dysfunctional “family”, and they are “delusional” company owners.

They may have the best bakery products in the business, but if they also insist of giving customers sub-par food (especially those who were probably only there to buy pastries in the first place) they are going to continue to have problems.

I really hope that there is some sort of follow-up to this show, catching back up with the “restaraunteurs” in a few weeks or months.

They thought there was a set of the public that was “out to get them”, and while I will agree that a customer with a bad experience is more apt to post a comment or review than a customer that had a good experience, they really need to realize that they just aren’t restaurant people…they are bakery people.

She apparently makes very good desserts, and I’ve seen a lot of comments that state the same. However, those same comments seem to indicate that she is a baker, and not a chef, and that her “food choices” are not enjoyable.

How hard does it have to be to take a F’ing hint and realize that you aren’t currently cut out to be restauranteurs?

You may have invested a ton of money, but that NEVER equates to a guaranteed return on investment. Just because I have a lot of money, doesn’t mean I can buy a restaurant and serve good food, especially when I am essentially depending on “a baker” instead of “a chef” to cook the food served at my establishment.

For instance, burger king/mcdonalds/wendys may purport to be “all in one” fast food places, but outside of a few instances (usually limited time offers) their desserts suck and are not the draw for the general public.

Some people like McD’s apple/cherry/etc pies, but in the long run, it’s pretty rare that McD’s makes much money in the long run of those purchases, or that those purchases drew people to buy other items. It’s not often you say “I really want an apple pie from McD’s, and while we are there we’ll have a big mac”….

Anonymous Coward says:

For God’s sake don’t help promote that terrible programme.
Week after week of you can’t cook and you can’t keep your kitchen or storage areas clean? Here let me revamp what the restaurant looks like, help you prepare one evening of moderately edible non lethal food and that’ll fix it for you.

Anonymoose Custard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Regardless of what you think about the show, this episode is a stark departure from the usual fare.

Right from the start, Gordon praises them for their spotless kitchen and well-organized fridge.

He then samples some of the menu only to discover that it’s improperly prepared, that the recipes are confused, that the wait staff is regularly mistreated, and that everything goes into the trash, untouched by customers who wait literally hours for the food they ordered.

The problem in this kitchen is the people, and he gave up on them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I know this probably isn’t the forum for this sentiment but, I’m pretty sure this is a spot on case of why you don’t bring God into your work with you. That lady sounds like those crazy religious zealots who murder people for saying their book doesn’t make sense. She sounds like she thinks God ordained her as the best chef in the world and nothing, not even a silly little thing like the truth will change that opinion.

Worden Ramsey says:

Re: Hater!

And his writing tastes bland. His sentences lack any type of seasoning. The words he uses wouldn’t be put together by even an amateur wordsmith.
When customers buy his books and tells the cashier to “put the change in the charity box”. He goes to the shop and takes the change.

A despicable writer indeed.

Anonymous Coward says:

The owners did not give service staff tips (pocketing the money instead) and admitted to having fired over 100 employees.

Unless they are giving the service staff at least minimum wage, they can open themselves up to serious legal liabilities:

Tips

DOL Web Pages on This Topic

A tipped employee engages in an occupation in which he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30 per month in tips. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 per hour in direct wages if that amount combined with the tips received at least equals the federal minimum wage. If the employee?s tips combined with the employer?s direct wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Many states, however, require higher direct wage amounts for tipped employees.

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/wages/wagestips.htm

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Arizona (where the restaurant is) law is better, only allowing a credit of up to $3.00 an hour. As in only $3.00 an hour can be attributable to tips. However, In most jurisdictions, an employer CAN’T take an employee’s tips. The tip is being paid to the waiter, not the restaurant. Arizona does not have a similar law ive found, but what are the odds hes reporting the tips as income to the restaurant?

MissingFrame says:

I'm a Kitchen-Nightmare addict ...

I’ve watched almost every KN, Restaurant Impossible, whatever, yes I’m an addict that probably needs help. The theme of these types of shows is they get some amount of funds (usually $10K) to fix up whatever business is having problems. The combination of publicity and business sense usually works for at least a year or two, mostly longer.

In this particular episode it was obvious the plan of the owners was to reap the rewards without making any changes. They thought their sole problem was Yelp and bloggers, because we all know people making comments on the Internet are uninformed jerks. Gordon Ramsey was to come there and say how great the restaurant was and shut up the “haters” on the Internet. Good plan if the reviewers on Yelp were 100% wrong, but they weren’t.

The old saying, the customer is always right, is not factual, it’s how you run a business. The reason it is so is because it’s the customer is your boss, not because the customer is some sort of genius. I don’t care how wrong my boss is, if I told my boss to f* off how would I expect to keep my job?

It’s an excellent lesson in customer relations, Internet or not.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Meltdown

It’s interesting to note that the one and only thing Ramsay had praise for about this restaurant was its desserts and cakes, which Amy claimed to personally create. He said they were wonderful and completely at odds with everything else about the place, which was dreadful. Well, as it turns out, in her Facebook meltdown, Amy admitted she doesn’t actually make the desserts, she buys them elsewhere and repackages them as her own and she didn’t tell Ramsay that because “he’s foreign and wouldn’t understand”.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Doesn't God really hate frauds like these?

I’m pretty sure I read something about that in the good book that Amy and Samy claim to follow… ah yes, here it is, in Matthew, Chapter 7:

?Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep?s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

?Not everyone who says to me, ?Lord, Lord,? will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ?Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?? Then I will tell them plainly, ?I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I looked at their Yelp page and before KN aired they had a surprising amount of good, even great reviews. Which seemed inexplicable to me. But from reading them I think they treat certain friends and regulars well and possibly hit them all up for reviews.

There were a few terrible ones and those people said Samy would contact them and accuse them of never having eaten there and demand to see copies of their receipts! There were a few arguments and personal insults from him on Yelp too.

Personally I wish people wouldn’t go on the site and write fake reviews because, 1 it’s dishonest and 2 it dilutes the real reviews. And who knows, with 90% fake reviews on their, Yelp might actually delete a bunch of legit bad press in an attempt to fix the mess.

Lucy says:

Amy is without a doubt in need of professional help, except a chef was the wrong kind.

Sammy seemed to be somewhat aware of his wife’s special nature, in that he goes to great lengths to avoid telling her or letting her find out what people say about her cooking.

Then there’s that whole cloning themselves comment, and the cats are her children. There’s some scary level of cray happening there. Maybe this public display of delusional hysteria will cause someone to step forward who can actually help them.

On the other hand, maybe Sammy pissed off a senior member of the “family” and leaving him to work with Amy day in and day out, morning ’till night, and then having to go home with her every single day, just so there is a “family” laundry, is a punishment for a wrong done in his Vegas days. That man spends his entire life doing damage control. He is clearly losing his cool.

Anonymous Coward says:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/app-developer-calls-critic-fcken-little-know-it-all-site-goes-down/

People can’t take the criticism and filter out the garbage(i.e. rude language) and get to the meat of the problem and lash out at others and people turn on them and things get uggly from there.

And here is the advice others always give out to people:

Quote:

Michael.phoenixSmack-Fu Master, in training
Wed May 15, 2013 6:34 pm
Rule #1 about owning and operating a company is never insult your customers especially when they are coming to you with helpful advice.

and….

NEVER NEVER NEVER insult someone as an owner or as a representative of a company on the internet.

The internet is smarter, meaner, and much more ill tempered than you are. Never insult the internet.

Of course it applies to everything else in life, do not chose conflict it is a drain and distracts you from your goals, conflict is the last of the last resorts, when there is no other way to deal with it, absolutely no other way, because a fight requires a lot of energy and resources, that most of the time are scarce and could be used for other more productive things.

Crashoverride (profile) says:

the money laundering comments are unwarranted and have no basis in reality anyone can take a lot of money and pour it into a restaurant as long as they want to keep losing the money. there has never been a debate about how he made his money.

What is interesting though is Amy was sentenced to 14 months in jail for apparently taking out a corporate credit card in the amount of $15k in someone elses name.

Gordon Ramsey can come across as really harsh… I didn’t like that he always yelled until i learned why. He has figured out that the owners typically have given up they know better but let place become filthy the quality of the food fail and service to no longer become a reality. thus he typically gets in the owners face trying to piss them off…. once they show their anger he is able to use that and shape it into caring about making the business succeed.

The Restaurant Makeovers on the BBC are by far his best and aren’t over dramatized often he spends a week onsite with the family that owns the typical pub or small family restaurant.

Starke (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The money laundering comments are somewhat warranted, though. While anyone can run a business into the ground as long as the money holds out. People are responding to the sense that there’s something really off about this situation.

There’s just enough evidence to make the laundering suggestion plausible. Is it a nice thing to do? No, but I think in this case we’re past that.

Anonymoose Custard (profile) says:

Re: Amy is bi-polar

Someone on reddit pointed out that Amy likely has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and is not necessarily bipolar.

ODD is characterized by four or more of the following behaviors for a period of at least 6 months:
(1) often loses temper
(2) often argues with adults
(3) often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
(4) often deliberately annoys people
(5) often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
(6) is often touchy or easily annoyed by others (7) is often angry and resentful
(8) is often spiteful or vindictive

She’s eight for eight.

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Amy is bi-polar

she also fits a form of narcisistic personality disorder that an old friend of mines sister has, they act almost identical, shes actually labeled disabled because of it….shes been in “treatment” for over 20years….various doctors give up because you just cant work with her….shes also done a good bit of jail time for pissing off judges….

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Amy & Samy are like that Ginsu knife set that you always saw being hawked on late night T.V.

Not only did you get the Ginsu knife set, you got all the other shit that came with it! And that seems to be what you get with these two.

BTW is it just me or does Amy seem like she could use large doses of some type of anti-psychotic meds. If you ever wondered what the possessed look like, look now further then Amy.

dennis deems (profile) says:

Meme-tastic

So much meme fodder one hardly knows where to start!

I AM WONDER WOMAN
AND WE WILL BE PARENTS TO A GREAT KID, ONE DAY TO.
YOU DON’T KNOW US!! WE WILL THRIVE!
WE WILL START A GENERATION OF TRUTHFULLNESS
my wife is a jewel in the desert. you are just trash.
WE ARE NOT FREAKING OUT.
WE DO NOT NEED THIS. YOU STUPID PEOPLE. AMERICA IS ABOUT RESSLING

felishiagreen says:

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Do you need any data concerning any database.

Do you have to recover erased documents?

Do you have to clear your criminal records or DMV?

Would you like to expel any website or connection from any blog?

you should contact this programmer, he is dependable and great at the hack occupations..

contact : cyberhack118 AT GMAIL DOT COM

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