Amy’s Baking Company: A social media catastrophe

Getting a business off the ground is a difficult thing to do, but once successful, it can be very rewarding. There will always be problems; the whole journey of owning a business is overcoming any obstacle that you may face in a very polite and professional manner.

Reviewers generally want to advise people on their purchases, so any bad reviews should be taken as criticism which should be looked into and worked on. In doing so, the business should be able to improve. In my last post, I mentioned a company – ThinkGeek – that really listens to their customer base and tries to do what they can to improve their business. In this post, I will be mentioning a company that does the opposite and declines any help from people who aren’t the owners.

In some cases, employees’ have publicly violated the company’s code of conduct.  Many incidents that have gone viral involved cooks messing with food.

There have been examples of terrible work conduct where a Dominoes staff member was spitting in food for laughs, a Taco Bell employee licked a stack of taco shells, and even a cook at KFC was licking a pile of mashed potatoes.

But how often do you hear about the owners sabotaging their own businesses?

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In the case of Amy’s Baking Company, they have tried to burn, over-spice and sabotage the meals of their customers that complain. Not as harsh as putting human saliva on customers food, but that is just the start of it.

It all began with a poor review on Yelp, a local restaurant review site. A small business in Scottsdale, Arizona, was “attacked” by a reviewer because he was a “punk” who apparently didn’t know good food, according to Amy Bouzaglo the head chef and co-owner. From there the husband and wife team, Sammy and Amy Bouzaglo, have worked together to respond to the “haters” and “bullies” online.

Reputation Risks

When dealing with bad comments, they do not simply ignore it. Rather, they speak their minds and go off at any one with a different opinion. Because of the hate towards the business, the owners have been responding with very rude, hateful comments. 

They let their temper get the better of them and responded to many comments with rude language, causing their page to go viral. The more they commented, the more people would band together and respond.

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Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

For a while, the owners claimed that their ingredients were fresh and all the food was made in store. It wasn’t until the whole incident blew up from being featured on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares that the company got into some serious trouble with what they were actually cooking.

People who had previously dined there complained online and it was revealed that they didn’t cook much from scratch, and instead bought cakes and pasta pre-made elsewhere. If they didn’t insist on getting back at their “haters” and showing the world how amazing they thought they were, it wouldn’t have blown this out of proportion.

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I’d like to add some tips that any business owner could follow in order to avoid such a public online catastrophe:

  1. Don’t respond to hate mail: There is no reason to get caught up in a fight online.
  2. Don’t insult people: There is no justifying hateful, rude comments on any site.
  3. Take some advice: Not everyone is out to get you.
      1. Most of the people reviewing the company on Yelp had genuine advice to give the company, let alone Gordon Ramsay himself.

So what advice would you give to business owners going through similar strife? 

Thanks for reading.

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5 Responses to Amy’s Baking Company: A social media catastrophe

  1. brantsmith89 says:

    Great post Amanda!

    It’s not often you hear about owners badly representing their own businesses. With Amy’s Baking Company acting as they did, aspiring business owners would do well to not follow that path against bad reviews.

    Great tips for business owners as well.

  2. aldamakh says:

    Any feedback from customers should be turned into a positive by addressing the issue. By abusing and being rude to customers Amy’s Baking Company would lose customers. There will always be critics and the owners should have had a plan in place to respond positively to their customers.

  3. Katie says:

    Ive always heard that the worst thing you can do is delete or ignore feedback.
    I definitely like the idea of squashing people’s opinions with kindness.

  4. From an article about the company and Sammy potentially being deported:

    “Records show Amy has served time in federal prison and has a history of liens and judgments.

    In 2003, Amy Bouzaglo pleaded guilty to misuse of a Social Security number when she applied for a $15,000 bank loan. At the time, her name was Amanda Bossingham. She spent about a year in prison beginning in 2008.

    Records show that prior to her conviction, Amy faced four judgments in Colorado in 1998 and 1999 totaling about $14,000. She was also sued in Arizona in 2000 for $3,229. The judgments appear to have arisen from unpaid debts that were turned over to collection agencies.”

    I like how she has the nerve to call other people scumbags 🙂

  5. ciarron says:

    Be considerate in your approach to responding to feedback, good or bad. Have an established method for them to contact you rather than just airing their grievances on Facebook.

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