Amy’s Baking Company: Biggest Social Media Firestorm Ever?

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Amy’s Baking Company makes every social media mistake possible, and invents some new ones

By Karen Masullo, EVP Social Media Risk, Firestorm

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, scene II

SMFsmallWhat do Chef Gordon Ramsay, reality TV, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Reddit have in common?  Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro owners Sam and Amy Bouzaglos hate them all. We know this because over the past several days, the couple have taken to their Facebook page to tell them this, and in doing so, have taken on the internet, the universe, and everything.

Amy’s Baking Company was featured in a recent episode of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.  In a first of its kind, Chef Ramsay left the Bistro without completing his crisis turnaround task.  The couple simply would not listen to Chef Ramsay, were aggressive, verbally abusive, and in abject denial of their crisis. There is too much here to encapsulate in a paragraph, so take a moment and watch a bit of the episode.

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Prior to Chef Ramsey visiting the Bistro, the Bouzaglos’ had responded to some negative criticism of their restaurant on the review site Yelp!  In 2010, the story of the couple’s aggressive response to a negative Yelper review made the local news.

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As detailed in The Phoenix New Times: “Ugly,” “loser,” and “moron” may not be the first words that come to mind as a way for a restaurant owner to speak to an unhappy customer, but Amy Bouzaglo chose to use them anyway.

‘In 2010, the owner of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale reacted to a negative, one-star review on Yelp posted by web developer and foodnik Joel LaTondress with an angry tirade that, in addition to the name calling, accused LaTondress of working for the competition.’

‘Things got worse when Chow Bella reported on the fiasco and Bouzaglo responded by posting additional angry comments and arguing with readers. It wasn’t long before someone gave Bouzaglo her own Twitter account and hashtag under the name Crazy Amy. The incident even made it into a segment on 3 TV News.”

ABCTipsFast-forwarding to the present, after the Bouzaglos’ episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired, the Bouzaglos took to their Facebook page to refute allegations that they were repackaging food and re-labeling it as made on premises.  It additionally came to light that the couple took all server tips, an absolute Never Ever Do This in the restaurant business. Oh there’s more.

The couple promoted the segment heavily on their Facebook page before the show aired, but were not quite prepared for the onslaught of public commentary during and after the show.

Aside from insulting customers publicly, using offensive language, lying, creating poorly written press releases, deleting previous comments made from social sites, and doctoring images once messages were deleted, the couple used the time-honored “someone hacked our account” approach. I do not hesitate to say that the previously named Streisand Effect will now be known as The Amy Effect; the more you try to distract from an incident, the more that incident will become known
These comments by the Bistro’s owners have since been deleted, but as we know, “what happens on the internet, stays on the internet.”  Caution, strong language:

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