In the world of food services, it is not unheard of for a company to face the wrath of dissatisfied customers. But for Applebees, the normally restaurant often associated with value and good feeling, recently faced a potential boycott that made international headlines. Here’s a detailed look at what happened, and how the popular franchise recovered.
The Issue that Sparked a Boycott
At the heart of the boycott threat against Applebees was the story of a waitress who was fired from a Texas restaurant. According to the story, the waitress had served an Applebees customer who did not want to pay for her order. The waitress had had an argument with the customer and was ultimately fired for her actions. This quickly spurred an online petition for a “Justice for Applebees Waitress” boycott, which gained momentum and threatened to put a serious dent in the franchise’s bottom line.
Why an Applebee’s Boycott Would Not Have Been Good News
Applebees is one of the largest restaurant franchises in the world. While their restaurant concept is primarily focused on bar and grill style dining, Applebees locations are found in more than 2000 locations across the US. The franchise is best known for its “value” menu offerings, providing customers with a wide range of affordable options. For Applebees, a successful boycott could have a major impact on business scaling back the success they had enjoyed in recent years.
How the Company Handled the Crisis
In response to the Applebee’s boycott threat, the franchise took two courses of action. First, they issued a public statement on their website expressing their disappointment in the handling of the situation and extending empathy to the employee. Following this statement, Applebees worked with the waitress in question to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. Although the exact details of the resolution were not publicly released, the company was able to put the issue behind them and turn potential boycott threat into praise from customers and the media.
The Positive Reception & Public Response
The public had many positive things to say about Applebees’ handling of the boycott threat. Customers praised the company for their transparency and willingness to listen, and many praised the waitress for her resilience in the face of adversity. Additionally, the resolution to the boycott threat was seen as a major positive for Applebees, serving as a reminder of the company’s commitment to customer service.
What Applebee’s Can Take Away From the Experience
Applebees, as a major franchise, learned a few valuable lessons from this episode. For one, they saw firsthand how an incident of poor customer service can quickly spiral out of control. Additionally, they learned how difficult it can be to respond to a negative situation, and how quickly a turnaround can be achieved in a crisis. Finally, they were able to demonstrate how powerful a resolution they could achieve when they show understanding and compassion to the individuals involved.
For Applebees, the boycott threat was a reminder of the power and importance of customer service in the age of social media. By responding quickly and with empathy, the company was able to turn a potential negative into a major positive for the company. The incident proved that even when an organization seems infallible, there is still room for improvement and growth. Going forward, Applebees is sure to look to the situation as a reminder of the importance of showing understanding, and the good that can come when a company puts their customers first.