What You Can Learn from Applebee’s Social Stumble

By now, you’ve likely heard about the Applebee’s waitress, who was fired after posting a photo online of a receipt after getting upset over a bad tip.

This story quickly went viral, and Applebee’s has unfairly been criticized for essentially standing up for the customer.

Things started to spin out of control for Applebee’s as calls to boycott popped up across the social landscape.

This situation is more complex than simply a fired waitress, but let’s stick to the basics so we can focus on what digital marketers can learn from how Applebee’s handled the situation?

For starters, the Applebee’s PR and digital team were on the situation right away which was important if it wanted the smallest chance to regain control. Having a strategy ready to go just in case is key to success.

But it’s also important to be flexible as you may be under attack from all angles and from users in different social networks. Use a digital crisis strategy as a foundation but stay aware and open to changing on the fly.

The biggest lesson might be to stand behind your organization’s core beliefs. Applebee’s adamantly believed their customer was wronged and their employee was out of line.

They took the heat but their reputation should remain strong in the long run.

What have you learned from Applebee’s social stumble?