As you repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers, you may have recently read the scathing New York Times restaurant review of Guy Fieri‘s American Kitchen and Bar. Some choice nuggets from the thermonuclear rant:
“Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?”
“Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste?”
“By the way, would you let our server know that when we asked for chai, he brought us a cup of hot water?”
“[W]hen we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?” (N.B. “Donkey Sauce” … classic example of marketing and PR/branding departments not coordinating effectively.)
With these barbs still fresh, Fieri appeared on the Today Show, where he kept a positive attitude and didn’t seem to take things personally. He may have waded a bit far on conspiracy allegations against the critic, but still, kudos for responding directly to criticism. Now, what else should Fieri do to eliminate the bad taste left by the review? Here’s a three-point plan (recipe?) for Guy Fieri to follow:
1) Ensure your tone is consistent. Fieri‘s brand is meant to be playful and fun, and the happy face he brought to the Today Show the right approach. That’s better than pushing back with a stern press release or temper tantrum.
2) Take meaningful action. Given that the “nuclear waste” drink is off the menu, that’s a solid start to some basic restaurant crisis management. Fieri might show some good humor and name a new drink after the critic, perhaps something from (ahem) “the well”?
3) Keep your friends close … and your enemies closer. It’d be worthwhile for Fieri to invite the critic to join him at the restaurant for a meal and a drink, perhaps as a video clip on restaurant social media. Of course, it’s highly unlikely any major restaurant critic would ever take up such an offer, but such a gesture shows Fieri can take criticism in stride, and certainly caters to his fans.
This simple PR plan can fix a lot of wrongs. As for the questionable Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders, hmmm…