You've been served

03 April 2018 | Liz Bowen

Amongst its many benefits – and pitfalls – social media has been a lifeline for consumers looking to have their complaints (and complements) taken seriously.

Be honest, if a company or organisation isn’t behaving in the expected manner, it’s no secret that the best way to ensure a response is to ‘out’ them via a very public tweet or Facebook post.

Businesses offering a delivery service are often at the forefront of complaints, especially if said delivery is delayed, as are supermarkets selling dodgy stock. But, mainly, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll see a bad review of a hotel or restaurant if the service isn’t up to scratch. 

Following the news of the struggles facing a number of Jamie Oliver’s venues, this week another celebrity chef was in the firing line after a TV presenter was served a far from celebrity standard burger at his restaurant in Glasgow Airport.

When he was served a ‘truly awful’ £9.50 cheeseburger at James Martin’s namesake Kitchen restaurant while waiting for his flight, TV presenter Ewan Cameron wasted no time in letting the chef know what his ‘name is attached to’.

According to the restaurant, its food is made to Martin's 'exact specifications' by highly trained chefs.

However, looking at the comparison of what the burger should look like and what Cameron was served, I’d have been a bit cheesed off (pun absolutely intended) too.

My keen baker friends always share photos of their ‘Pinterest fails’ – you know the type, when the cute and adorable hedgehog cake ends up in real life looking like spiky got hit by a car…twice – and well, this was a bit like that. 

As we can all agree, having someone complain about your food / service / facilities is never pleasant, especially on such a public platform, and we’ve all heard the horror stories of hotel and restaurant owners launching foul-mouth tirades against those who dare to share their less-than pleasant experiences.

James Martin however stepped up. After responding to the initial tweet vowing to handle the matter personally, the conversation also appears to have been taken offline if Cameron’s later posts commenting on his appreciation of the chef’s care are anything to go by.

As an agency, we always recommend taking discussions offline if possible. Firstly, it allows you to get to the bottom of a situation and secondly, prevents clogging up others’ timelines with your conversation.

While this may have started out as some bad PR for James Martin’s Kitchen, by handling the situation with sincerity and integrity, the chef has turned it into a PR win. No-one expects him to be in attendance at every venue his name is attached to, but by taking the time to get to the bottom of the situation, shows he really does care about his reputation and the experience of his guests.