FILE THIS UNDER DO NOT ATTEMPT.
The very public and unintentionally hilarious social-media meltdown of the Arizona restaurant known as Amy’s Baking Co. has taken another strange turn.
The beleaguered husband-and-wife restaurateurs, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, have now hired a PR firm to represent them. It didn’t take long for Rose+Moser+Allyn’s Jason Rose to take to Twitter in an attempt to turn the tables, firing off tweets declaring “2 sides to every story” and noting that a planned May 21 “grand re-opening” is already sold out.
A news release posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page says that during the reopening, “customers will be able to decide who is correct: a famous celebrity chef or the marketplace that has supported the small, locally-owned business for six years.”
And the release continues: “When re-opened, a portion of proceeds will benefit a charity organized to bring awareness to cyber bullying.” In other words, implying that the Bouzaglos have been bullied. By many thousands of people. Like, basically the entire Internet.
The highest-rated responses to these posts, as of noon today, were “Thumbs up if you liked the page just to follow the train wreck” with over 20,000 likes, and “Customers will be able to decide who is correct: a chef with 13 Michelin stars & restaurants all over the globe, or two psychos who can’t even cook a (expletive) pizza,” with over 17,000 likes.
The reality is, this goes back far beyond a disastrous recent appearance on Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” show in which the celebrity chef in question, Gordon Ramsay, walked out on them during a taping of the show because of their outlandish behavior. (And why did they go on that show to begin with? Didn’t they know his entire shtick is provoking his subjects?)
The problems started a few years back, when the restaurant had gotten some bad customer reviews on the social-media review site known as Yelp, particularly a 2010 entry by a “Joel L.” that was highly critical of the pizza and service he received on Amy’s outdoor patio. The Bouzaglos did not react well. Amy purportedly wrote backon Yelp: “Dear Joel,L. It is blatantly obvious to me why you were ALONE on a Saturday night! Read any of the reviews that have been written about us and you will see that EVERYONE loves us!! The only people that don’t is our “Competition”. We knew you had been sent by another restaurant before you even ordered your $14.00 Pizza.
“As for you having the Patio all to yourself unless you have been living on another PLANET it is summertime in ARIZONA MORON!!! Only TRAMPS and LOSERS want to sit outside in 110 temperatures!!!!”
The restaurant owners’ allegedly intemperate remarks have gone on for years now, which is one reason the TV show was interested in the first place. “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD” is a good example of more recent remarks.
But hold on. This week the Bouzaglos claimed their Yelp, Twitter and Facebook accounts had all been hacked. “We did not post those horrible things,” they said on Facebook on Tuesday. Police are investigating the hacking claim.
This is all a long way of stating what I hope is the obvious. Dealing with unhappy customers who make snide remarks about your business can be extremely frustrating. But it’s best not to call your customers – or the entire Internet – losers, tramps, morons, or stupid people who don’t know good food. You’ll be better served taking the high road.