Twitter is a quick and easy way to get word out to your guests about your restaurant’s menu, specials, and any promotions going on. It’s a fun way to interact for them and a simple way to gather feedback on specific menu items. Twitter can also backfire, causing massive amounts of negative PR. Here are 7 examples of restaurant Twitter fails.
1. Apologies for the Apology
Starbucks Argentina wanted to apologize in advance for running out of branded coffee cups and sleeves and having to replace them with unbranded locally sourced items. Unfortunately, their apology tweet was misconstrued as insulting Argentinian-made products (think: “Sorry we have to use inferior cups”). The apology went viral and spurred the need for another apology.
2. McDonald’s Hashtag Regret
When McDonald’s created the hashtag #McDStories, the idea was for guests to share fond memories of the fast food chain. Instead, people — lots of people — tweeted about negative experiences. One post in particular that linked to a PETA website, was retweeted over 100 times.
3. Employee Does Unspeakable Things to Food
The photos of a Taco Bell employee urinating on nachos stayed on the internet long after the man was fired for tweeting the indecent shot. The PR scandal was bad enough to rank No. 5 on Business Insider’s list.
4. Handling Other Peoples’ Racism
In 2011, a photo of a seemingly-legitimate McDonald’s notice alerted customers that African Americans would be charged more. Though the picture was a prank and not at all connected with the company, McDonald’s scrambled to undo the negative PR, spending two days on Twitter to counteract the effect.
5. Starbucks Mixes Nationalities In Epic Irish Slip-Up
To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, @StarbucksIE (the Irish Twitter account) asked its 2,000 followers “What makes you proud to be British?” The mislabeling did not go over well, forcing the company to issue a formal apology.
6. Wendy’s Loses Control Of #HeresTheBeef
In an attempt to bring back the glory days of their “Where’s the Beef” TV ads, Wendy’s launched #HeresTheBeef. Unfortunately, the Twitter hashtag was used to discuss everything but Wendy’s hamburgers.
7. Burger King Gets Hacked
Earlier this year, Burger King’s Twitter feed was hacked when someone posted that the chain had been sold to McDonald’s. The hacker then began posting pro-McDonald’s content. The ordeal eventually ended when Twitter suspended the account. McDonald’s, for their part, negated the rumors with tweet of their own.
- Be sure your Twitter feed is protected with a strong password that changes regularly.
- Be clear about what you’re communicating. You don’t want to apologize for an apology.
- Hashtags have a mind of their own. Be careful which you choose, as you won’t be able to control them once they’re out in the Twit-o-sphere.
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