Social Media Fail: A Restaurant’s Rude Twitter Retaliation

red medicine twitter failWe can all agree that if you were a restaurant owner, you’d prefer that those who need to cancel their reservations in advance, rather than just not showing up. After all, it is common courtesy to let the restaurant know. It will give the restaurant the opportunity to fill the space, salvaging valuable business. What’s more rude than not showing up for your reservation? Calling out those MIA guests on the business Twitter account, which is exactly what a Beverly Hills restaurant owner has resorted to.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

On the night of March 23rd, Noel Ellis, owner of the Beverly Hills-based eatery Red Medicine, was anticipating a packed house. Ellis turned away many walk-in guests, denying them open seating in order to accommodate those who had called ahead. Much to his dismay, those seats would never be filled. “We lost 20 percent of our total reservations on Saturday and a huge chunk of our prime-time bookings,” Ellis complained. “Most diners don’t realize the impact no-shows make on a restaurant.”

Red Medicine Retaliation

While the restaurateur’s frustrations were undoubtedly merited, his subsequent actions in response to the event were not. Ellis logged onto Red Medicine’s Twitter account and publicly embarrassed the no-shows, calling them out by name. “Also, big thanks to Carlos MacManus, Colin Rolfs, Allison Joyce, Sam Java, Daniella Brown, and Matt Lopez for no-showing btwn 730-p-930p,” the tweet read. He tweeted another similar statement, calling out Kyle Anderson for his 8:15 absence.

So Was it Worth it?

If the reaction his comments provoked has any effect on the matter, his stunt will prove to be a costly one. The negative backlash has spilled onto the company’s Yelp page, where a number of low ratings have begun to appear. “I love your food and eat there at least once a month but I think it is EXTREMELY tasteless of you to shame your customers,” one reviewer wrote. “I want to come back to your restaurant but I don’t know if I will. I don’t like all the anger.” Despite these sentiments being repeatedly vocalized, Ellis appears to be unapologetic.

Social media presents businesses with a unique decision. It’s no longer as simple as, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” According to recent research, this good advice is often pushed aside now that we have Twitter accounts at our disposal. As seen in the reaction to Ellis’ comments, a social media platform does not guarantee immunity from the consequences, and businesses should be careful about the content that comes from their social media presences.

What do you think about the Twitter-shaming? Has you company ever had a Twitter slip-up?

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Eric is a 20-year-old native to Nashville, TN. A student at Bethel University, he will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Development. He has nurtured a passion for writing short stories and poems since middle school, and is now enjoying his new career as a writer. When not at the desk, you might find Eric tucked away in a coffee shop enjoying the company of his fiancée, who he will marry in June of 2013.

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