Social media road-crash: Amy’s Baking Company


Just in case you missed it, Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona is the latest company to get social media wrong – oh so wrong – and on an epic scale.

The company already suffered from poor reviews on the Yelp review site, to which owners Samy and Amy responded with insults – thus inviting further negative reaction.

Amys-Baking-CompanyThey then featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Their intention was clear – they wanted Chef Ramsay to re-enforce their own opinion that the food was great and prove the reviewers wrong.  When the 14-Michelin starred chef gave them feedback that their food wasn’t great, and that frozen shop-bought food should not be served up as home-made, they simply couldn’t take the criticism. It’s the first time Gordon Ramsay has walked out on a struggling business in his TV series.

After the show aired things went from bad to worse, with the store’s Facebook page being used by owners and commenters alike in a running battle of capitals and abuse. Quite what they thought they would achieve from such a public rant is beyond comprehension.

The latest instalment is that a PR consultant has been hired to turn things around for them, starting with the dubious claim that their Facebook account had been hacked, and it wasn’t actually them posting the abuse.  Secondly there is now a re-launch planned to enable customers to meet the real Samy and Amy.

A selection of links to the show Facebook pages and stories are below, and I’m not even going to talk about the other allegations made against them, or how they came across on the show.

This road-crash is however a prime example of how NOT to manage your social media channels:

  1.  If you receive a negative review, don’t defend by attacking. Take note of what they have said and make changes to your business.
  2. Don’t swear or call your customers names online. It is not professional!
  3. Don’t make threats against reviewers. Apart from it being nasty you could be legally in the wrong.
  4. Using capitals = SHOUTING – it’s not friendly, so don’t do it.
  5. Don’t respond to every negative review – sometimes it is better to stay silent.
  6. Don’t get personal. Amy and Samy started to attack Gordon Ramsay’s credentials as in ‘what does he know’. Judging by the success of his business; quite a lot more than you apparently.
  7. Don’t challenge reviewers to a showdown. ‘Bring it on’ will be taken up as a challenge by social media commentators and you will not come off looking the best.
  8. Don’t attempt to take on a battle publicly via social media channels.  It will look nasty and it’s there for everyone else to see.
  9. Don’t lie to your customers – the claim that their account was hacked has not been believed and has invited yet more criticism.
  10. Don’t dig yourself a bigger hole – if things are going badly call in professional help fast. In this case a PR consultant has been brought in, but way, way too late to be able to turn this business’ reputation around.

What’s next for Samy and Amy at Amy’s Baking Company? Some social media etiquette training?

Useful Links:

Amy’s Baking Company Facebook page

Yelp review site

Kitchen Nightmares show (C4 has blocked most of the Youtube links to the show due to copyright issues in the UK)

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Roisin Kirby is an experienced Marketing Consultant based in Nottingham (UK), specialising in education and services marketing. A Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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