Due to the massive social backlash Applebee's has received on their Facebook page in reaction to the termination of Chelsea Welsch, Applebee's has felt obligation to respond. Time to give an account for their actions.
Before I share their response to to the masses, I must clear a few things up.
After my last article you, the readers, jumped on the comment line and gave your opinions; many opinions, and some quite creative and colorful, but one person asked the question, "How did $34 spread over 20 people?" Good question.
Pastor Alouis Bell was not only angry that she had to pay a tip on a $34 tab, but she had already made the waitress split the $180. tab into 20 separate tickets, so they would not have give the 18% gratuity on groups of 8 or more. The $34 ticket in question was just her meal. The Pastor threw this whole big fit because she didn't want to pay a tip on only her meal.
Thank you, the readers, for helping clear that up.
This morning, Applebee's had this to say via Facebook:
We appreciate the chance to explain our franchisee’s action in this unfortunate situation.
Please let us assure you that Applebee’s and every one of our franchisees values our hard working team members and the amazing job they do serving our guests. We recognize the extraordinary effort required and the tremendous contribution they make, and appreciate your recognition and support of our colleagues.
At the same time, as we know you will agree, the guests who visit Applebee’s — people like you — expect and deserve to be treated with professionalism and care in everything we do. That is a universal standard in the hospitality business. That includes respecting and protecting the privacy of every guest, which is why our franchisees who own and operate Applebee’s have strict policies to protect personal information — even guest’s names.
With that in mind, here is what happened in St. Louis:
- A guest questioned the tip automatically attached to her large party’s bill by writing: “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?” on the check.
- A different server, who did not even wait on the group, photographed the receipt, posted the photo online and commented about the incident.
- The guest subsequently heard from friends who identified her from the posting, where her name is clearly visible, and the restaurant was notified. There was no further communication with the guest.
- The team member was asked about posting the receipt and admitted she was responsible.
- When she was hired, the team member was provided the franchisee’s employee hand book which includes their social media policy and states:
“Employees must honor the privacy rights of APPLEBEE’s and its employees by seeking permission before writing about or displaying internal APPLEBEE’S happenings that might be
considered to be a breach of privacy and confidentiality. This shall include, but not be limited to, posting of photographs, video, or audio of APPLEBEE’S employees or its customers,
suppliers, agents or competitors, without first obtaining written approval from the Vice President of Operations. The policy goes on to specify: Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
- As a result of her admission to violating a clear company policy intended to safeguard guests, the team member is no longer employed by the franchisee.
Our franchisees are committed to acting in the best interests of guests and team members. This is a regrettable situation and we wish it had never happened. However, the disregard for an important policy left the franchisee no choice but to take the action they did.
We hope this provides you with some additional insight. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to explain the facts involved.
How do the people feel about this response? Well there are many colorful comments posted on their Facebook page below.
Here's a few comments I've picked out just from responses to my last article.
"This made me angry as well . Emailed Applebee's told them what i thought and said would not eat there again ."
"Applebee's doesn't want to lose one, cheap angry customer? How bout those of us enraged by the firing of this poor girl contact Applebees and pledge to boycott the restaurant unless she is reinstated?"
Gawker also explains the following:
Speaking with Consumerist yesterday, Welch said she checked the employee handbook to make sure she “didn’t break any specific guidelines.”
But in its statement, Applebee’s disputes this, saying Welch violated the company’s social media policy, which states: “Employees must honor the privacy rights of APPLEBEE’s and its employees by seeking permission before writing about or displaying internal APPLEBEE’S happenings that might be considered to be a breach of privacy and confidentiality.”
The policy does not specifically refer to receipts, only to “photographs, video, or audio” of employees, customers, suppliers, agents, or competitors. Additionally, “permission” is defined as “written approval from the Vice President of Operations.”
The punishment for violating this policy is “disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”
Honor the customer but not honor the employee’s need to make an honest living?
What this story has brought to light, however, is a much bigger problem; one that many of you, the readers, have addressed. This has cause me to look much closer at how people who work in the food industry feel that Christians truly are the worst group in general to serve.
This issue I plan on spending more time investigating and reporting back on. It is always to our benefit to bring into light those dark areas in our social experiences with each other that only reinforce negative stereotypes and cause further injury in an already broken world.
If you would like to leave Applebee's a comment, here is the link to the Applebee's Facebook Page.
If you would like to leave Pastor Alouis Bell a message on her ministry facebook page or website, well, that will be a bit harder as they apparently took down their pages. Who can honestly blame them.
If you have a story of horrible treatment from people who claim to be 'Christians' 'religious' or 'church leaders' I want to hear your story.
If you are a Pastor, Christian, or religious leader and want to share your thoughts.
If you have a story idea for me to explore
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