Papa John’s FAILPosted: January 8, 2012
Here’s an example of how a lone franchise employee can create a PR nightmare.
On Friday, January 6, 2012, around 8:00 in the evening, New Yorker Minhee Cho, age 24, walked into her local Papa John’s and ordered a small pepperoni pizza. She laughed and chatted with the server, completely unaware of what the employee really thought of her.
That is, until the next day, when she glanced at the receipt. Instead of Minhee’s name, the employee had typed the words “lady chinky eyes”. Dumbfounded at the racial slur, Minhee turned to Twitter to express her disillusionment, Tweeting “Hey
@PapaJohns , just FYI – my name isn’t “lady chinky eyes.”” The tweet, which went out at around 12:30 pm on Saturday, was accompanied by a pic of the offensive receipt (left, clipped from Minhee’s twitpic link). By 3:00 pm, the pic had been viewed over 25,000 times.
The Huffington Post attempted to contact Papa John’s, and reached an assistant manager who claimed no knowledge of the incident but insisted that she was sure the employee “meant no harm” but that “some people will take offense”. (Really? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t object to being referred to as “lady chinky eyes”!!)
According to the NY Daily News, store manager Ronald Johnson said the employee was a teen misguided by hip-hop culture, stating, “It’s unfortunate, but this is the modern culture that they’re involved in.”
Around 6:30 pm, 7 hours after Minhee’s Tweet of the receipt and far, far too late, Papa John’s posted a comment on their official Facebook Page:
“We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issue in New York. This act goes against our company values, and we’ve confirmed with the franchisee that this matter was addressed immediately and that the employee is being terminated. We are truly sorry for this customer’s experience.”
Now, some people say Papa John’s shouldn’t be penalized for one franchise employee’s incredible rudeness. Unfortunately, big companies are – for better or worse – represented by the people that interact with the public on their behalf. At the least, Papa John’s should have been all over this instantly – why don’t they have someone monitoring Twitter and Facebook who has the authority to leap in and start damage control before half a day goes by?