Serious Problem One hot summer day July, 2012 a Burger King employee standing with shoes n each foot nestled deep into a tub of lettuce made a decision to photograph his remarkable accomplishment. Caption with the photo is his words ‘ ‘This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King”, reported Dunning. In our high tech world it was no surprise that curious floggers with GAPS data tracker located the exact restaurant of the dirty shoe lettuce bandit in 15 minutes and notified the franchise owner.
Public Relation Message and Practices A situation such this as employee’s idea of a practical joke gone too far and a Public Relation nightmare. To offset the community concern Burger King was arced to acknowledge the incident with a press release. The company made a statement to the news stations in the state of Ohio stating that the incident was quickly investigated and three employees were terminated (CBS News, 2012). The company made a second statement that addressed a zero tolerance policy for the violations.
Burger Kings Director of Global Communication, Bryon Thornton made an announcement that there will be a continuance effort to enforce their strict procedures for the safe handling of food (Rosa Golden, 2012). Public relations spoke persons for Burger King went o work immediately to prevent Corporation damage to the Burger King franchise. First a quick response to rectify the issue by publicly reprimanding the culprits by nationally publicizing the termination of their employment for their unsafe food handling practices.
A second public relations practice noticed by Jim Edwards, reporter of the Business Insider, was that Burger King silent the twitter account. Jim stated that this is common practice to limit the message from reaching the entire social media audience in hopes of limiting the news any further (Edwards, 2012). Legal and Ethical Responsibility Legality issues relating to such issues as public relation must be addressed with caution. Although the employees committed a harmful act against the company disguised a practical joke.
The company still has to act within ethical and legal integrity and in doing that making their brand stronger. Legally the company wanted to avoid a potential slander lawsuit and never releasing the names of the culprits, only that three were terminated. Ethical responsibility of the Burger King Corporation is due to the stakeholders. Burger King address their continued commitment to uphold the safety of safe food handling practices. Burger King made a statement that declares the integrity of the organization will not allow nor support offensive and destructive use of food.
The fast food giant acted ethically by removing the employees as well as publicly stating that the interest of public safety is the most regard of the organization. Critique The Burger Kings organizational Public Relations acted with ethical and integrity. They choose to make an example of the three employees involved for their actions, however not publicly defacing them. The organization also came back with the mission and values the company insist on protecting and hat is to insist On the safe handling of food and that improperly use of food would not be tolerated.
A suggestion for Public Relations is more assurance of policy standards. A demonstration of policy for public viewing to explain what the best practices are as well as the track record of cleanliness within the franchise to alert the general public that this is only an isolated incident. The public relation team shutting down the twitter account strategically lessen the blow to the organization. A smart move, in hopes the limit exposure and assist the issue to not spark global attention and quickly dissipate. Conclusion A practical joke to some can lead to a major corporation issue in the click of a tweet.
A public relation spoke person must be on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to assist with trouble shooting situations such as this. Proper and quick response prevented this occurrence from additional corporate damage to stakeholders interest. Curious to know if the lettuce bandit knew the actions taking place would ultimately lead to the termination of employment, and if it their opinion was worth losing their jobs over.