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Applebee's commits social media suicide

Staff Reporter

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 00:02

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

Morgan Mears | The Houstonian

Hell hath no fury like an Applebee’s scorned.

Last week an Applebee’s employee, Chelsea Welch, was fired after taking a photo of a customer’s receipt and putting the image on Reddit. The ex-employee shared the photo because of what was written on the receipt.

According to ABC News, Alois Bell, a St. Louis pastor, crossed out the 18 percent gratuity that was included on the receipt due to the size of Bell’s party and instead of placing a different amount in the place for the tip she wrote in a zero and then left a note that said “I give God 10% why do you get 18?”

After finding a photo of her receipt online, Bell returned to the same Applebee’s and demanded that the woman who originally served her, as well as the woman who posted the photo be fired. Applebee’s reportedly fired the employee who posted the photo of the receipt.

Even from the point of view of a Christian, the actions that Bell and the St. Louis Applebee’s took were wrong and completely uncalled for. Bell may give God her 10 percent every month as a tithe, but it isn’t supposed to come from someone’s tip. A tithe is when someone takes 10 percent of their income and they give it to a religious group, normally they give the money back to their church.

While restaurants may strive to drill the old saying “the customer is always right” into their employees, in this case it just isn’t so. Bell wasn’t right; while the note itself is justifiable, placing a zero on the tip section of the bill was not.

As if firing the woman didn’t bring Applebee’s enough embarrassment and criticism, when Internet users took to the restaurant’s Facebook page they were stunned to see that many of their comments that had been deemed “negative” by those in charge of the page had been deleted late the same night that they had been posted. 

According to ABC News, around 2 a.m. the Applebee’s Facebook team began removing or “hiding” comments on a status they had posted to try and alleviate some of the harsh worded attacks that were coming their way. They hid comments on the update that could be viewed as negative or comments that described Applebee’s as an uncaring and heartless establishment. After realizing that their comments were being removed, users started replying with sarcastic remarks such as “Anyone else wondering if Applebee’s hired the pastor to delete our comments?”

Soon after their comments had been removed many of the users were tagged in a status update from the Applebee’s page. The status went on to say that they valued the users as guests and hoped they would continue to visit their establishment but that they did not know the full story behind the incident and why Ms. Welch was fired.

It was a nice gesture but it lost any and all meaning when the same status update was copied and pasted minutes later only with different people tagged in it.

Most people would stop there, not the Applebee’s social media team.

According to, Applebee’s then began to reply back to users, and tag them specifically in comments in which the Applebee’s team tried to cover up their mistake in firing Ms. Welch. The media team then commented on how they are deeply upset that the public was upset with them, they were still in the right. The media team then stated that Applebee’s had done no wrong because the Facebook users that were comment on the update did not know the “full story.”

Applebee’s list of mistakes continues to grow as the controversy goes on. From firing Welch, to hiding “negative” comments on Facebook, Applebee’s and its social media team seem to have a bit of growing up to do.

The only way to end this controversy is to hire Chelsea Welch back to calm the public. The next step would be to fire its media team and hire a completely new one.

Applebee’s needs to step up and admit its wrong doings and stop hiding from the issue like a child.

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