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Archive for October 29th, 2012

Boloco Response to Hate Mail: Peppered with Authenticity

It’s storming outside in Boston, but the CEO of Boloco has an announcement to make. Despite the conditions, his store will remain open. What follows is hate mail from customers, which triggered Boloco’s response.

The CEO responds well to many points:

  1. He incorporates the reasons why customers are mad by drawing in direct quotes.
  2. He clarifies misconceptions:
  • employees were actually offered the right to leave;
  • employees were offered rides and cab fare;
  • employees need the $ – they suffer loss of wages when the stores close.

3. He provides an apology for the misunderstanding

4. The tone works. It’s conversational and honest.

So What Doesn’t Work?

  • The P.S. At the end. We expect a P.S. Thank you for your concern about our employees. We have the best employees in the world and we are concerned about them too. OR We’re starting a special scholarship to keep employees warm this winter called the Boloco fund. But instead, Mr. Pepper peppers use with a marketing message, a link the heritage of his company on YouTube. The P.S. undermines the note.

Full Text below:

“To all of our customers and friends,

We sent a “fun” email about an hour ago to let you know that despite the incoming storm we are, yes, OPEN for business. Since then, we’ve received more hate mail in a 60 minute span than at any other time.  Here are a few examples:

“WTF are you bragging about keeping your stores open for? T is closing at 2, let your employees go home! Bad form.”

“Let your employees go home! You are ridiculous! I wouldn’t eat there if I was starving, if that’s the way you treat your employees!”
“That’s insane. Keep your employees safe. That makes burritos taste better.”
“Guess what Boloco – there’s no one in town because most companies care for their employees and told them to stay home.
“These “yes, we’re open” emails are starting to make you all look like dirtbags.”
“What are you a bunch of idiots!!!!! Not only are you putting the lives of
your staff at risk, you are now trying to get customers to come in and put
their lives at risk. For what????? A couple dollars. You have got to be the
biggest bunch of a**holes I’ve ever heard of…”

Well, smarten up, and close! No point in putting employees at risk…”

“I’d hate for your employees to have to sleep in the booths in their respective restaurants. Please, please send them home.”

For the record, we have allowed all team members who need or want to go home to do so.  Many didn’t come this morning.  For those who stay, we have offered to pay for taxi fares home and offered to give them rides (I have offered to drive people myself).

We have no visions of making great chunks of money today. We won’t. No, we stay open because we employ people on an hourly basis who rely on Boloco being open to pay their bills and care for their families.  When we close, they make no money.

As long as we all, collectively, deem it to be safe for our team members to be at work and can provide team members with safe and reliable transportation home, we will always opt to give them a chance to earn the income they need.

I’m sorry that that yet another email has now been added to your endless inboxes, but I thought some of you would appreciate an honest explanation and apology for this misunderstanding.

Stay safe everyone.  We’ll take care of ourselves, our families, and our team members, and you do the same for you and yours!


John Pepper

CEO & Co-Founder


PS. If you have some spare time and are interested in learning more about what makes Boloco tick, feel free to watch “Our Story at 15″… link is here
October 29th, 2012 written by zach
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Zach Braiker

This blog analyzes where social media culture and business converge. Zach Braiker is the CEO of Refine & Focus a social media agency and an adjunct professor of social media at Emerson College.

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