Amy’s Baking Company, an Arizona restaurant owned by husband and wife Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, appeared to suffer a meltdown after they were portrayed negatively on an episode of Fox's “Kitchen Nightmares,” hosted by Gordon Ramsay. Now the pair are planning a “grand reopening” of their restaurant, which they say will let customers hear their side of the story.
On the episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” in which Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale was featured, Amy Bouzaglo said the restaurant’s business had declined over the past two years after bad reviews were posted online. Bouzaglo complained that reviewers had deliberately made up lies about the restaurant, falsely claiming that the food had been inedible. Celebrity chef Ramsay ultimately disagreed with the Bouzaglos’ assessment of their business, leading to a heated confrontation in which he gave up and walked out for the first time in the show’s history.
When the episode aired on Friday, it caused a huge backlash on Reddit and Yelp, where reviewers accused the restaurant and the Bouzaglos of reselling baked goods produced by other bakeries at higher prices and stealing tips from the wait staff. The Bouzaglos responded to dozens of individual commenters with a series of expletive-laced comments that have since been taken down from their various sites. They later updated their Facebook, apologizing for the comments while claiming that their account had been hacked.
Despite the bad publicity, which spiked when a former waitress hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit slamming the restaurant, the couple announced on Wednesday that they plan to host a “grand reopening” in response to “unflattering portrayals on national television.”
“Customers will be able to decide who is correct: a famous celebrity chef or the marketplace that has supported the small, locally owned business for six years,” the Bouzaglos wrote on their Facebook page. “When reopened, a portion of proceeds will benefit a charity organized to bring awareness to cyber bullying.”
The press release also stated that, “Diners will also have the opportunity to meet, and judge for themselves the character of owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, who have devoted their lives to and earn their living from their small restaurant.” It also announced that there would “likely” be a press conference before the event.
The post also addressed some of the accusations against them, suggesting that they were all untrue. “The owners will likely be holding a press conference before the grand reopening and answer falsehoods depicted on a reality television show, including assertions that the restaurant confiscates tips from servers. In fact, wait staff is paid $8-$14 per hour, two and a half to nearly five times the standard hourly wage for servers,” the post stated. “Questions will also be answered about what happened to their Facebook page.”
The post ended with a statement attributed to Samy Bouzaglo: “We are very upset by what has taken place, apologize about the acrimony that has ensued but now must fight back to save our business. We hope and believe much good can result from what has transpired. We ask the public to keep an open mind as we begin to tell our side of the story.”
The Facebook post, which was shared by nearly 1,500 people as of Thursday afternoon, received a slew of mostly negative comments. “Customers will be able to decide who is correct: a chef with 13 Michelin stars & restaurants all over the globe, or two psychos who can't even cook a f---ing pizza,” Facebook user Tim Russell wrote.
“Paying servers $14 an hour to make up for them not being allowed to earn tips is fine, albeit unorthodox. However, since the industry standard is that tips go to servers, you should have signs saying not to leave tips,” Blake Curry wrote. “Omitting such signs means you are deceptively looking to overcharge for the boxed food you reheat, and that sort of dishonesty and lack of integrity is a big part of why you are under such scrutiny now.”