Amy’s Baking Company, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based restaurant that faced an extreme public backlash after appearing on Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” May 10 and later lashed out at reviewers on Yelp and Facebook, hosted a large job fair over the weekend to replace wait staff.
Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the married co-owners of Amy’s Baking Company, were seeking to hire 30 people to serve and assist with operations at a “Grand Re-Opening” they scheduled for Tuesday night, according to KTAR News. The couple announced the event on their Facebook page, telling readers that the reopening would give patrons a chance to decide if their portrayal on “Kitchen Nightmares” had been fair.
“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 Facebook. “When reopened, a portion of proceeds will benefit a charity organized to bring awareness to cyberbullying.”
The statement also teased a possible news conference hosted before the main event. “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.”
Among the many complaints lodged against the Bouzaglos by Reddit and Yelp, they're charged with reselling baked goods made by other companies at higher prices and confiscating tips from their staff without notifying customers. In their appearance on “Kitchen Nightmares,” Samy Bouzaglo also admitted to host Gordon Ramsay that he occasionally threw out customers who complained that the food was bad.
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The episode marked the first time Ramsay has ever walked off the show. It also prompted Yelp and Reddit viewers to begin a campaign to shame the company for what they alleged were deceitful practices.
“It is very sad to see such potential be thrown away by stubbornness, ignorance and just plain rudeness,” one Yelp user wrote. “You had a world-renowned chef in your establishment to HELP you, [but] instead of showing gratitude, you treated him like dirt [sic].”
Another user wrote, “Awful restaurant and awful people. Look at how they harass old yelp reviewers and call everyone liars.”
The Bouzaglos, in turn, slammed dozens of commenters who criticized the restaurant in an expletive-laced rant, calling the campaign against them a “witch hunt” and vowing to “fight back.” They later claimed on their Facebook page that their online accounts had been hacked and that they hadn't written those messages.
The Bouzaglos have also hired a publicist to aid in boosting their public image, and Amy Bouzaglo apologized for her behavior on the reality show. “Our behavior that night was not right," she said. "What you saw is a woman who felt cornered, and I had a meltdown.”
The Bouzaglos also said in their Facebook post that they intend to address the “false” accusations against them. “The owners will likely be holding a press conference before the grand reopening and answering 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,” according to the posted message. “Questions will also be answered about what happened to their Facebook page.”