After months of PR damage control, the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, the embattled Phoenix-based restaurant that catapulted to Internet fame after a disastrous appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” publicly retaliated against a woman who criticized the company’s business practices. In a public post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, the owners bashed Samantha Summers, a woman who allegedly sent them a private message accusing them of stealing tips from servers.
“Samantha Summers You have no self concept of who you are or how you act [sic],” the restaurant wrote in the post on Tuesday. “Here is my public reply to your private message Samantha…You can ‘guarantee’ that I will be out of business all you want. People have been saying that to us for years. So why don’t you take a really deep breath, and hold it until we do. Then we will see who the last one standing is.”
Hours after the Amy's Baking Company episode of "Kitchen Nightmares" aired, outraged viewers began a campaign on Reddit and Yelp to shame the company for such alleged practices as confiscating tips intended for servers and repackaging and reselling other bakeries' cakes and pastries at a higher price. The situation escalated further when Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the co-owners of Amy’s Baking Company, began responding to commenters personally in a series of profanity-laced exchanges. They later claimed that a number of social media sites run by them had been hacked during the tirade.
The Bouzaglos alleged in the post that they were successfully audited by the Wage and Hour Division and were untroubled by “ignorant people who still cannot process the truth.” The post received 210 likes and 105 shares on Facebook in less than 24 hours, but it’s unlikely to improve the restaurant’s public image.
Despite a slew of recent PR efforts to rebrand the company, many of the comments to the post were negative. The top comments in the thread were, “Jesus Christ you're still going?” “Go home Amy, you’re drunk,” and “this is not how bullet points work.”
Samantha Summer eventually entered the thread herself, defending her criticisms of the restaurant’s tipping policies and urging the Bouzaglos to heed critics’ advice. “Look at the replies below, "Go home amy your drunk", "Youre still going" admit you are wrong and need to change [sic]” Summer wrote. “You opened yourself up to this by going on TV. You showed who you are cameras don't lie. It is my business because a family member worked for you and you treated her sooooo bad she quit after two days! I thought I would never see you again but there you were on national TV.”
Summer continued her grievances in another comment, writing, “You haven't learned any lessons. It was on tape your husband admitted he takes the waitresses tips why are you continuing to lie about it. Shall I post the video to remind you. Look at you going on a rant just like you did on tv. You do continue to argue with people you are arguing with me right now.”
In May, the company organized a “Grand Re-Opening” of the restaurant, followed three months later by a line of humorous merchandise based on of their “Kitchen Nightmares” episode. The company announced that it would donate a portion of the merchandise line's profits to the families of fallen Yarnell Hill Firefighters.