From Domino’s Pizza to Taco Bell to KFC – and the list goes on and on – it seems that the fast food industry is always finding themselves in hot water. Unfortunately, each episode tends to be about something disgusting that has been done with the food. Today we have a new one to add to the list: Pizza Hut. This one may even take the prize for most disgusting, stomach-curling and make you swear off fast food joints for good.
Let me put it simply: A Pizza Hut district manager, in Kermit, West Va., was caught on surveillance urinating in the kitchen sink.
I’ll give you a second to unclench your stomach. Revolting, I know!
Although it’s been reported that Pizza Hut released the below official statement in response, I myself did not come across any communications by Pizza Hut, whether on their corporate website or social media channels. Here’s what Pizza Hut was reported to have responded to the incident:
“First of all, we are embarrassed by the actions of this individual,” says Pizza Hut, in a statement. “Pizza Hut has zero tolerance for violations of our operating standards, and the local owner of the restaurant took immediate action and terminated the employee involved.”
The incident, which occurred during non-business hours, did not include any food tampering, says Pizza Hut in its statement. “We follow strict safety and handling procedures and the restaurant has since been closed. We apologize to our customers of Kermit, West Virginia, and those in our system who have been let down by this situation.” [source]
Is this a crisis or an issue?
The very first time something along these lines was published to YouTube was the Domino’s Pizza crisis of 2009. Since then, it seems that the public, although revolted, has become desensitized to these sorts of shenanigans. For this reason, Pizza Hut is facing a very severe issue, rather than a full-on crisis.
However, had they not released a statement and had they not taken the very necessary actions to close down, sanitize and handle the incident (and manager responsible) appropriately, they would have very well faced a crisis. Although this is not to say that the Pizza Hut in Kermit, West Va. won’t be in crisis. Odds are, they’ll find that this incident will hurt their reputation and bottom line for the next while (which is the definition of a crisis: a negative incident that has a long-term, negative impact on the organization’s reputation and/or bottom line).
What about you?
Will this incident affect your decision to eat at, or order from, a Pizza Hut in the future?
For your viewing, here’s the surveillance video of the incident taking place:
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.