Wahaca weighs up PR cost of forcing a waiter to pay for 'eat and run' diners' bill


It's been a bad weekend for Mexican restaurant group Wahaca who spent the weekend dealing with the fallout from a Twitterstorm which blew up on Saturday night.

It all began when the former Labour Leader of Camden Council, Sarah Hayward, tweeted this:

It's a pretty shabby policy - after all, as someone pointed out on Reddit...

And suggestions that it was standard practice across the industry were challenged with L'escargot's GM Brian Clivaz weighing in on the topic. 


But the whole thing was definitely made worse by Wahaca's founder Thomasina Miers, who probably should have waited for her PR to come in before she started tweeting:

It's fair to say that didn't go down at all well, particularly when she appeared to become defensive about the whole story.

When the BBC got involved, covering the story, it quickly became one of the most-read on the site.

But the good news is that Wahaca eventually listened and changed the policy. The group's co-founder Mark Selby told the BBC that instead of holding an employee to account for an unpaid bill "in cases of "real negligence" - where they allowed a customer to leave, knowing they had not paid" they would not now have to pay any element of the bill.

The whole thing has probably been a bit of a boon for PR professionals in the field. As Restaurant PR and Communications Consultant Hugh Wright pointed out in a blog post over the weekend. "Acknowledge that something went wrong, explain why it happened, apologise for it, and set out what you’ve done to make sure it won’t happen again. And as with any emergency, if you’re at all unsure what to do, for goodness’ sake call in an expert."

We're betting Thomasina now wishes she'd done that a whole lot earlier now.


More about Wahaca Kentish Town

Where is it? 276 Kentish Town Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 2AA

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Twitter @wahaca


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