Boston Market Remains Silent as PR Disaster Ruins Thanksgiving, Damages Reputation
December 10th, 2020
Thanksgiving is a day to spend with loved ones and give thanks, but Boston Market’s bungled “To-Go Meals” campaign left many customers hungry and angry at the food chain. It’s silence in response led to a PR disaster.
Though some people got warm, ready-to-eat meals with turkey and delicious sides, others were left waiting hours only to receive a frozen, inedible turkey, or even no turkey at all.
And what did Boston Market have to say for itself or offer its customers…? Nothing.
Boston Market’s inaction has left the company with a major blackeye to its reputation, and people are still upset that they pre-paid for meals that they couldn’t eat or didn’t receive.
As one customer wrote on Boston Market’s Facebook page: “We all thought we wanted a fresh, juicy, delicious turkey breast for Thanksgiving, but Boston Market really came through with an extra smokey, extra salty, inedible Mandalorian Mudhorn egg for us to throw into the garbage.”
Boston Market’s plan sounded great: customers could pre-order a Thanksgiving meal that they could pick up, take home, and enjoy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The worst part of the situation Boston Market going silent on customers across the country. That lack of response transformed an operational issue into a true PR disaster.
The company’s Thanksgiving post on Facebook has more than 460 comments, with the vast majority complaining about how Boston Market ruined Thanksgiving. Boston Market’s Thanksgiving post on Twitter has 123 comments, with most being complaints.
Crisis Response 1-2-3
During this crisis, Boston Market could have followed a few steps to help manage the situation:
- Respond to Customers: As soon as the company was aware people were having issues with their meals, Boston Market should have made an effort to respond. Letting customers know you’re aware of the issue is important, even if the problem can’t be solved immediately.
- Offer an Apology/ Refund: With the number of complaints coming in, hundreds of people left Boston Market feeling ripped off and taken advantage off. Boston Market should have issued an apology ASAP, along with providing refunds to all unsatisfied customers. Losing a few dollars now is better than losing customers forever.
- Learn from its Mistakes: With a couple more holidays coming up, if Boston Market is planning any similar campaigns, it needs to learn from its Thanksgiving crisis so it can ensure all customers receive what they ordered.
Although Thanksgiving was more than a week ago, it’s not too late for Boston Market to act in rectifying the issue with customers.
Following these three steps–straight from Xenophon’s Crisis Communications Plan Fundamentals playbook–may not bring back all lost customers that Boston Market will likely experience, but it’s a step in the right direction to repairing its reputation.