Sometimes social media is full of noise. Sometimes it’s full of hate. Sometimes it’s full of good humor.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store might not be laughing right now, but the rest of us are.
You see, the chain restaurant is under siege on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because it fired an employee whose husband then asked “why” on Twitter. And so #justiceforbradswife was born.
The comments supporting Brad and his wife Nanette, a former 11-year employee at an Indiana Cracker Barrel, are just plain funny. Cracker Barrel has continued to post about pancakes, burgers, music and crafts. Meanwhile, social media users are mocking them at every opportunity.
When we read stories like this or watch them unfold in real time, we always ask ourselves: What would we tell Cracker Barrel? Here are a few thoughts:
Don’t ignore the masses: It just encourages them. Say something. Just don’t turn your back on people who could be customers. Something as simple as, “While we appreciate the interest in Cracker Barrel, please understand we cannot comment on personnel matters for privacy reasons.” Yes, it’s corporate speak, and you might take some different kind of heat for that. But at least that acknowledges the dialogue. Being silent only further alienates the crowd. You can’t keep posting about your food and pretending this conversation is not happening.
Turn the beat around: Come up with a clever way to join in and show you’re not taking yourself too seriously. Maybe feature current employees from all over the country with a photo, quote and hashtag: #johnswife, #joanshusband or #sallysbrother. Or, offer a free dessert this weekend to any wife of someone named Brad.
Bring her back: Without talking to company officials, we have no idea why #bradswife was really let go. There are so many reasons these days why employees are fired – some legit and some not. Can you imagine rehiring Nanette and turning her into a company celebrity of sorts, an ambassador for Cracker Barrel who can go on talk shows and claim how the company did her wrong but then brought her back and treated her like a queen? Talk about your free publicity.
The flip side, if you wait too long? Some other food chain will hire #bradswife and capitalize. Just wait for that.