As students enrolled in Texas culinary arts schools already know, maintaining a strong public relations presence can be integral to the success of any restaurant. Of course, this process can grow extremely complicated when two parties begin to view an experience differently, as was the case at a popular restaurant in Pasadena, Texas this February. According to Fox News, Kelley’s Country Cookin’, a local eatery, has come under fire after a resident began sharing posts regarding an incident she disapproved of involving restaurant management and staff on social media.
Fox News has reported that Cindy Sanchez went in to Kelley’s Country Cookin’ to purchase a meal on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. While waiting in line to order her food, she alleges that she witnessed numerous members of the restaurant staff and management mistreat a homeless man who entered the establishment. In speaking with Fox News, Sanchez went into detail regarding the way that she feels the man was improperly addressed.
“The waitresses we’re making faces at him and you could see the disgust in their faces. They have a sign up there and it says ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service,’ but it doesn’t say ‘no shirt, no shoes, no homeless,” Sanchez explained.
The mere allegation of mistreatment of an individual wouldn’t be the biggest deal for many restaurants. Worst case scenario, they might lose Sanchez as one of their loyal customers and be able to move on relatively unscathed. When social media enters the picture though, things can change very quickly, as they did in this case. Sanchez posted a description of the alleged incident to her Facebook page, and the status was shared more than 5,000 times within 24 hours.
Understandably, the management and staff over at Kelley’s Country Cookin’ claim that what took place was an entirely different experience from the debacle described by Sanchez. Kelley claims that this is not his first interaction with the homeless man in question, and that he has always gone out of his way to treat the individual with fairness, respect and generosity. In fact, in an interview with Fox, Kelley produced surveillance footage from the day Sanchez claims the man was disrespected. On the tape, Kelley speaks to the man calmly for a few moments and then leads him to a seat and brings him some food, all very peacefully.
Nonetheless, he’s indicated that the fallout from Sanchez’s social media post has led his restaurant to receive threats from individuals who believe he mistreated the homeless man.
Kelley’s Country Cookin’ is something of a mainstay in the Texas area, operating seven different locations across the state. According to its website, it has branches in Pasadena, Stafford, Alvin, League City, Houston, LaMarque and Pearland. The restaurant serves American fare and comfort food, and has been in business since the mid 1980s and employs more than 600 individuals.