How You Can Cause a Crisis by Giving Someone the Finger

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    Quick slip leads to national crisis

    Sandwich specialist Arby’s is the latest to join the long list of fast food organizations to have served up various body parts to customers. By literally serving a 14-year-old a piece of an employee’s finger in a roast beef sandwich, one Michigan-area Arby’s kicked off a national crisis. Arby’s corporate response was to issue a vague statement claiming that it has been, “in touch with its nationwide network of restaurants to reinforce training and safety protocols for our 66,000 employees.” Although the thought behind the statement was good, it isn’t specific enough to be effective. In a recent USA Today article by Bruce Horovitz, BCM President Jonathan Bernstein offered his advice to Arby’s:

    Explain preventive actions: Arby’s needs to explain, in detail, what it’s doing to make sure nothing like this happens again, says Jonathan Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management.

    Incidents like this undermine customer’s faith in an organization, which in turn keeps them doing business with you. The only way to get it back (and thus, the dollars you’re missing out on) is for Arby’s to explain exactly how it is going to make sure that each and every one of us doesn’t end up being given the finger.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]