Golden Corral Faces PR Crisis Courtesy of Reddit

Jul 12, 2013

Mondays are tough on everyone. The weekend has quickly come to an end and it’s back to reality. But this past Monday was particular rough for Golden Corral as a video surfaced depicting unsanitary food handling.


Brandon Huber, an employee at the Port Orange, Florida location, took the cell phone footage of meat trays left uncovered by the dumpster. The restaurant chain, which offers a buffet, carving station and bakery, woke up to a massive PR headache after the 2 minute clip went viral on Reddit, garnering 2,770 comments and nearly 3.3 million views so far on YouTube.

A Reddit user by the name of GCWhistleblower (profile has since been deleted) also posted a series of images from another location showing an overflowed kitchen of dirty dishes and open food containers thrown near garbage bins. The four pictures were joined by a caption: “Just an average day for a Golden Corral waitress. Great working conditions.”

The Port Orange location’s owner, Eric Holm, was inevitably terminated following the barrage of complaints Golden Corral received through social media. Holm released a statement on the company’s blog essentially blaming the associate manager for improperly storing food and getting caught doing so during an unannounced inspection. He makes sure to state that the food shown in the video was quickly disposed of and never served to customers.

All in all, the public relations team over at corporate has an even bigger mess to clean up. Social media just reversed the millions of dollars they spent on advertising. So what happens next?

The normal trajectory following a scandal, corporate or celebrity, is to put your best face forward. Right the wrongs and move forward with an aggressive strategy to reestablish your reputation and change the tarnished perception.

No doubt that in a few days, the media hype will die down. However, when you see an ad on TV or drive past a Golden Corral, your mind will replay to the images it’s been scarred with over and over again.

How do you think Golden Corral should handle this PR crisis? Weigh in below.

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