Businesses Can Learn from Kitchen Nightmares PR Debacle, Advises

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According to, the very public meltdown of Amy’s Baking Company has broad implications for business owners everywhere.

According to, the concept of online reputation management was illustrated in vivid detail on a recent, much talked-about episode of the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. The episode gained overnight notoriety for being the first instance in which celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay threw his hands up and declared himself unable to help the struggling restaurateurs under his care—in this case, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona. The couple’s on-screen meltdown was preceded by vocal accusations of cyberbullying, and followed by an epic social media catastrophe—both of which are rife with implications for business owners., which has previously addressed the Amy’s Baking Company meltdown on its blog, has now issued a statement to the press, offering takeaway lessons for business owners. “This entire episode is a demonstration of how not to respond to online attacks,” remarks Michael Zammuto, the president of “The ways in which these restaurant owners handled their overnight infamy ultimately made their online reputation management woes a thousand times worse.”

With that said, Zammuto also notes that the Kitchen Nightmares episode draws much-needed attention to the very real problem of cyberbullying, especially as it affects business owners. Amy and Samy Bouzaglo contacted Ramsay, soliciting his help, because they felt their business was being maligned by online agitators, specifically on the popular online review site “Putting aside any questions about the legitimacy of these online reviews, there really is a sense in which sites like Yelp are less about reviews and more about revenge,” Zammuto says. “A patron may be having a bad day, or may get a waitress who is having a bad day, and based on one highly subjective experience that patron will flame a company on Yelp, all but ruining its online reputation. Sometimes a Yelp reviewer may have perfectly valid complaints, but in other cases, it’s just bullying. If nothing else, Amy’s Baking Company highlights this timely issue.”

Indeed, while the Kitchen Nightmares episode ultimately caught Amy and Samy engaging in some dubious practices—including the confiscation of their waitresses’ tip money—Zammuto says that not all negative online reviews have any basis in fact. “Business owners can learn from this that a nasty Yelp review can come at any time and for any reason,” he explains. “It can even be planted by a rival company, a disgruntled employee, or a patron who simply refuses to be reasonable.”

More pointedly, though, Zammuto says the Amy’s Baking Company debacle shows business owners how not to address their nasty online reviews. After the episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired, the Amy’s Baking Company Facebook page launched into a frenzy, with many posts too profanity-laden to repeat. Among other things, the Facebook page said, “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE… YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD.” The husband and wife team have since claimed that the page was hacked.

“Whether the page was hacked or this was a very real response, it reveals an absolutely terrible understanding of how to respond to negative feedback,” Zammuto says. “ advises business owners that their response to a negative review is just as important as the review itself—and calling your reviewers stupid, picking fights with them, and totally flying off the handle are all great ways to make your online reputation management woes far direr.”

Business owners should always compose themselves before responding to negative reviews, never lashing out in anger or in haste. According to Zammuto, though, the best response is sometimes no response at all. “In this case, the company just drew far more attention to its string of bad reviews, which is the last thing a business owner needs,” Zammuto says. “Responding to constructive criticism is one thing, but trying to confront a cyberbully head-on is just a recipe for disaster.” regularly offers reputation management tips and review response strategies at its company blog.


Launched in 2009 by a team of direct response marketing pioneers, has come to be celebrated as the foremost company of its kind, even selected by TopSEOs as the #1 online reputation management company in the world. Peerless in the online reputation management field, Reputation Changer combines a marketing-oriented approach with proprietary technologies and best-in-class SEO methodologies.’s client base encompasses Fortune 500 brands, major international businesses, small business start-ups, politicians, celebrities, private citizens, and more.

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Michael Zammuto
Reputation Changer, Inc.
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