There's an art in managing a company's public relations to maintain and safeguard a brand image. Now, thanks to Benihana's Kuwait branch's GM there's also an art in creating a PR crisis:
Step 1: Target an opinion leader with more than 2,000 twitter followers, who likes to voice his thoughts online on his popular blog. (there's a reason why marketeers seek opinion leaders and trend setters!) Case in point: @mark248am and http://www.248am.com
Step 2: Respond to a negative review with a negative comment, displaying an even worse brand image than the one already showcased in the review; and consequently proving the reviewer right!
Step 3: Add some spice to the story by magnifying the consequences; case in point: file a lawsuit!
Step 4: Insult an entire people by adding a stupid comment; case in point: "ARE YOU LEBANESE?'
Step 5: Sit back and watch the online Lebanese community fire back with negative publicity.
Now I have 2 conclusions in mind, either:
Hypothesis 1: the GM is smart and was aware of what he was doing, in which case, he is gaining from the negative publicity by creating awareness for his newly opened Benihana branch in Kuwait. In which case he should be paying Mark instead of suing him.
Hypothesis 2: the GM did not realise that he could have simply invited his reviewer and offered him a free treat like our awesome restaurants here in Lebanon tend to do.
(I was at Shtrumpf's Dbayeh branch the other day- I got a completely free lunch for simply not enjoying the food - and we are talking appetizer + drinks+ meal for three people - and if you think this bad experience will stop me from coming back - well think again!! Amazing customer service gets talked about, creates an amazing brand image and a customer for life.)