The story of the Lacey, WA Pizza Time franchise owner who supposedly made its employees work without heat has quickly become a case study in PR crisis management. The pizza shop owners have been vilified by hundreds of angry comments online, and threatened with boycotts and picket lines. Neither the franchisees nor the corporate office has issued a statement nor responded in any meaningful way.
The business guru bloggers of b5 Media’s Bizzia channel have been volunteering their tips and advice in comments and posts. In the BrandCurve post Pizza Time, or Hypothermia Time?, Katherine Liew discusses three options the owners can pursue to avert this crisis:
Pizza Time has a few options…
Remove the troublesome elements and try to keep it quiet. This is what the company HAS done, and many others have tried previously. However, this doesn’t work, especially today when negative word of mouth travels like wildfire.
Rebrand the company and hope that everyone forgets. Not a good way to treat your customers, and also expensive, but a rebrand with revised company policies could be something to think about in the future.
Reform the company – quickly issue an apology, compensate the employees and show that the company is actively working on solving the problem. This would be the smartest course of action for Pizza Time to take, like Nike did with their child labour scandal.
Rebrand? A name change to Stone Cold Pizza or Frost-Bites Pizza might be apropos. However, as a franchise, these owners they are contractually unable to change their name from Pizza Time. However, they could rebrand to a degree by bringing in new management, allowing Corporate to run the store for a period, sell to new owners, etc. Somehow create the perception of a new and improved Pizza Time.
[Or how about a sign: NOT Freezing our employees since 2009!]
In times of crisis like this, franchisees should be able to turn to the franchisor for help. Where is the Pizza Time franchisor? Why the silence? Hibernation?
Related Bizzia posts:
Franchise Pick: Franchisee From Hell! Awards: Luke Benjamin, Pizza Time
Franchise Pick: Can the Lacey Pizza Time be Saved from Itself? What do you Think?
BizLevity: Dirty Franchising, The Sequel, They Had The (Pizza) Time Of Their Lives
Leadership Turn: Leaders From Hell Win Award
The Seattle Traveller: Lacey Pizza Time Feels the Heat but Employees Don’t
Small Business Boomers: Boss From Hell? Or Frustrated, Cost-Conscious Employer?
BrandCurve: Pizza Time, or Hypothermia Time?
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Tags: crisis management, employee, franchise, franchise publicity, franchisee, Lacey, pizza, PIZZA TIME, sean kelly, WA