This is the second part of a Small Business Monday post about Cracker Barrel’s viral story about firing an elderly vet for giving a homeless man a muffin.
My main point in the previous post was that all of the optics around the firing were bad, and Cracker Barrel’s attempt to pretend their social media accounts weren’t being inundated with angry comments was a really, really bad idea. (Sir, there are hundreds of people with pitchforks and torches outside. Eh, just ignore them, I’m sure they’ll go away.) I’m aware that it was one manager at one store, of which there are an enormous number. However, because Cracker Barrel corporate hasn’t gotten involved, it looks like they tacitly agree with the firing. This is not good.
The fact is that consumers are mad about what happened, and even though it was an isolated incident, it doesn’t matter to diners who will no longer shop and eat at Cracker Barrel. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating; your sense of justification and righteousness will not replace cash.
What the company should have done is to apologize, given the man his job back and made a major donation to a homeless shelter or cause that feeds the homeless. If there was still pushback about the manager that did the firing, they could have required them to donate a few hours of time at a local shelter. Would that placate everyone? No, but it would take the pressure off and get them out of the news.
Whatever size your business is, small, medium or corporate fat cat, you need to understand that everything your employees do can reflect on you and your bottom line. Fair is irrelevant, and while you probably can’t get every single employee to toe the line, management needs to understand how their actions can impact you in a society that is so Internet based.