A customer’s video clip of a chef at a Motherwell restaurant wiping down the walls of an open kitchen with a mop went viral, with thousands of social media condemning the restaurant.
But now a response from Cook & Indi’s World Buffet’s co-founder Cook Gill defending the restaurant chain’s health and hygiene practices has also gone viral, attracting more than 28,000 views in its first 24 hours and has now been seen around 40,000 times.
Mr Gill said: “I received a link posted by a young woman for a bit of fun. In this video clip I saw one of my chefs wiping down the walls in an open kitchen with a mop. There is nothing wrong with this, as the mops are colour-coded for separate uses, but just seeing him perform this task looked extremely unhygienic and the clip went viral, leading to some people to express their horror.
“My initial reaction was one of anger. I was very upset because the clip only told part of a true story. It did not allow us to explain what the chef was doing or why he was doing it. The clip had a devastating impact on our business and could have resulted in the shut down of a perfectly good business with the loss of many jobs.
“In one respect it turned out to be a good thing because, after the initial shock, we got together all our chefs and managers, and revisited our cleaning procedures. We brought in the Environmental Health Department, who gave us excellent support, and we now aim to relaunch all our restaurants by inviting our customers to an open day where they will be given full access to back-of-house operations to see all our health and safety procedures for themselves.
“We were able to use the feedback from customers to improve our standards, but that is not always possible for all businesses; some never recover from a negative social media post or comment. Feedback, when constructive, is always welcome, as it helps us to improve on our already high standards, but malicious posts can be devastating.
“The damage done by that clip has directly affected our sales figures, which took a real tumble and we are now fighting to get our customers back to show them the high standards to which we operate.
“I would urge customers posting clips and comments on social media platforms to sit back and consider the outcome of their actions before posting.
“For restaurateurs all over the country, who work so hard to make a living, often having put their houses on the line as a guarantee for bank loans, a negative video clip could end up with them losing their family home as well as their business.
“I would ask customers to co-operate with restaurants and help them improve standards by giving them constructive feedback and urge them to please refrain from bringing their complaint into the public domain unless the restaurant refuses to acknowledge it.
“On behalf of Cook & Indi’s World Buffet team, we deeply apologise for any misunderstanding.”
The original video clip has been taken down and Cook Gill’s video response can be viewed at www.facebook.com/cookandindisworldbuffet/videos/271657840139320.