In Crisis Management, Public Relations, Reputation

iStock_000034819294SmallUPDATE: June 24, 2014 – It turns out that a grandmother’s claim that a KFC employee asked her disfigured grandchild  to leave was a hoax.  But the company is standing by their offer to help they family.  The company will still contribute $30,000 to help pay medical bills to repair the damage from a vicious dog attack.  Very classy, KFC.  Here’s their statement:  “Like the rest of America, the KFC family has been moved by the story of Victoria’s injuries and recovery. After the alleged incident was reported to us, two investigations took place, including one by an independent investigator. Neither revealed any evidence that the incident occurred and we consider the investigation closed. We are honoring our commitment to make a $30,000 donation to assist with Victoria’s medical bills. We hope everyone keeps Victoria in their thoughts and prayers. She will certainly be in ours.”   Good for you, KFC.  You stayed above the fray and focused on what’s important – helping an injured child.

Here’s our original post from June 20:

KFC Did the Right Thing.

That’s something this vegetarian never thought she’d be saying.  But in a noteworthy reaction to a horrifying act of cruelty by one of their workers, they have stepped up to take responsibility and offer some comfort.

Here’s the story: On June 16, a Jackson, Mississippi KFC worker asked Kelly Mullins and her granddaughter, Victoria Wilcher to leave because the child’s disfigured face was scaring the customers.  The three-year old was attacked by pit bulls in April causing extensive facial injuries.

The child’s family fought back, posting on their Facebook page, Victoria’s Victories, about the incident and showing a picture of the girl with the post “Does this face look scary to you?”   Reactions on Facebook were fast and furious.  But KFC stepped up, first posting an apology the next morning, requesting details and then doing something to help the family.

“As soon as we were notified of this report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC,” Rick Maynard, the company’s senior manager of public relations wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them. The company is making a $30,000 donation to assist with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria.”

World-wide franchise organizations hire millions of people, doing their best to train them in all aspects of business.  That can, and does, make them responsible for what an army of workers do when they face the public.  All the training in the world can’t teach compassion, but when a company takes responsibility and does its best to attempt to make amends, they deserve a nod of the head for doing the right thing.

KFC did the right thing.


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