Chef and Host, Food Network
Generally, I believe in dealing with the media. Especially in this day and age when everyone is potentially a publisher on the Internet.
But there are exceptions, especially those times when you don’t need to respond since you’ll just be diving on your sword.
Case in point: Guy Fieri, star chef and show host on the Food Network opened his latest restaurant, this one at the densely populated intersections of New York’s Times Square, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar.
Guy and his eatery were prosaically crucified by a New York Times food critic. The evaluation was scathing.
Of course, Guy being Guy, this got a lot of attention. But, again, Guy being Guy, he felt he had to respond. So he accepted an invitation from NBC, and added life and coverage to the negative publicity.
Making things worse, Guy took a red eye flight from the west coast to appear on The Today Show. Perhaps sleep-deprived, showing no evidence of well thought out message points, he should’ve stayed home. So, his response was defensive, weak, poorly thought out, making both him and his restaurant look worse.
A sampling of Guy’s defensive response to the critic:
“I just thought it was ridiculous.”
“It really seemed like there was another agenda.”
“The tone, the sarcasm, the questions style…I think what we all know what’s going on here. He came in with a different agenda; came into a restaurant four times that’s been open two months. That’s tough times.”
“Do we do it perfect? No. Are we striving to do it perfect? Yes.”
When told based on this and other reviews, his new place “is not necessarily knocking socks off.” Fieri’s responded: “At this point in time, not really expecting to…I think those (reviews) will change. It’s two months now, let’s see where we are in six months.”
Really, we should expect a restaurant to be sub par when it first opens? Especially with all the competition around, and in Times Square yet?
Fieri had a choice to turn down the invitation from NBC. And he should’ve. Yes, many people had either seen or heard about the stinging Times article. But, the betting here is even more had not. And how many thousands visit Times Square who have no idea about the review, but do recognize Guy Fieri’s name, and would choose to eat there based on that fact alone?
Guy, this time, you added too much flame and overcooked something better left on the back burner!