Texas Roadhouse rage: As chains race to douse social media wildfire, chain fires waitress for ‘kill Mexicans’ Tweet

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 12:02 p.m.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE fired a waitress in Greeley, Colo., this week after she tweeted a threat to kill Mexicans, in a flash of roadhouse rage because a customer didn’t tip her. Texas Roadhouse spokesman Travis Doster told ABC 7 News: “Our managing partner was actually mowing his lawn when he was alerted. He immediately rushed to the restaurant, met with the employee who posted this disgusting Tweet, and she was terminated.”

Former waitress Megan Olson, who goes by the name Megatron on Twitter, wrote: “If we had a real life purge I would kill as many Mexicans as I could in one night. #learnhowtotipyoufuckingtwats.” ABC 7 showed an edited photo of the Tweet; photo, top.

Olson later apologized on Facebook: “I wrote hurtful, inconsiderate, insensitive and careless words and I understand the amount of people I have offended by that. There are no excuses for what I have done. . . . I want you all to know that I do not actually feel this way.” Her Twitter account is now password-protected. (ABC 7 News)

A Facebook user reported Olson’s Tweet on the Louisville-based restaurant chain’s Facebook page Thursday, and the company responded immediately, illustrating once more how quickly companies try to extinguish bad news before it goes viral on social media.

The Texas Roadhouse case was the fourth time in less than a month where Louisville fast-food chains were attacked for employees’ discriminatory behavior. There was last Saturday’s much-discussed Taco Bell employee in Phenix City, Ala., who refused to serve two uniformed sheriff’s deputies (story, below), and two Papa John’s restaurants where employees used racial slurs on order slips, in Denver last week, and in Louisville at the end of June.

Meachem and Moore
Meachem and Moore

TACO BELL: In Alabama, dozens of residents gathered at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Thursday night to show support for the agency and two deputies who were denied service last Saturday at a Taco Bell in Phenix City. Another customer had objected to eating alongside the uniformed officers, Michael Meachem and Terrance Moore. Taco Bell fired the cashier and apologized to the officers after the incident gained widespread publicity on social media. “With the way society is today,” said Moore, “everybody is living their life via social media and you see a lot of people who feel negative toward cops, so it’s real good to see the community cares about us.” (WRBL)

Meanwhile, Taco Bell  and Qdoba failed to capitalize on Chipotle’s E.coli-related woes, according to the most recent quarterly results, which showed Chipotle’s sales fell another 24%. Taco Bell’s same-store sales fell 1% during the same quarter, and Qdoba says promos specifically created to attract Chipotle’s customers ended up hurting margins. (Grub Street)

AMAZON is experimenting with a new environmentally-friendly packaging system in Europe called Box on Demand, using boxes that more closely match the dimensions of the item being shipped, reducing paper waste from too-big boxes for too-small items. The retailer’s current technology, CubiScan, is supposed to weigh and scan products before selecting one of 17 package types, but has proved to be far from foolproof. (Daily Mail) Amazon has planned a not-so-secret midnight delivery event for July 31, but it’s not saying what product is so important to get such special delivery status. (Slash Gear)

Bezos and Buffett
Bezos and Buffett.

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos briefly became the world’s third-richest person yesterday, surpassing billionaire industrialist investor Warren Buffett for the first time. By noon, Bezos’ net worth reached $65 billion, which put him $300 million ahead of Buffett. But when markets closed, his net worth slipped to $64.6 billion, returning the upper hand to Buffett by $400 million. Nos. 1 and 2 remained the same: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, $78 billion; and Spanish clothing retailer Zara founder Amancio Ortega, $73.1 billion. (Time)

Seelbach Hotel streetside
The 321-room hotel is at Fourth Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

In other news, owners of the storied Seelbach Hotel have put the 111-year-old property on the sale block for an undisclosed sum, according to Business First. Thayer Lodging Group of Annapolis, Md., disclosed the plan in a cryptically written e-mail to the business weekly. “The hotel is for sale as our ownership entity is nearing the end of investment life,” CEO Bruce Wiles said. “We would otherwise be quite happy continuing to own the hotel.”

Wiles was apparently referring to the the Seelbach’s convoluted ownership history. Thayer owned it through Interstate Hotel & Resorts, a company Thayer sold to private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. in May. It’s unclear whether Thayer is selling the Seelbach on behalf of Kohlberg, or whether the hotel wasn’t included in the original IHR sale to Kohlberg.

IHR’s portfolio comprises 430 hotels, resorts and conference centers with more than 75,000 rooms located throughout the U.S. and around the globe.

Great GatsbyThe Seelbach, made famous in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bavarian-born immigrant brothers Louis and Otto Seelbach opened it in 1905 as Louisville’s answer to the old-world grandeur of European hotels in Vienna and Paris.

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