Bloody Bandage Tests Pizza Hut's Response

In a classic case of apparent lack of company response, a customer went public with a distasteful story about Pizza Hut. The Wieczerza family ordered a pie from a NJ Pizza Hut and got a mouthful of bandage and gauze with droplets of blood. According to Mr. Wieczerza, after several attempts to have the company pay for a blood test, he decided to go public. Although the local store manager was apologetic, the couple said they tried to contact Pizza Hut's corporate offices more than 20 times and received no response.  The company did, however, reply to a News 10 request with this generic statement:

"The safety of our customers is our top priority. We take these matters very seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation of the alleged incident. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our valued customer."

One of customer's frustrations is the company's response that the dough from the customer's pizza didn't match a dough that Pizza Hut uses. As the customer said, "We didn't show anybody from Pizza Hut the pizza or the bandage and they basically called us liars. . . .I finally said enough is enough."

Discussion Starters:

  • How do you assess Pizza Hut's response to the situation? What might be a more appropriate response?
  • How can Pizza Hut best balance an apology with accepting blame? What if the story is a hoax?

Assignment Ideas:

  • Write an apology letter to the Wieczerzas about the situation. 
  • Write a public statement from Pizza Hut's spokesperson about the incident.