Paula Deen Forgot to Tell Her Employees She's Closing the Restaurant

Chef and restaurant owner Paula Deen is in the news again. Last June, she made headlines for racist comments. She apologized but lost her TV and endorsement deals and never fully recovered her reputation.

Now, she and her brother decided to close Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, the restaurant where the controversy started. They announced the decision on Facebook but failed to tell their employees, who showed up for work only to collect their severance pay.

Paula Deen FB post

As predicted, opponents and allies were active on the company's Facebook page, which has since been taken down.

Paula Deen FB post 2

Meanwhile, Deen has been "business-as-usual" on her Twitter feed:

Paula Deen twitter

Discussion Starters:

  • In my Corporate Communication course, we talk about the best order for notifying internal and external audiences of a change. Identify all of the audiences that should have been notified and the ideal sequencing of messages.
  • What could be the owners' rationale for not telling employees before announcing the decision on Facebook? The Associated Press called the move "abrupt." Does that justify how this was communicated?
  • Paula Deen seems to be silent during the latest controversy. Is that the best approach? If so, why? If not, what should she do or say?