[Update] How Morton’s Steakhouse Won Over Social Media After Cancer Patient Controversy

morton's cancer

Popular chain Morton’s Steakhouse found itself on the losing side of the power of social reviewing this week, when a situation at their Nashville branch was described in a Yelp review that later went viral and caused big headaches for the chain.

Social News Daily covered the initial Morton’s Steakhouse social media firestorm, which looked like a tough one to correct — in addition to the alleged poor treatment of a cancer patient suffering from increased sensitivity to cold environments, a manager allegedly said the man would require a doctor’s note to wear a wool beanie and police were allegedly called.

From a purely social media perspective, the fact that Morton’s handled it so well should be commended. What the chain didn’t do is almost as important as what they did do to correct the problem and win back public approval after a single manager allegedly misbehaved.

For instance, Morton’s Steakhouse didn’t deny the incident. It can be tempting for companies to counter a customer’s narrative with their own, but the restaurant chain fully owned up to the situation:


There’s more! Not only did Morton’s take responsibility for the horrible way the guest and party were treated, they didn’t distance themselves from the situation. Their mea culpa repeatedly said “we,” “our,” and “us,” which goes a long way in showing customers that they own the mistake. *Approving nod.*

And this part is key … with a tone of genuine remorse, the Facebook page post explains that the famous chain didn’t handle it locally, didn’t try to throw some comps at the situation, and really made it right the first try — by connecting top executives with the customer:


Finally, as you can see above, the steakhouse went above and beyond in apologizing. A $2,000 donation to charity is more than they had to do to fix it, and they really communicated their regret that the guest had been treated so poorly.

As for the guest? He was pleased with the resolution, and posted to his personal Facebook page:

“I just had a 30 minute conversation with Morton’s COO Tim Whitlock. He and I talked about Friday night, and the unfortunate events. He was very apologetic and we had a good discussion. End result, Morton’s will make a donation in the amount of our check to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Apology accepted time too be on. I have more important things to fight than Morton’s. Thanks to all of you for your words of support and angst over the situation. It’s about empathy and how people are treated regardless of the situation. Again thanks for the support.”

While Morton’s Steakhouse has a bit more dough than many smaller businesses, the lessons learned here can be applied to many social media blowups of smaller scale. Sure, Jeff Bezos can’t get on the horn every time an Amazon package is lost, and not every customer posting to Facebook was satisfied — but many customers are left with the impression that the chain really cares about the customer experience.

Do you think Morton’s Steakhouse responded well to the cancer patient’s issue?



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