Online Petitions Ask Applebee's To Rehire Waitress Chelsea Welch

Applebees boycott on Facebook

It was just a scribble on an Applebee's receipt, but it's spiraled into a public relations catastrophe via Facebook, with outraged comments and online petitions directed against the restaurant chain. Last week, Applebee's waitress Chelsea Welch took a photo of a receipt on which a diner had scratched out the automatic 18 percent gratuity (added to tables of eight or more) and wrote in its place: "I Give God 10 percent Why Do You Get 18." Welch uploaded the image to the online forum Reddit, where it swiftly went viral, and St. Louis pastor Alois Bell was ultimately outed as the diner.

The pastor called up the Applebee's and demanded that everyone involved -- from servers to managers -- be fired. The casual dining chain didn't go that far, but it did fire the snap-happy waitress -- awaking a mob on the Internet, seeking justice.

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There are multiple online petitions demanding that Applebee's restore Welch's job. The Facebook page "HIRE BACK Chelsea" has almost 14,000 "likes" so far, and accuses the pastor of being both cheap and vengeful. Welch allegedly earned $3.50 an hour, and less than $9 an hour with tips. Other Facebook pages are calling for a boycott of Applebee's.

Another Reddit user posted a link to Applebee's Facebook page, where the chain had itself posted a customer's receipt, with that person's name visible, seemingly undermining its argument that Welch violated policy in putting part of Bell's receipt online.

In response, Applebee's made a brief statement on its Facebook page, saying "We value our Guests' trust above all else." It garnered over 20,000 comments, and straying from social media norms, Applebee's responded to the thread -- in the middle of the night -- with a much lengthier statement explaining the chain of events.

It also spelled out the restaurant's social media policy, which requires employees to seek "permission before writing about or displaying internal APPLEBEE'S happenings that might be considered to be a breach of privacy and confidentiality." This statement received over 13,500 comments, with many of the users suggesting that the chain should fire its PR team.

According to the blog of journalist R.L. Stollar, Applebee's deleted the receipt that it had posted on its own Facebook as soon as the controversy whipped to a frenzy.


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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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rihorn9

Being a man of "God", this I can assure all of you of- He is NOT a man of GOD! He has little to no respect for the common people and He is the one THAT should BE FIRED! God WILL get this pastor for THAT poor move! Whether he is a man of God or not, he is still a poor excuse of a MAN!

March 29 2013 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
talor

Being a pastor, he should already know how to treat people. The Applebee's Server did not deserve to lose their job over posting the receipt online. It's only because the pastor was outed that he was vindictive enough to demand the server lose their job. What would he do if instead to giving to the offering when it's passed around if everyone just put a nasty little note in it...wonder if he would lose his job.

March 29 2013 at 6:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hlong10

18% is too high with the price of the meals on the rise

March 29 2013 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
georgerbtson

I had a horrific experience at sourapplebumblingbee several years ago just off Metcalf near collage blvd. The rude waiter added a tip in addition to the one I normally give, not only that he sat in front of me and glared at me with a scowl while I ate. I have never gone to THAT DUMP again. However, although I do not intend to visit that place I have been to others. The rotten louse that fire the woman who posted the religiously bigoted ticket online, should be fires and labeled ineligible for rehire. He is not only a jerk but is a MORON also.

March 28 2013 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

Never did care much for Appleby's but this clinched it.......... will never go there.

March 28 2013 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bk6889

Well my hubby willnot go there again because of that so we don't go anymore. It was pretty bad what they did to her. Actually it stunk!

March 28 2013 at 4:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
CAMERON

Getting a TIP is based on service. Great service. Good. Tip. Lousy service. Low tip no matter what.

March 28 2013 at 2:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dailydsires

I don't understand why a tip increases from 15% to 18% or 20% because of the smount of people sitting at the same table. Serving one person or 8 people is the same amount of work. I can however relate to the thought the higher the bill the more likely the tip would be less than 15%. But I still don't understand why the tip should increase over 15%

March 28 2013 at 1:38 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dailydsires's comment
vfwscjudge

Well, no it's not the same amount of work no matter how many people are there. Large tables of people are LOTS more work, sometimes with multiple checks, and many times just hanging around because there are a large group of them. You really can't figure out how it's more work to run food and drinks for 20 people than for 2? Really?

Many, MANY restaurants automatically add gratuities for tables of more than 6 or 8, and most times it seems to be 18% that's added. If you have never seen that, you should get out more.

March 28 2013 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Morgan

Wow. You obviously have never waited tables before. When you've got a table of 20 people, plus several more tables on top of that, you run yourself complete ragged trying to attend to everyone's needs to the best of your ability. You don't see how needy everyone is, how demanding, or even how rude they can be.

Maybe you should go wait tables for a while just to see what it's like and then tell us that there's no difference. It's hard work. You obviously need to learn to appreciate your servers more.

June 19 2013 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jgesselberty

The pastor needs to hear a message from God. "You're fired."
As for tips, my wife and I start at 20% and work up or down from there.

March 28 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Dan

8 people had no business being in a restaurant spending $34.93. LOOK at the menu, entrees are 8-$15.00, the special is 2 entrees for $20.00.
Go to a coffee house, McDonalds, BK, Waffle House.

February 12 2013 at 12:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan's comment
vfwscjudge

What do you want to bet it was 4 separate checks!?

March 28 2013 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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