Today's going to be a long day for the public relations team for the Golden Corral restaurant chain. Thanks to some front page prominence on Monday morning's reddit news cycle, the company is going to have to deal with some pretty disgusting sanitation issues depicted in a few YouTube videos and a series of images posted to the site.
Posted within a few hours of each other, both a set of images depicting the dishwashing stations at a Golden Corral and a YouTube video showing some unsanitary food practices shot the the top of the front page.
The images, posted with the title "Just an average day for a Golden Corral Employee, best working conditions ever," show a kitchen in disarray - with trash and dishes stacked up everywhere.
"This is how the Golden Corral I worked at was every single day. I feel like more people should see these pics," says one commenter.
"I used to work at a Golden Corral in Kentucky and I can confirm this. Ours never got quite that bad but it was still pretty nasty," says another.
Alone, these pictures might have been overlooked. But when combined with these videos that just emerged - well, it's looking like an all-you-can-eat PR nightmare for Golden Corral. There's even a new subreddit for tracking all the Golden Corral drama. Yes, r/goldencorral now exists.
YouTube users Ben Jammin actually uploaded these videos earlier this month, but they just found their way to reddit late Sunday night.
"Apparently, what my company likes to do to get ready for inspections, is put their food by the dumpsters," says the Golden Corral employee in the video.
"I'm an employee here, I've been working here for a long time - and I don't feel that this is right."
In a followup video, our little Edward Snowden of Golden Corral laments what is happening, expressing concern over the future of his job:
According to the YouTube uploader, the employee in the video made repeated attempts to turn in statements to management.
"It's been over a week now since this has been brought to corporate attention, I contacted the volusia county health dept.....they dont handle it....they gave me a number and a persons name.....said to ask for them in person......the operator didnt know who i was talkin about and didnt seem to care," they say.
Golden Corral has yet to respond to any of this on their social media accounts or on their corporate page. But it'll only be a matter of time, as these images and videos are still holding sway over reddit and are beginning to spread around to other corners of the web.
If they take their cues from other restaurants that have been "exposed" for unsanitary practices by internet investigators or poor social media decisions (think Taco Bell, KFC, Burger King), Golden Corral will probably just fire whoever was involved and issue a public apology. We'll have to wait and see how this one turns out.
UPDATE 1: Golden Corral is beginning to respond on YouTube in the comments section of the above videos:
"None of these items were served to a single customer. All food items were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management.
1. Brandon Huber, the employee who made this video, participated in the disposal of the food.
2. The following day, the father of the employee, posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted.
3. The manager involved in the improper storage was terminated for failing to follow approved food handling procedures"
UPDATE 2: They're also posting comments to Facebook and Twitter now:
FYI, the manager involved in the improper storage of food was terminated for failing to follow approved food handling procedures.
— Golden Corral (@goldencorral) July 8, 2013