Social media furor sees Goubuli end collaboration with Beijing restaurant
Goubuli, the iconic Tianjin-based Chinese bun maker, terminated its collaboration with its franchised restaurant in Wangfujing, one of Beijing’s most popular shopping streets, on Tuesday after a video complaining about the establishment’s subpar products and services went viral on Chinese social media.
A food video blogger who goes by the name “Gu Yue” posted a video on his Sino Weibo micro blog on Sept 8 that was titled “visiting the worst-rated restaurant”. It complained in detail about bad service and overpriced food at the restaurant, and quickly went viral on the micro-blogging platform.
Goubuli is a famous brand dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
On Thursday, the restaurant issued a statement denying the allegations and criticized the blogger and other accounts that reposted the video for tarnishing the brand’s reputation. The restaurant said it had reported the incident to the police and demanded a public apology from the creators of the video.
The statement sparked public debate on the relationship between customers and established brands, prompting Tianjin Goubuli Group Corp to issue a statement on Tuesday apologizing for the incident and criticizing the Beijing restaurant for taking matters into its own hands.
It said the restaurant had not consulted the parent company before issuing its statement, which included demands that did not represent the company or its values.
“The restaurant has seriously violated Goubuli Group Corp’s brand management regulations and various franchising agreements,” it said. “It has also seriously tarnished the reputation of the company and has created an extremely negative social impact.”
As a result, it said, it had terminated its franchising collaboration on Tuesday.
Goubuli Group Corp said the incident had exposed issues in its management, and promised to learn from the criticisms and improve customer service.