27Jul

Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai, a popular local doughnut shop in Portland, Oregon found itself in a bit of a PR crisis this week – all because its recent job posting seems to discourage vegans from applying for an open position.

Image by: Oregonlive.com

Image by: Oregonlive.com

The passage that stirred waves of criticism on social media reads:

“No non-medical, non-religious dietary restrictions that would stop you from tasting, accurately representing our food and maintaining quality control to maintain the highest standards of food safety and excellence. We serve products with meat (including bacon) nuts, dairy and our doughnuts contain wheat gluten.”

Soon after the announcement was posted on the company’s Facebook page, people began accusing Pip’s of discrimination against vegans:

“I support many non-vegan establishments but not ones who refuse to hire people based on an ethical choice they have made,” one person wrote.

Despite being bombarded with negative comments, Pip’s Doughnuts owner Nate Snell continues to stand by his job posting, saying:

“I want people who are passionate about what they sell. If you can’t eat it, how can you be passionate about it?”

This latest story serves as a good example of the common predicament for both professional communicators and business owners. Even though Pip’s Doughnuts seems to be making a reasonable argument, it can’t help but alienate a portion of its customers. Navigating various cultural, social and political sensitivities of your audience is a key aspect of staying crisis-free in today’s business environment.

However, it is what a company does in response to a PR crisis that often determines the way it is perceived by the public.

And in this case, the local doughnut shop seems to realize that its customers will be much more willing to forgive the controversial job ad than a bad-tasting donut.

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