Friday, June 24, 2011

Old Country Buffet on Facebook

Old Country Buffet has a "fan" page on Facebook. This should not be a surprise as all of the buffet chains have Facebook pages and many independent buffets have Facebook pages. What is interesting about the Old Country Buffet page are the comments that get posted by those who are fans and those who are not such good fans.

This is the only Facebook "fan" page that I have come across with a stipulation posted on one of the page's called "House Rules". Here is what it says: (the bold text is right from there)


Welcome to the Old Country Buffet® Fan Page. We love connecting with our guests through Facebook and encourage you to post comments, photos, videos, and links here. However, we review all comments, and when necessary, remove anything that we find inappropriate or offensive.
In other words, play nice!

All users must comply with Facebook's Terms of Use. Additionally, users may not post, and Buffets, Inc. may remove, any comments or materials that:

  • Defame, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights of others.
  • Publish, post, distribute or disseminate any defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, misleading or unlawful material or information.
  • Upload or attach files that contain software or other material protected by intellectual property laws (or by rights of privacy of publicity), unless the user owns or controls the rights thereto or has received all necessary consents.
  • Upload or attach files that contain viruses, corrupted files, or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of another's computer.
  • Delete any author attributions, legal notices or proprietary marks or symbols.
  • Falsify the origin or source of software or other material.

Finally, comments posted to this Page by users do not represent the opinions of, and do not constitute representations by, Buffets, Inc., or any of its parent companies or subsidiaries, or any of their respective directors, officers, employees, or agents."

Why would a "fan" page need such rules? Because the people who "fan" this page are the people who seem to love to hate Old Country Buffet - and they make that known every chance that they get. There are constant comments about how bad OCB is. There are a few who counter this with "I love OCB" but those are in the minority. And if OCB really is moderating the comments, given what appears on the site, I can only imagine what the ones that they take off say. Are the comments justified? Sometimes, yes, they are but many are not - at least they seem to have been left with no reason other than to be vindictive.

There is an old joke - Two old women are talking about a restaurant and one says to the other, "The food was terrible at that restaurant - the food was absolutely disgusting." And the friend answers, "Yes, that's right - and such small portions!" This is the way many of the comments go on the Old Country Buffet Facebook page. You will get a comment such as - "The food is terrible at your buffet - And how come you are not giving any free coupons this week?"

The pursuit of coupons on the OCB Facebook page is constant. People continually ask for coupons for buy one get one meals or dollars off a meal. On a not so regular basis, OCB does have coupons on their Facebook page for their fans to print out. These are in addition to those that they email to those on their email list. Some of the ones on Facebook are better than the offers that are emailed such as the buy one get one coupons. But people do not seem to understand that coupons are a marketing strategy to bring in customers when there would normally be slower business. There were no coupons given for Mother's Day and people on this Facebook page were outraged! Mother's Day is a day that restaurants generally have good business and there is no need to do anything special to bring in business - certainly not issue a coupon. But the never ending pursuit for coupons goes on. Hey, I like coupons too - and I print them out whenever they are offered - but I understand why they would not be giving it all away every day.

These are probably the most negative fans that I have seen on a fan page. OCB will answer some of the complaints - generally by saying that the person should report the problem to them on the comment form on their regular website. Sometimes - when there is a detailed complaint - naming the restaurant location, the date, and exactly what happened and was wrong - they still give that same stock answer to use the form, when they should be acknowledging that they have the details and will look into it. Even if there is a service running this page for OCB, they still could report the details to those who can do "something". (An aside - the comment form on their website is pretty much useless - they will take your complaint and forward it to the manager of the restaurant who generally was involved in the complaint to start with - and it then goes nowhere. This from experience.)

Well, it is an experience. Check it out - and they will have some coupons there - just be patient!

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