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Corner Bakery forbids photography inside their restaurants, “it’s policy”

(Social Media) Try pulling out your phone in a Corner Bakery today and you’ll get aggressive employees yelling at you to stop. Is this rule good or bad for a brand?

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Corner Bakery prohibits photography, be careful with your phone

While most companies beg their patrons to snap shots of their products, staff, or services, the restaurant chain Corner Bakery feels the opposite, in fact, their staff will yell at you from across the building, chastising you for taking any photographs.

At the Corner Bakery in Fort Worth, Texas, Benn Rosales, the CEO of The American Genius took his family for a quick breakfast and was shooting the following image when a male employee raised his voice, “you can’t take pictures in here.”

Rosales continued, as he asked the employee, “don’t you want me to tweet and share with the world my experience? Do you not want me to publicly celebrate my visit to your restaurant?”

“It’s the rules!” the employee insisted.

Rosales, along with his wife and daughter (who is recovering from surgery and using a scooter for mobility) were on their way out and chose to leave without confrontation, but the employee was still angrily yelling upon their exit.

corner bakery cafe

This policy is “operationally destructive”

“As a publisher, I can tell you that this is operationally destructive to a company’s public relations efforts,” Rosales asserted. “To allow someone to enjoy your restaurant and want to tell people about service, food quality, or ambiance of the restaurant, such a policy would make that impossible.”

This particular location is not in a boring strip mall, rather in Fort Worth’s beautiful historic district where Rosales was on vacation with his family and had just finished a meal while discussing the historical buildings in the area.

Rosales concluded, “I was preparing to share photos of a sentimental breakfast, having visited this location on every Fort Worth visit I’ve taken with my family. Just like any other picture snapping patron, my intention was simply to share a positive experience with our many followers, but an aggressive employee turned a lovely family moment into a confrontation, and converted a positive experience into a negative (and public) experience.”

Is it legal?

While businesses have the right to restrict photography on their private property, it is legal to take images of the exterior of any commercial building, and for brands that restrict photography, it is standard to have those policies clearly stated in the building, particularly before entry – for example, entering a tech company office like Google, you sign a form at the door that as a visitor, you will not take or share any photos.

The social media experts weigh in

“That’s decided anti-social,” social media expert, Fran Stephenson, Principal at Step In Communication tells us. “In this environment of ratings and reviews, the potential for a shared picture online can be a positive force for a business. I see no downside, but there are some businesses who still don’t believe in the power of a solid online presence.”

“If there is a no-pictures policy, then it should be, at a minimum, written down, and also posted. Beyond being a baseless and idiotic claim, it is self-defeating,” said Mark Story, Social Media Lead at the National Cancer Institute. “What if you tagged the Corner Bakery in a post and have hundreds or thousands of friends? What if you wrote about how great their muffins are in your popular and well publication? Instead, whomever said this to you dug their own online grave.”

Other experts had more harsh criticism, but there is a consensus against this policy – we could not find one expert that agreed with Corner Bakery’s position on the matter.

Unfortunate and misguided

At last search, there are thousands of user-generated photos online that have been taken inside of this Corner Bakery and posted online, and Rosales had seen photos on Yelp before entering, saw no notice that photography was not allowed, and opined that this policy is unfortunate and misguided.

There is no mention on the company site that photography is forbidden, and we have reached out to Corner Bakery for comment on this policy.

All images in this story were taken by Rosales and do not appear elsewhere online.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Michael Bray

    March 15, 2015 at 10:47 am

    What an unfortunate circumstance! As a real estate professional I often take clients to one of our several neighborhood locations after a day of showing houses for a fantastic cup of coffee and slice of their to-die-for crumb cake. Quite often we will take a photo to add to our tour of homes and neighborhoods. While we have not experienced the same treatment it would be highly embarrasing and I am not sure we would handle it with the same grace you showed.

    I too have reached out to their corporate offices to get a clarification of their policy. Hopefully yours was an isolated incident and not a misguided policy. Until I get a satisfactory answer, I guess I am going to miss that crumb cake!

  2. Pingback: Photography Forbidden in the Corner Bakery

  3. Maya Thomas

    March 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I can relate! This happened to me at 7 Fish restaurant in Key West. I’m a real estate broker in Key West and I love to share all of the wonderful places to eat and things to see and do on social media so that our island guests can plan a really fun vacation. I was excited for an evening out with my husband. We both work a great deal and we both volunteer every day after work for 3 hours so we can never eat out during the week. We also volunteer for 4 hours on Saturdays. We live outside of the city so dinner in the city is a rare and special occasion. 7 Fish was so rude to us it ruin our experience, our evening and our dinner. 7 Fish also yelled at me about taking a picture. It was terrible. From that point on even the food wasn’t good. My good time was squashed. It seemed like the service took for ever and the food was mediocre, at best. When you’re posting pictures and interacting with your friends and their liking your pictures it adds an element of fun. Especially for us because we have zero personal life after work and volunteer activities.

  4. Debbie Saviano

    March 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This is so timely Marti as I have had quite the opposite experience?
    I use the #CornerBakery as a Meeting place with Clients and even have #CornerMeetUps around the country when I travel.
    I too am a Fan of Social Media and so naturally, Post • Document • Tweet my Experiences.
    Each time I am in a Corner Bakery I am those who are with me are engaging on Social Media with plenty of pics flowing.
    Managers even take pictures with us.
    Corner Bakery shares my Tweets and my Pics and are highly Engaged ON LINE.
    Would be most interesting to get the “Official Reaction” from Home Office.
    Until then I will continue to “Share the Experiences”.

  5. Renae McBrian

    April 11, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I think this is a store by store policy. All of the California stores allow (and encourage) photos in our stores. It’s good for business for word, pictures, comments, reviews, etc. to be spread via social media, and we are more than happy to snap pictures of guests. The only thing we DON’T allow (at least in the Westlake Village location) is taking pictures with celebrities, as it disturbs our business in general and the celebrities as people and customers.

  6. Mike

    May 13, 2015 at 10:18 am

    So 2 months after this, Corner Bakery is having a selfie contest to take a picture of you and your salad: https://cornerbakerycafe.fbmta.com/shared/images/227/227_20150508461801.jpg

  7. Pingback: Agencies bundling professional photographers into travel packages - The American Genius

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

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You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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Reddit CEO says it’s impossible to police hate speech, and he’s 100% right

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Moderating speech online is a slippery slope, and Reddit’s CEO argues that it’s impossible. Here’s why censorship of hate speech is still so complicated.

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Reddit often gets a bad rap in the media for being a cesspool of offensive language and breeding grounds for extreme, harmful ideas. This is due in part to the company’s refusal to mediate or ban hate speech.

In fact, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman recently stated that it’s not possible for the company to moderate hate speech. Huffman noted that since hate speech can be “difficult to define,” enforcing a ban would be “a nearly impossible precedent to uphold.”

As lazy as that may sound, anyone who has operated massive online groups (as we do) knows this to be unfortunate but true.

Currently, Reddit policy prohibits “content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people […or] that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals.”

Just about anything else is fair game. Sure, subreddit forums have been shut down in the past, but typically as the result of public pressure. Back in 2015, several subreddits were removed, including ones focused on mocking overweight people, transgender folks, and people of color.

However, other equally offensive subreddits didn’t get the axe. Reddit’s logic was that the company received complaints that the now retired subreddits were harassing others on and offline. Offensive posts are permitted, actual harassment is not.

Huffman previously stated, “On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behavior from beliefs.” So posting something horribly racist won’t get flagged unless there’s evidence that users crossed the line from free speech to harassing behavior.

Drawing the line between harassment and controversial conversation is where things get tricky for moderators.

Other social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at least make an attempt, though. So what’s holding Reddit back?

Well, for one, moderating hate speech isn’t a clear cut task.

Right now, AI can’t fully take the reins because to truly put a stop to hate speech, there must be an understanding of both language and intent.

Since current AI isn’t quite there yet, Facebook currently employs actual people for the daunting task. The company mostly relies on overseas contractors, which can get pretty expensive (and can lack understanding of cultural contexts).

Users post millions of comments to Reddit per day, and paying real humans to sift through every potentially offensive or harassing post could break the bank.

Most agree that cost isn’t a relevant excuse, though, so Facebook is looking into buying and developing software specializing in natural language processing as an alternative solution. But right now, Reddit does not seem likely to follow in Facebook’s footsteps.

While Facebook sees itself as a place where users should feel safe and comfortable, Reddit’s stance is that all views are welcome, even potentially offensive and hateful ones.

This April in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) a user straight up asked if obvious racism and slurs are against Reddit’s rules.

Huffman responded in part, “the best defense against racism and other repugnant views both on Reddit and in the world, is instead of trying to control what people can and cannot say through rules, is to repudiate these views in a free conversation.”

So essentially, although racism is “not welcome,” it’s also not likely to be banned unless there is associated unacceptable behavior as well.

It’s worth noting that while Reddit as a whole does not remove most hate speech, each subreddit has its own set of rules that may dictate stricter rules. The site essentially operates as an online democracy, with each subreddit “state” afforded the autonomy to enforce differing standards.

Enforcement comes down to moderators, and although some content is clearly hateful, other posts can fall into grey area.

Researches at Berkeley partnered with the Anti-Defamation League recently partnered up to create The Online Hate Index project, an AI program that identifies hate speech. While the program was surprisingly accurate in identifying hate speech, determining intensity of statements was difficult.

Plus, many of the same words are used in hate and non-hate comments. AI and human moderators struggle with defining what crosses the line into hate speech. Not all harmful posts are immediately obvious, and when a forum receives a constant influx of submissions, the volume can be overwhelming for moderators.

While it’s still worth making any effort to foster healthy online communities, until we get a boost to AI’s language processing abilities, complete hate speech moderation may not be possible for large online groups.

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Red flags to help you spot a bad social media professional

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social Media is a growing field with everyone and their moms trying to become social media managers. Here are a few experts’ tips on seeing and avoiding the red flags of social media professionals.

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Social media professionals, listen up

If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.

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We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.

You can tell a lot from their socials

According to our experts, the first thing you should do if you’re hiring a social media professional is to check out their personal and/or professional social media pages.

Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.

“If they have no professional social presence themselves, that’s a big red flag,” says Chelle Honiker, executive director at the Texas Freelance Association. Another entrepreneur, Paul O’Brien of Media Tech Ventures, explains that “the only way to excel is to practice…. If you excel, why would you not be doing so on behalf of your personal brand?”

In other words, if someone can’t make their own social media appealing, how can they be expected to do so for a client?

Other taboos

These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”

Besides eliminating candidates with poor social media presence, several of these pros also really hated gimmicky job titles such as “guru,” “whiz,” “ninja,” “superhero,” or “magician.”

They were especially turned off by candidates who called themselves “experts” without any proof of their success.

Jeff Fryer of ARM dislikes pros who call themselves experts because, he says “The top leaders in this field will be the first to tell you that they’re always learning– I know I am!” Steer clear of candidates who talk themselves up with ridiculous titles and who can’t provide solid evidence of their expertise.

How do you prove it?

According to our experts, some of them don’t even try. To candidates who say “’Social media can’t be measured,’” Fryer answer “yes it can[. L]earn how to be a marketer.” Beth Carpenter, CEO of Violet Hour Social Marketing, complains that many candidates “Can’t talk about ROI (return on investment),” arguing that a good social media pro should be able to show “how social contributes to overall business success.” Good social media pros should show their value in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

While our experts wanted to see numerical evidence of social media success, they were also unimpressed with “vanity metrics” such as numbers of followers.

Many poo-pooed the use of followers alone as an indicator of success, with Tinu Abayomi-Paul of Leveraged Promotion joking that “a trained monkey or spambot” can gather 1,000 followers.

Claims of expertise or success should also be backed up by references and experience in relevant fields.

Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”

Freshen up

So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.

And if you’re hiring a social media manager, watch out for these red flags to cull your candidate pool.

#RedFlag

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