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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

If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!

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Clubhouse member hanging out on the app, on a couch with mask on their face.

The new exclusive app Clubhouse is challenging what social media can be – and it might possibly be the best thing to blow up during quarantine.

Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.

From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.

Why is it special?

Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.

If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.

If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.

The celebrities!

Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.

How do you get on?

Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.

With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.

Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.

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TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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Promoted tweets getting over-promoted? Time for Twitter backlash

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter has enacted changes to how frequently Promoted Tweets – i.e., ads – are seen by users, and in true Twitter fashion, there’s mixed opinions.

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Smartphone open to Twitter with promoted tweets open on the top of the feed.

Did anyone else ever watch the Strong Bad Emails cartoons from Homestarrunner? One of the running gags there – and subsequently one of my favorite bits – was when he’d just delete a fan’s email outright while insulting the author. Strong Bad was great at laying down the delete hammer and had zero cares in the world about doing it.

The idea that you – as a user, person, entity – can reclaim a little bit of omniscient authority is powerful. Generally, we like being in control of our lives, and the ability to exercise that authority resonates deeply.

Digital companies are still coming to terms with the idea that their users maintain some ability to revolt against their new policies, trying to straddle the line between new features and improved tools while still keeping an existing audience happy. Typing “hate the new” into Google will show results solely around new interfaces and an endless string of abhorrence. The new Facebook layout is bad. The new Gmail is bad and here’s how to revert it.

I’m sure others exist for any widely used app or service. Sometimes even new logos incite rage. I’m not here to make a statement either way, but usually there’s some ground in between pure opinion and justifiable discussions about user interface and experience. Regardless, change can make users upset.

Twitter recently rolled out changes to how Promoted Tweets work. You should know first that a promoted tweet is just an ad, and were originally set to appear only once per timeline. However, recent updates to Twitter’s internal services has resulted in some users reporting the same ad being shown multiple times in rapid succession, and even repeatedly over and over.

Think about Google search results – there are definitely ads at the top of the first page, and they are usually relevant to the topic at hand and only show up in that area. A user can quickly scroll downward past this and look through other results. But imagine how frustrating it might be to have a first page riddled primarily with ads, effectively choking out other results.

Twitter maintains that, “we’re thoughtful in how we display Promoted Tweets, and are conservative about the number of Promoted Tweets that people see in a single day.” This has led some users to believing this behavior indicates some kind of issue with their internal systems. I like to think about the scene in Office Space where Michael Bolton (not the singer) mentions that he may have put a decimal in the wrong place; that is, there’s a configuration error at Twitter instead of some kind of sea change.

However, Twitter has said this is not a glitch. In fact, they stated it was intentional, and further clarified that, “We regularly experiment and deploy changes to our advertising experience. We are constantly innovating and testing, and will continue to adapt as we learn.” Despite worldwide complaints, Twitter has not officially acknowledged this situation as problematic.

As a result, many users have taken to blocking the advertisers involved with the Promoted Tweets. Much like Strong Bad exercising his ultimate authority over his domain, this means that companies are in danger of losing their ability to reach users entirely. As this number grows, the consequences could widespread, and it will be interesting to see if Twitter changes their outlook and/or has potential pressure from advertisers. Twitter has stated that this may simply be temporary to exhaust a surplus of ad inventory, and this remains to be seen.

As users continue to voice their complaints, it will be interesting to see how the situation ultimately resolves.

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