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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

Twitter branches out into voice chat – what could go wrong?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We’re learning more about Twitter’s forthcoming audio chat rooms, but what is Twitter learning about moderation?

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Twitter open on a smartphone on table next to a cup of warm brown tea.

Twitter wants you to talk more with more people. Like, actually form words. With your mouth.

In November 2020, the micro-blogging giant announced it’s testing its new Audio Spaces feature, which allows users to create audio-only chat rooms – making it what Wired calls a copycat of the new and buzzy Clubhouse app.

Twitter itself hasn’t released many details, but tech blogger/app-feature detective Jane Manchun Wong has been tweeting some of the deets.

How it works

Here’s what we know about the private beta version, according to Wong: Users create a chat room and can control who is admitted to the group, whether it’s the public, followers, or followees. Group size is currently limited to 10. Members can react with a set set of emojis: “100,” raised hand, fist, peace sign, and waving hand. Spaces conversations are not recorded, but they are transcribed for accessibility. It uses Periscope on the back end.

One thing that’s not clear: The actual name. Twitter’s announcements have been calling it Audio Spaces, but the product’s handle is @TwitterSpaces.

It’s Twitter! What could go wrong?

The big gorilla in the chat room is moderation – as in, how do you keep humans from being terrible on Twitter?

We can all be forgiven for skepticism when it comes to Twitter’s aim to keep Audio Spaces safe(ish). Twitter can be a toxic stew of personal insults and even threats. Interestingly, Twitter is starting its test by inviting users who are often targets: Women and people from marginalized groups. Great idea! Who better to help craft community guidelines?

Requiring platforms to shut down hate speech and violent threats is having a moment, and Clubhouse is already in the controversy mix. Even as invite-only, the app has had some high-profile failures to moderate with threats toward a New York Times reporter and a problem anti-semitic conversation. It seems likely Twitter is paying attention.

Also on the safe(ish) side: The space creator is all powerful and can mute or kick out bad actors. Spaces can also be reported. Then there’s the transcription, which sets Audio Spaces apart from similar apps. Chat transcription was aimed at accessibility but, TechCrunch suggests that might help keep things civil and appropriate if people know their words are being written down. Hmm. Maybe?

Also… Why?

It doesn’t appear that there was a groundswell of demand from users, but Audio Spaces at least is something different from the feature pile-on making the social media big dogs start to look the same, as in Twitter’s also-new Fleets, Instagram’s and Facebook’s Stories, Snapchat’s… Snapchat. (See also Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight, TikTok’s… TikTok.)

Clubhouse does appear to be hugely popular in Silicon Valley – and it has the investment capital to show it – so maybe there’s something to this audio-only chat thing. But we’ve already seen pandemic-fueled Zoom-happy-hour-fatigue, as users have gotten frustrated with too many people talking at the same time. Video chat can give users at least a few more clues about who is talking and who might be about to talk. Audio-only chat seems like it could quickly devolve into a chaotic cacophony.

But, Twitter says, conversation will flow naturally, and it advises users to “be present.”

“Just like in real life, the magic is in the moment,” it says.

It’s beta testers will surely have a lot to say about “magic” and “moderation.”

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Social Media

New Pinterest code of conduct pushes for mindful posting

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media sites have struggled with harmful content, but Pinterest is using their new code of conduct to encourage better, not just reprimands.

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Pinterest icon on phone with 2 notifications, indicating new code of conduct.

It appears that at least one social media site has made a decision on how to move forward with the basis of their platform. Pinterest has created a brand-new code of conduct for their users. Giving them a set of rules to follow which to some may be a little restricting, but I’m not mad about it. In a public statement, they told the world their message:

“We’re on a journey to build a globally inclusive platform where Pinners around the world can discover ideas that feel personalized, relevant, and reflective of who they are.”

The revamp of their system includes 3 separate changes revolving around the rules of the platform. All of them are complete with examples and full sets of rules. The list is summed up as:

  • Pinterest Creator Code
  • Pinterest Comment Moderation Tools
  • Pinterest Creator Fund

For the Creator Code, Pinterest had this to say: “The Creator Code is a mandatory set of guidelines that lives within our product intended to educate and build community around making inclusive and compassionate content”. The rules are as follows:

  • Be Kind
  • Check my Facts
  • Be aware of triggers
  • Practice Inclusion
  • Do no harm

The list of rules provides some details on the pop-up as well, with notes like “make sure content doesn’t insult,” “make sure information is accurate,” etc. The main goal of this ‘agreement’, according to Pinterest, is not to reprimand offending people but to practice a proactive and empowering social environment. Other social websites have been shoe-horned into reprimanding instead of being proactive against abuse, and it has been met with mixed results. Facebook itself is getting a great deal of flack about their new algorithm that picks out individual words and bans people for progressively longer periods without any form of context.

Comment Moderation is a new set of tools that Pinterest is hoping will encourage a more positive experience between users and content creators. It’s just like putting the carrot before the donkey to get him to move the cart.

  • Positivity Reminders
  • Moderation Tools
  • Featured Comments
  • New Spam Prevention Signals

Sticking to the positivity considerations here seems to be the goal. They seem to be focusing on reminding people to be good and encouraging them to stay that way. Again, proactive, not reactive.

The social platform’s last change is to create a Pinterest Creator Fund. Their aim is to provide training, create strategy consulting, and financial support. Pinterest has also stated that they are going to be aiming these funds specifically at underrepresented communities. They even claim to be committing themselves to a quota of 50% of their Creators. While I find this commendable, it also comes off a little heavy handed. I would personally wait to see how they go about this. If they are ignoring good and decent Creators based purely on them being in a represented group, then I would find this a bad use of their time. However, if they are actively going out and looking for underrepresented Creators while still bringing in good Creators that are in represented groups, then I’m all for this.

Being the change you want to see in the world is something I personally feel we should all strive towards. Whether or not you produced positive change depends on your own goals… so on and so forth. In my own opinion, Pinterest and their new code of conduct is creating a better positive experience here and striving to remind people to be better than they were with each post. It’s a bold move and ultimately could be a spectacular outcome. Only time will tell how their creators and users will respond. Best of luck to them.

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Social Media

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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