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Spur: The long journey to repair its reputation

By Jessica Anne Wood

Spur has been in the headline recently, and for all the wrong reasons. Earlier this year there was an incident at the Texamo Spur at the Glen Shopping Centre, east of Johannesburg between two parents following a fight between their children in the play area. The manner in which this was initially handled by the branch manager and later the head office was largely criticised by the public. This has led to a call for people to boycott Spur.

In an attempt to quell the damage that has been done so far, this week Spur announced that its executive management team will be touring the country to listen to their customers and franchisees.

In a statement explaining the decision, Spur stated: “Over the past few months we have realised that we have not been listening to our customers. The altercation between two Spur customers in March in Johannesburg and the reaction that followed, drove home a powerful message, namely that we urgently needed to give attention to the needs and frustrations of our customers.

“We also have to accept and recognise the sentiments of both the public and our franchisees, with regards to our overall handling of the situation. We hereby unconditionally apologize to any person or community who has taken exception to our actions and will ensure a fair hearing is conducted prior to judgements being made in future.”

A social media eruption

Following the incident at the Texamo Spur, the Spur brand received backlash from the public on social media. To help address the social media reactions, Spur has appointed a “panel of experts to evaluate the recent negative response on social media and throughout the broader public, and to make recommendations where improvement can be made.”

However, while it seems like a step in the right direction, following an overwhelming response from both the public and customers, Spur has put the panel’s work on hold at present. “At this point in time, we are convinced there is more value in listening to our franchisees and the public – our clients – hence the countrywide tour. Once all information has been collected, a panel will be able to evaluate richer, ground level input and make more meaningful recommendations to Spur,” explained the company in the statement.

There are a number of social media pages that are solely dedicated to boycotting Spur, including Boycott Spur Steak Ranches and Boycott/Boikot SPUR Steak Ranches. Followers of these pages have listed a number of grievances that they have with the restaurant chain.

Both Facebook groups were contacted for commentary, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Spur takes action

While the work of the expert panel has been put on hold, Spur is taking action in other areas. The franchise stressed that immediate action is underway to appoint a task team to make the children’s play area safer, as well as the employment of additional staff during busy periods. “Franchisees are also receiving training in conflict management,” added Spur.

“Spur does not want to engage in political debates and will focus on what has made us an iconic South African brand for the last 50 years – a place where families from all communities can come together and enjoy a safe and fun restaurant environment. The lessons we have learned from the incident will serve to expand this focus going forward,” stated Spur.

It added: “We note that several franchisees are now under pressure, without having done anything wrong. Spur will assist each and every one of these franchisees in re-establishing the personal relationships they foster in their respective communities. We also offer our sincerest apology to our franchisees.”

When contacted for further information on the tour, Spur directed Justmoney to the company website and would not answer additional questions.

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