The saga of previously anonymous Amy’s Baking Company of Scottsdale, AZ, continues, with the eatery — which came out of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares looking like a heretofore undocumented circle of Hell — scheduling a “Grand Re-Opening” next Tuesday night and hiring a publicist known more for damage control than for shilling restaurants.
The owners, married couple Amy and Samy, who have been just as defensive and off-putting in recent days as they were on last Friday’s episode of the FOX reality hit, plan on holding a press conference, in which they will “answer falsehoods depicted on a reality television show, including assertions that the restaurant confiscates tips from servers.”
We don’t think it’s an “assertion” when you have the owner of the restaurant admitting on camera that he and his wife keep all the tips, or when one of the waitresses confirms that no tips were given to staff. Additionally, though the owners point out that staff are paid more than minimum wage, our non-lawyer understanding of the Fair Labor Standards Act is that tips belong to the tipped employee, regardless of whether or not they have a base wage below the minimum, or unless the waiters are part of a legal, agreed-upon tip-sharing pool.
That being said, because these employees are making above the minimum wage, the FLSA would allow the owners to dock the wait staff’s pay for walkouts and such, but what we saw on the show — and what Samy admitted to Ramsay on the show — was that the owners were not penalizing employees for mistakes but appeared to be enriching themselves because they felt they handled the majority of the work in the restaurant.
Regardless, that will be one of the topics Amy and Samy will likely shout about on Tuesday, along with their claims that their Facebook page was hacked.
“We are very upset by what has taken place, apologize about the acrimony that has ensued but now must fight back to save our business. We hope and believe much good can result from what has transpired. We ask the public to keep an open mind as we begin to tell our side of the story,” Samy said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the couple has hired a local publicist who has apparently specialized both in handling scandalized figured in Arizona — and who also made headlines when he was fired from his gig for the Special Olympics after he posted a Tweet unfavorable comparing fans at a Coyotes NHL game with special education students.
If anyone in Arizona manages to get a reservation for Tuesday, we’d love to hear a first-hand report!
The Amy’s Baking Company Saga Is Only Going to Get Weirder [Tucson Weekly]
Meet Amy’s Baking Company’s New PR Guy: Big-Haired, Big-Mouthed Jason Rose [PhoenixNewsTimes.com]