Applebee’s in PR firestorm for firing server who shared receipt

The company’s CEO has issued a statement to this fast moving crisis.

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This story has been updated. Applebee’s is in the middle of a PR nightmare after a receipt from one of its St. Louis area locations went viral. Since Thursday, the restaurant chain has taken a beating on social media because of the incident. Here’s the scoop: Last Friday, the pastor of St. Louis-based church Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries took her congregation to an Applebee’s after an evening service. The receipt for the meal added an 18 percent gratuity, which is restaurant policy for parties of eight or more. However, Pastor Alois Bell crossed out the 18 percent and left the server a note that said: “I give God 10% why do you get 18.” An employee at the Applebee’s took a picture of the receipt and this week posted it to Reddit, where it went viral. The woman who shared the picture is not the same person who served Bell and her party, according to a statement issued Friday from Applebee’s CEO Mike Archer. Although the image shown above has been cropped, the picture originally posted to Reddit showed the pastor’s signature. Afterwards, Bell demanded the restaurant fire the server who waited on her, as well as the person who posted the picture and the manager on duty at the time of her visit, according to ABC News. On Wednesday, Applebee’s reportedly fired the employee who posted the picture of the receipt. Commenters online reacted swiftly, slamming Bell and Applebee’s. In the interview with The Smoking Gun, Bell apologized, calling the incident a “lapse in character.” She also said she left a $6 tip in cash. “My heart is really broken,” she told The Smoking Gun. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” The incident also brought a wave of criticism upon Applebee’s. On Thursday, the company posted the following statement to its Facebook page:

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