Jim O’Connor, President and Owner of Le Petit Gourmet, received a shocking phone call while vacation in California, which informed him that his business is going to shut down indefinitely due to the outbreaks of hepatitis A in his catering facility. Le Petit Gourmet was a family catering business that had been operating in the Denver metro area for more than 30 years. Le Petit employed between 150 and 200 people, 75 of whom were full time. Along with Le Petit was perceived as the most expensive and upscale caterer in Denver, O’Connor also want his business to be known for good food on all levels, from cookies to lobsters.
Le petit Gourmet’s business had been on the upswing in recent years. On November 22, Health Department notified O’Connor that his kitchen manager infected by hepatitis A, and by Nov 30, the doctor confirm the case. Due to the further outbreak on Dec 30, Le Petit Gourmet is being shut down completely, and the health departments have ordered food-service workers in metro Denver area to using gloves or utensils when handling food in prevention to hepatitis A.
In addition, Le Petit Gourmet employees were forbidden to work as food-handlers anywhere else until January 31. When he returned from San Francisco, Jim O’Connor found that his business and family were under siege. The media, his insurance agents, lawyers, and health department inspectors, Le Petit employees and customers were waiting for his explanation on how he going to handle the hepatitis outbreaks. Initially, he hired a public relations firm to assist him, but decided that he needed to take a more active role to save his business.
First of all, he personally called the victims of hepatitis and apologized for what had happened. He also meets with his employees to calm their fears. Afterward, he make sure that his company will have enough cash flow on hands to handle this crisis by delaying payment to his vendors and negotiated a larger mortgage, because he realized that he doesn’t have income for undetermined amount of time. To win back the public on their side, O’Connor and his staff decided to dumped $45,000 of food products into the trash.
Many of these items were unopened and frozen products, not part of the infected food. O’Connor was able to maintain his employees during the outbreaks, he honestly tell them that pay cut was imminent in the future, but if your stand by me and help me, I will commit to pay you back when the business is getting better. He also states to the employees that the infected person have been left Le Petit Gourmet, we are very safe working here in Le Petit Gourmet.
When he have all the information he need, he held a news conference at the Le Petit Gourmet facility and explained what had happened and what he and Le Petit Gourmet prepared to do about the crisis. During the outbreak periods, other catering companies was worried that this crisis would effects their companies, so they mailed out letter to inform their clientele that this only happened to Le Petit Gourmet and will never happened against them.
Due the O’Connor and his staffs diligent works, Le Petit Gourmet finally reopened on January 11, and they have their first catering job on January 14. Main Issues The main issues for this case was how O’Connor able to handle this crisis with ease and win back the reputation for his business. When the crisis first happened, O’Connor is put in a very tough spot, not only that he has face the media, health department, employees, etc… they all waiting for him to inform them what is really happened behind this mess that cost by Le Petit Gourmet.
I think that O’Connor did excellent job step by step to get his business reopened and back to business as soon as possible. First of all, he realized that he not going to have enough cash flow on hands to solve the problem, because he will have no income for long period of time due to the out breaks. Smartly, he asked his vendors for a delay payment, and also negotiated a larger mortgage to make sure to have enough cash on hand to solve the crisis. Money could be use to compensate the victims or pay for attorney fees, and also need to pays his employees.
Second of all, he was acting as a public relations spokesperson, who called all the victims and apologized for what had happened. He also met with his employees to calm their fears by telling them that the individual to whom the initial outbreak had been traced had already left the company, we are in a very safe working environment. He honestly told his employees that pay cut were imminent in the immediate future and their long-term status at Le Petit Gourmet was cloudy, but if they can stay on his side during this difficult time, he will make commitment to help them later on.
In addition, he also dumped $45,000 dollars of food products into the trash, to inform everyone that everything that has to do with hepatitis A will be destroyed and nothing will be held. I am most impress with O’Connor was that he didn’t shy away from the media, after he gather all the information he needed and collected himself personally, he held a new conference at the Le Petit Gourmet facility and explained what had happened and what he and Le Petit Gourmet as a company were prepared to do about the crisis.
Finally, due to the diligent works from O’Connor and his staffs, Le Petit Gourmet was finally reopened on January 11, and got they first catering job on January 14. I believe that O’Conner manage everything very well during the crisis, he win back the reputation of his company by holding a news conference and inform everybody what has happened, and win back his employees by honestly tell them what is going to happened in the future, he didn’t hide anything from anyone. He tells everyone what he thinks and what he going to about it.
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