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A Denny’s Joke on Twitter About Non-Tippers Has Backfired Spectacularly

Twitter users promptly roasted the company for its low wages and reliance on tips

A Denny’s restaurant. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The #brands these days love to have fun online. Goofing around on Twitter with memes and weird jokes is one of the primary ways to drum up business, it seems. Denny’s, which boldly proclaims itself to be “America’s diner,” has put a few good tweets out there in its time, but the company forgot an important law of the internet. No matter how good the social media team may be, brands eventually get roasted for bad content in one form or another.

Take that, garbage tippers! The problem, as a number of Twitter users have noted, is that Denny’s has a history of fighting for lower pay for its employees. Denny’s servers earn an average of $5.43 per hour, according to employment recruiting site Glassdoor, and line cooks make an average of $11.12 per hour. In 2014, chief executive officer John Miller justified the company’s meager starting wages thusly: “The benefit of this industry is we’re one of the largest employers of those who don’t have a good start otherwise. Many can start in this industry and work their way to management or ownership." Restaurant managers at Denny’s average $39,177 a year, per Glassdoor. Miller reportedly made $5,194,167 in fiscal year 2016.

It’s hard for a company to clap back at jerks who leave poor tips when said company actively campaigns against wage increases.

That second screenshot in the above tweet from excellent writer Stefan Heck references this 2015 Eater SF story:

William Woods, a Denny's regional manager whose purview encompasses all of Southern and parts of Northern California, told the City Council that he believed the proposed Emeryville wage increase (to a living wage of $14.03/hour, up from $9 for most area workers) would bring a “crime element” into the area — even though Emeryville boasts only one Denny's, located right off the I-80 freeway.

In his argument to the City Council (which begins at 1:50:38 on this video), Woods asserts that the area of West L.A. near LAX suffered a 15% crime-rate bump in the first three months after raising the minimum wage, with residents of Inglewood, Watts, Compton, and Laguna preying on workers with higher salaries. “[The wage increase] brought the people from that portion of the city over to the area to be what they call the gallopers on top of the people who are making the wage,” he told the City Council.

Arguing that it’s bad for a food-service worker to make more money because it just means they’ll get robbed is not great. The reaction to the Denny’s Thursday afternoon tweet was predictable:

Denny’s, heed this advice from ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. It will likely save some future embarrassment.

@DennysDiner [Twitter]
Denny's Higher-Up Wrongly Asserts Raising Minimum Wage Drives Up Crime [ESF]
All Pop Culture Coverage [E]