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Jack In The Box Keeps Cool in Crisis By Kathy Tyre

SAN DIEGO – Jack In The Box waged an ‘acceptable’ crisis control attack – with an emergency ad campaign plus public relations and quality control maneuvers – foll

Over the past week, media reports surfaced that more than 200 people in Washington state, San Diego and Las Vegas had been diagnosed with food poisoning traced to tainted Jack In The Box hamburgers. One person died.
The fast-food chain initially responded by fighting over blame with its meat supplier, Vons Co. But by the first working day after the crisis became public, with more details on the source of the problem in hand, Jack In The Box had newspaper and TV ads from Cohen/Johnson, L.A., running in Washington.
The ads feature Jack Goodall, chairman of Jack In The Box parent Foodmaker Inc., expressing sorrow over the incident. Foodmaker followed the ads by promoting quality control measures, like replacing meat supplies, increasing the cooking time for hamburgers, and finally firing Vons.
Crisis control experts say that while the initial feuding with Vons was a mistake, later steps may have been enough to preserve the image of Jack In The Box, which said it has seen a slight decrease in business since the crisis began.
‘The bottom line is your bottom line in this one,’ said Howard Bragman, whose Beverly Hills-based pr firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli has handled crisis relations for its clients. ‘They can look at their sales numbers and decide how aggressive they have to be. If they’re feeling an impact, address it. If they’re not, they’re better off shutting up.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)