Ever heard of Banh Shop? If North Texas had its way, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity.
Banh is the shiny new toy of Yum Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. In the opinion of the powers-that-be at Yum, the bánh mì sandwich is the next new sub sammich, burrito, or fish taco. In case you aren’t familiar, we’re talking Vietnamese-style sandwiches made of meat or tofu baguettes with various accoutrements.
There’s only one problem: they’re all cooked by Commies!
Look at the picture and see if you can tell why this place freaked North Texans out.
It’s the logo — the communistic red star of oppression from decades back. At least that’s what the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas said. Loudly.
“While we are very pleased with the name of the restaurant, we are hurt and offended by your chosen logo, a red star, which is a symbol of communism and will offend thousands of South Vietnamese refugees in my community,” read a petition on ipetitions.com which was developed (and hand-delivered to the corporate office) by Thanh Cung, VAC president.
The Dallas Morning News used its investigative prowess to discover that the petition and the public outcry was so intense that officials with Yum Brands were said to be “working really hard” to find a solution to concerns about the logo. And then, alternative press weekly Dallas Observer (owned by the Village Voice) posted a personal response to Mr. Cung from Yum Brands.
This is one way to handle a crisis:
Dear Mr. Cung, Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us this morning. We appreciate your time.
First, on behalf of all of us at YUM, please accept our sincere apology to you and to the Vietnamese community for unintentionally offending you with the logo of Banh Shop. We have the greatest respect for the Vietnamese people and culture. It was never our intent to offend anyone, but we see we have made a mistake and in hindsight, we should have recognized this logo could be offensive. Therefore, and effective immediately, we are changing the logo and removing the red star from all materials and signage at the restaurant. That will happen by end of day today. We will design a new logo, and would greatly appreciate your reviewing it, along with other aspects of this restaurant, before we make a final decision. We hope that you can let us know if there are any other elements in the new logo or aspects of the restaurant that could be perceived poorly.
We want you to know we have heard the issues raised by you and others in the community, and we are addressing those right away. It is important to us that our restaurant is enjoyed by all, and we hope you can let others know of our sincere apology for the mistake we have made and the actions we are taking to address it.
Christophe Poirier, who heads up new concepts for YUM, will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for the two of you to meet to review new logo designs within the next 24 hours. We hope you’ll accept our apology on behalf of the Vietnamese community, and that you will feel free to contact either Christophe or me directly with any additional concerns or questions.
Thank you again for your understanding and consideration.
Senior Vice President
YUM Brands, Inc.
MEMO to Daniel Snyder: Your move with those football helmets and that team name thing.