The Cronut Apology: You’re Doing It Wrong

cronutIf you live in New York–and even if you don’t–you may have heard of the Dominique Ansel Bakery and its famous invention, the cronut.

[Full disclosure: we tasted one and it was pretty good, especially the super-creamy filling. But there is no way in hell we would ever wait in line for one like so many insane people do every morning.]

Anyway, the bakery recently won even more headlines than usual after the city Department of Health shut the site down due to the discovery of “several hundred mouse droppings.”

The story has now been resolved and the bakery reopened, but it didn’t end before a bit of back-and-forth between the bakery’s rep and a local blog as well as a a defiant thank you/apology letter from the proprietor to his fans.

Before the inspection (inspired by a video of a mouse in the bakery), Ansel’s rep emailed NY blog Gothamist, writing:

“The DOH did not find a single mouse or any rodent here at all. So much of what they cited as ‘evidence of infestation’ were cracks and holes on the walls that they saw as structural risks.”

Then came the droppings, which the rep addressed in a subsequent email:

“We’re of course deeply apologetic…Please note that none of the mice droppings were found in our kitchen areas where food preparation is done. And there were ZERO mice or any rodents found by the DOH.”

That’s a strange qualifying statement. Where did the droppings come from, if not from mice? Once the bakery did a deep cleanse and received the OK to reopen from the DOH, its team issued a sorry-not-sorry letter to its fans (emphasis ours):

“In the past year, we have woken up daily knowing that our success has made us vulnerable to more malicious attacks than any small, one-shop business should ever have to suffer. But we refuse to believe that we live in a world where success turns people into targets of spite and contempt.”

It goes on:

“Looking forward, our hope is that honest, hard-working businesses should not have to face cruel and sensationalized attacks that are not framed in the proper context. And systems should not be abused to single-out any one business over another.”

If by “cruel and sensationalized attacks” they mean bloggers making fun of them, then we have some bad news…

The bakery’s argument is essentially that, because they’ve gotten so much attention from the press, the bad news also receives a disproportionate amount of coverage.

But that’s the price of success, no? And there’s nothing malicious about factually reporting on a pile of mouse turds.

While we commend the business, we feel that all the headlines may have gone to its managers’ heads. In short, defiance is not the best way to earn sympathy.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.