General: Identify and address key issues behind recent outbreak and food safety image while maintaining customer loyalty and consumer behavior.
Action: Investigate, test, and report all possible sources of E. Coli and Hepatitis A (including all midpoints between farm and restaurant), evaluate store sanitation procedures and inventory logistics, report findings and recommendations as required by regulatory agencies.
Communicate: Once sources are discovered, provide public disclosure as to the source of bacteria and reasons why outbreak will not happen in the future. Address with regulatory agencies failure in current processes focusing on the safety of regulation enhancement. Transition consumer media message from “is it safe?” back to recent commercial tagline. Communicate with Franchise Owners reasons for outbreak and how the support infrastructure at YUM brands provides better support than competition. Provide shareholders with crisis management plan and communicate steps to get back to business as usual. Address all employees and contractors focusing on required steps necessary to maintain a sanitary work environment and all the steps required in proper food handling.
Primary– Senior Management including C-level positions within YUM brands. They have a need for decisive and comprehensive action given the repeated incidences of outbreak, as well as, need to satisfy regulatory entities with a strong avoidance of as much liability as possible. Additional Primary audience is with shareholders and large stakeholders showing comprehensive management plan for a quick back to business as usual in day to day operations.
Secondary- Vendors, Suppliers, Employees, and Consumers, these groups need to know that YUM brands will not tolerate or accept a product or practice that jeopardies the health of its consumers or violates current regulations.
A large obstacle to the message and its follow through is to identify, eliminate, and communicate the reasons for the outbreak in the first place: address possible difficult questions such as; is the reason for the outbreak a coincidence, the fault of poor operational decisions/practices, or that of regulation, and in either case, could YUM brands have known sooner and prevented outbreak from occurring? The message of the memo will outline a management plan moving the current company response and message towards quality improvement while disassociating Taco Bell and that of getting sick. The goal will be to enact preventative measures, while showing how to isolate reason(s) of outbreak to a singular issue that is quickly resolved and forgotten by public and regulatory entities. Lastly, convincing the public that the health scare was just that, a scare, and that eating at Taco Bell NOW is entirely safe.
Several possible ethical concerns may be addressed in this investigation and complete resolution. First off, who and what are to “blame,” certain individuals in the stores, Taco Bell management decisions, vendors, farmers (if any or all are interconnected what is the reason that health and quality were not always are top of decision matrix)? Secondly, how can/should liabilities be addressed and shared between stakeholders?
The structure of the message will first be to present in a directly stated memo the need for additional evaluations of the food delivery process. Once establishing the need for the evaluation the message will move to the communication strategies and processes needed to address all stakeholders. The conclusion of the memo will be a request a formal meeting with decision makers about how best to move forward with implementation allowing for intermittent Q and A.
In a direct formal memo to C-Level positions, I will strictly rely on written communication giving the option for a later meeting date which will then include,...