- A restaurant chain's owner says she was flooded with hate mail over a location that went viral.
- The owner said the location's general manager had set a Google-review quota for workers.
- Andrea Bonfiglio said Triple T Hospitality Group "immediately" fired that manager and another one.
The owner of a restaurant chain says she received messages threatening to burn down her house and telling her to harm herself after a sign at one of her restaurants warned workers they would lose their jobs if they didn't get enough five-star Google reviews.
Andrea Bonfiglio, the chief marketing officer at the group, told Insider that the general manager of the Tio Taco and Tequila Bar in Edison, New Jersey, had posted the sign, which said front-of-house staff members had to get a minimum of five five-star Google reviews each month "to remain employed at the Edison location."
After a photo of the sign went viral on Reddit on Friday, the restaurant as well as the other nine owned by Triple T Hospitality Group were bombarded with negative reviews online. Bonfiglio, who is a part owner of the group alongside her sister and her parents, called it a "cybermob."
Bonfiglio told Insider that an employee at the restaurant shared the photo on Reddit and that Triple T found out about the policy only after the photo appeared online. She said the company immediately removed the sign.
She said that no employees were fired under the policy — which the note said would take effect in February — but that two managers were fired over its rollout.
"We immediately terminated not only the general manager but the assistant general manager because she did have a part in it," Bonfiglio told Insider on Tuesday. She declined to name the two managers.
"We would never stand for a general manager taking it upon himself to do this," she continued, adding: "It was just absurd."
Triple T has three Tio restaurants, all in New Jersey, as well as six Tommy's Tavern and Tap restaurants in New Jersey and one on Staten Island.
"We oversee 1,100 people, and while 99% of them are amazing we did have a bad egg, unfortunately," she said, referring to the general manager. "He was apologetic upon being fired but didn't really give an explanation."
As well as negative reviews online, Bonfiglio said she'd been inundated by hate mail, too.
"My email is obviously associated with the business, and I started getting hate mail and they were telling me to kill myself and they were going to burn my house down with my family in it," she said.
"The most vulgar things were coming through," she added. "And they were coming through from all over the world, and they weren't real emails — they weren't real accounts. It was just a lot of spam. And it was scary."
Bonfiglio said Google had removed nearly all of the reviews associated with the five-star-review policy.
She said the company had already replaced the two managers who'd been terminated, adding that Triple T was "very pro-employee" and that the group did everything it could "to ensure that it is an incredible place to work."
She said the group was fully staffed and didn't have a labor shortage, a fact she said "just speaks for itself."