The impact of social media

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CHARLES CITY, IA – This all started last Thursday when Danielle Tiesmessen went into the Taco John’s in Charles City to get some food.

She says she was shocked when she saw an employee in the kitchen appearing to not be following health code regulations.

So she took a picture, posted it, and got a lot of people talking.

Danielle Tiemessen, is still in shock over the feedback she received after posting a photo of an employee at a local restaurant.

“The picture exploded. It has as of right now about 400 comments over 1,050 shares, its everywhere. Everybody as seen it,” said Danielle.

Danielle says since the post, folks from all over are responding.

“I posted this measly picture in Iowa and it’s made it to Alabama, phoenix, California, New York, it’s out there. It’s gone nationwide in a matter of just a couple days,” said Danielle.

And this was all done via social networking.

So far it’s resulted in the person in the photo being fired, and according to Dave Werning with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, it is being investigated.

“We rely on the public an awful lot to serve as our eyes and ears.  We can not be there on an everyday basis so we welcome public input,” said Werning.

Dave Werning says camera phones and social media are resulting in more instances of violations being investigated.

And he says it’s important for business owners to be aware of the changing times.

“Restaurants, a lot of restaurants have Facebook pages. They are very much aware of social media. They know that if a customer is unhappy that information gets out. They spread it,” said Werning.

And Danielle has learned a lot about the power anyone with a camera and a Facebook page now has.

“The social media just takes it and runs with it.  You can’t hide, it’s out there for everyone to see and to look to know what’s going on,” said Danielle.

According to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, fast food restaurants like Taco John’s are inspected once a year.

Werning says the last inspection done on this particular location was on August 8th, and there were no significant violations.

As for the Taco John’s corporate office:

“We told you last night that they found out about this photo on friday and the employee has been fired.”

The corporate office says it was also company regulations that appear to have been broken by the person in the photo, because franchise employees are required to wear uniforms, including safety shoes.

Meanwhile, the franchise owners, Linda and Carl Johnson, tells us they are extremely sorry for one employee’s actions, and they are working very hard to make the restaurant a pleasing and positive place again, and they want people to give them a second chance.

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