Texas bakery deletes Facebook page after bad reviews over gun stance

By: Austin360.com

Updated:

French bakery located in the Austin area appears to have deleted its business Facebook page after a note posted earlier stated it intended to do so when a barrage of negative, 1-star reviews popped up on the page following an incident where they say they turned away a customer who was carrying a gun.

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Baguette et Chocolat posted their reasoning for the change Monday on Facebook.

Here is the full text:

VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE PLEASE READ

Dear patrons,

Due to a recent gun incident with one fellow at our store, we’re extremely sad and shocked to announce you that we will shut down our Facebook page in the next days.

This fellow, who is a pro gun, wrote an article on Saturday 16th of September, on a pro gun social network, relating his version about what happened in our store.

Here is our version : 
This fellow was upset, a year and a half ago, when we put on the doors the LAW sign prohibiting carrying gun in our establishment. He talked to my wife and said that if we didn’t put those signs down, he would not come back. We didn’t take those signs out.

Recently, he chose to come back. We saw his gun underneath is t shirt. My employees and myself didn’t know what to do so, we decided to call 311. We were trying to know what can we tell this fellow, who knows that we don’t legally allow guns in our bakery, but still comes inside with his gun. 311 decided to send police officers. We were not aware of it until the police officers showed up.

Those police officers dealt with him telling him that regarding the LAW, we don’t allow guns in our store. He pretended he didn’t see the signs on the door. Apparently, he just had a warning and left the store.

On Saturday 16th of September, we started receiving a couple of 1 star review without comment. I started to see with my employees to know if something went wrong that day because we’re not used to bad review much. If we can fix a mistake, we will.

Later this day we received much more 1 star reviews, some with comments regarding guns and insulting emails. Everything went clear. This article was spreading.

All Baguette et Chocolate’s team is shocked and very sad. Like April, my head baker who has been working very hard with us for more than 6 years and told us “you don’t deserve this !”. We’ve been building very hard this true Authentic French family business for almost 8 years now.  
In just a couple of days, those people who most of them never came to our store, try, as they say, to destroy our business. Telling us that as “migrant” we have to go back to our country. That we don’t have our place here in the USA or in Texas. That we don’t respect people. That we treat them like criminals (but we just talk about the gun not the person who carry it). That they expect us to be robbed at our house or at our business. And much worse even threats…….

Yes, we’re migrant Alien who left our country for America to live our dream of sharing our passion for French food. We wanted to live our American dream. We’re known for respecting our savoir faire, authenticity and quality. Yes, our down side is the customer service sometimes, we know it and we do our best to fix it but we’re just a tiny bakery NOT a formal restaurant, very popular with only 30 people allowance (employees included) so it’s hard sometimes to handle everything. Our team does his best and works hard to satisfy your needs. 
We’re working very hard to make it right, to make our patrons happy to stop by and have a piece of France right around the corner, trying to make you having a good time.

Yes, we put those LAW signs on the doors. Yes, we don’t want guns inside the bakery as we’re small place and can be packed with children around as they have their own spot. We WELCOME EVERYONE and always do, but just unarmed. Our concern is NOT the person but the gun.

I thought we had the freedom in our own building, like HEB or WHOLE FOOD, to legally do what we think is best. Apparently not. 
Our time is precious, we don’t have much time to spend on the social network as we focus on our job to satisfy our patrons who really believe in what we’re here for. We can not deal with those fellows. We let them express their anger on the other reviews network.  
Our Facebook page was supposed to be our own….not anymore. The rating we’ve been working on has been declining drastically by those bad reviews and it will keep going. 
We don’t have any hands on it. Facebook can not help us.

WE WANT TO THANK VERY TRULY FROM THE DEEP OF OUR HEART ALL THE LIKERS, LOVERS WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING OUR BUSINESS FOR ALMOST 8 YEARS NOW ON FACEBOOK. 
WE ARE VERY SORRY ABOUT IT AND ASK YOU TO EXCUSE US FOR ALL THE INCONVENIENCE IT MAY OCCUR. 
WE ARE AND WE WILL BE STILL DOING OUR JOB WE’RE KNOWN FOR TO SATISFY OUR PATRONS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING. 
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT. 
MERCI !

Anne-lise & Chi minh PHAM DINH  
Baguette et Chocolat’s owners”

The pro-gun article mentioned in the post’s early paragraphs comes from a post on Robert Farago’s “The Truth About Guns” blog. The blog is dedicated to “exploring the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.”

Farago wrote “Austin’s Baguette et Chocolat calls the cops on RF’s concealed carry,” where he offers his side of the story related in the restaurant’s Facebook post.

“Prior to that fateful afternoon, I stashed my gat in the car before entering the patisserie. That day, though, I forgot. I was wearing my Wilson Combat EDC X-9 in a Kydex holster under a T shirt. I was barely printing. But apparently enough to trigger the owner’s PC hoplophobia.”

Farago said he thought the bakery’s sign banning open carry only applied to 30.06 caliber guns and not his handgun.

“‘I’m sorry officer,’ I said after pretending to read the signs and re-entering the cafe. “I thought it was no open carry.”

“I...put on my hat, made another apology and exited B&C stage right.

“And that was that.

“My bad, right? But I’m still annoyed that the owner called the cops.”

Farago also mentioned that he thought an apology to the officers called to the scene would be enough.

“I was a regular customer. I’d just bought $30 worth of food. I was with an attractive young lady. I was dressed well. I was calm and polite to his staff. All the owner had to do: ask me to leave and/or disarm.”

Farago updated his post in the wake of Baguette et Chocolat’s Facebook post, saying that he wants his supporters and readers to refrain from contacting the bakery.

“We’ve received a number of reports of readers threatening the business in question on their Facebook page and web site. This is probably a tiny minority of readers, but actions like that don’t help the gun rights cause at all. Please refrain from contacting the business.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Baguette et Chocolat had 20 1-star reviews on its Facebook page before it was shut down, compared to more than 1,000 5-star reviews. 

Six of those 1-star reviews mentioned the bakery’s gun policy, and nearly all of them were written after the Sept. 16 date in question. 

However, many of the bakery’s 5-star reviews praised the food and the gun policy.

Baguette et Chocolat is still open for business. On Monday, Sheri Soltes, a candidate for Texas House District 47, organized an “eat-in” for the bakery on Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

“Texas business owners have the right to prohibit customers from bringing guns into their business,” Soltes wrote in a news release. “Baguette et Chocolat took a stand against gun carry in their bakery. For that, they are being attacked by an ex- customer. Now it's our turn to stand up for them! Austinites will be supporting these brave bakers with an Eat-In. We’ll be bringing signs, streaming on social media and showing everyone that we support local business, immigrants and gun-free zones.”

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