Steak ‘n Shake Issue Still Creating PR Waves

Remember when I had the drive-thru window shut in my face (not once, but twice!) back in January?

The issue continues to ripple on. In April, it was the subject of Laurel Papworth’s presentation at the RMIT Communicator of the Year event in…


That’s right, Steak ‘n Shake has gone down under. Laurel has an excellent presentation on why companies need to be aware of social media and how it can impact public relations for their companies. Be sure to check out the slide show on her blog.

Two days ago, I was doing a search and spotted the Diversity, Inc. article and the video featured as an ad on the search page. And just yesterday, a friend sent me a screen shot of his email page showing the same:

Over at Disaboom, they’re sharing my two-part series that takes a look at the solutions for drive-thru access:

Two Milkshakes, Please–Discrimination at the Drive-Through

Two Milkshakes, Please–Discrimination at the Drive-Through Part Two

Ironically, this morning I saw a Steak ‘n Shake commercial that featured Steak ‘n Shake employees pulling customer feedback suggestions out of a jar– and it wasn’t captioned.

As for me, I’m still waiting to hear back from the Steak ‘n Shake corporation to see if they plan to turn this drive-thru issue around and make it accessible for their customers. Many people have assumed that I’ve filed a lawsuit and I have not. I want to work out an accessible solution. Can you imagine the fantastic PR that would result if Steak ‘n Shake would take the steps toward welcoming their customers with access?

Steak ‘n Shake, are you listening?

12 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    I have not visited Steak ‘n Shake since then and will not in the future until the company acknowledge this issue.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Karen, re: your not having sued as of yet; maybe they are waiting for you to do just that? What do you think?


  3. Karen
    Karen says:

    I honestly can’t imagine a corporation wanting to invite a lawsuit rather than winning back customers…

  4. Michelle in Mx
    Michelle in Mx says:

    Thanks for reading my interview . . . when I was reading your first story about stake and shakes . . well, I ditto the appalled reaction of you all!!! I would be curious to hear what you did do and how you worked it out. That’s showing a lot of grace on your part.
    Anyway- I’ve got you bloglined now, so I’ll be back.

  5. Connie
    Connie says:

    Just checking in and I am shocked that this issue has not been resolved yet. How awful for them as a company in this day and age.

  6. dancer
    dancer says:

    Have you heard from Steak ‘n Shake at all since you first wrote to them? If not, I would write again. Perhaps you got lost in the corporate jungle. Or perhaps they hope you’ll just go away. Maybe if we all print out copies of this blog and sent it to them, you will get a reply:)

    I noticed that Chick Fil A has a sign on their speaker that directs customers to the window if they are unable to use the speaker.

  7. Easton Ellsworth
    Easton Ellsworth says:

    Karen, thank you for being such a great example to us all. I picture Twisted Sister belting “we’re not gonna take it.”

    You’d think every drive-thru would have already made it so that you don’t need to actually hear the other person to communicate about the order – as it is, I can often barely decipher what the voice in the little box is warbling out to me. (“Sorry, come again?”)

  8. Karen
    Karen says:

    I am working with Steak ‘n Shake through Equip for Equality to try and work out a good solution for access. We are waiting to hear from their attorney.

  9. Laurel Papworth
    Laurel Papworth says:

    the irony of an Australian blogger talking to top media and PR people (the RMIT communicator of the year award is a prestigious industry award) about communication and social media while this is happening… thank you for keeping me updated! Best of luck!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the situation. Deaf Life did a five-page spread on the story. Down in Australia, the topic was a large part of a presentation given at an RMIT Communicator of the Year Awards banquet. Diversity, Inc. did a story and a video interview with captioning. As a result of the Steak […]

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