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Leading Steakhouse Turns Expensive Mistake Into Social Media Glory

Hawksmoor’s £4500 wine gaffe is an object lesson in marketing

Hawksmoor Manchester served £4500 wine by mistake
Same same but different
Hawksmoor Manchester/Twitter

Offset a financial nightmare with a new currency: likes and retweets

Leading steakhouse Hawksmoor served up an object lesson in #marketing yesterday after accidentally selling a £4500 bottle of wine to a customer who had ordered a £260 bottle at its Manchester restaurant. The stage was set for a witty tweet to catapult the event into the social media stratosphere — devoid of the asinine pandering that food brands are so partial to right now — and the chain duly delivered. Hawksmoor’s social media voice hasn’t always hit the right notes, with an opportunistic dig at then-flailing steakhouse Cau coming off a little unsavoury last year, but as partially salvaging a situation goes, there’s no better tonic than a ton of free PR, and the restaurant’s long-running commitment to charity support helps to allay any cynicism. Also: it was a good tweet.

It’s no consolation to the general manager’s bottom line, and although Hawksmoor has been lauded for handling the situation so well, it’s a stretch to assume that Brand Personality directly reflects internal HR policies and procedures. Detailing the consequences for the business’ finances and any new preventative measures wouldn’t play so well online as a jaunty “chin up” and a cheeky wink, but in 2019, apparent transparency is such a winning online currency that the reality seems to matter less and less.

The big question that many have asked of all this is whether or not the customer(s) drinking the wine knew what had happened. Surely someone who had already ordered a £260 bottle would know, people say; the customers’ reticence to come forward could speak to some insider knowledge. On the other hand, ordering a stupid bottle of wine offhand at the bar is a certain kind of massive flex, and diners’ motives are their own to keep.

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