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Nothing ignites the social media powder keg like a public meltdown by a restaurant owner. I call it the Zio Carlo effect. For those who don’t remember, the onetime owner of his namesake pizzeria and brewery where Fort Brewing & Pizza now stands stepped in the Facebook beehive when he drunkenly berated “Obama kids” on his business’ Facebook page. To his credit, Carlo later apologized and hosted a happy hour with free pizza. Many owners would later follow his blustery blueprint to temporary Pariahtown. In the last several months, the owners of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and Oscar’s Pub showed their respective backsides on their companies’ “marketing tool,” though I’m guessing they would take exception to that opinion.

The difference between all of those missteps and the recent gaffe by Toasted Coffee + Kitchen owner Bob Sinnott  is that his tirade singled out a person, in this case a former disgruntled employee. A Fort Worth outpost of his East Dallas coffee shop/toast-focused eatery will open in Crockett Row (formerly West 7th) any day now, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to work at a place whose owner called a former employee a “total nut job” and a “spaced-out loser,” among other insults. 

The imbroglio erupted after the employee in question left a negative review on one of the place’s social media sites. The former staffer called the place “dirty” and “overpriced,” and she accused Sinnott of mistreating workers, even failing to pay – a charge the owner strongly denied. 

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Throughout the thread, which at last look included hundreds of comments, Sinnott and the young former employee exchanged contradictions and insults as Facebook vultures interceded with helpful memes. You can probably guess the content: Sinnott snapped that the one-time worker probably lived with her mother, insulted her artwork, and encouraged her to “go do some drugs and traipse through the woods.” The staffer then called her former boss “sexist,” “delusional,” “out of touch,” and a litany of other bad-boss barbs. After accusing the employee’s boyfriend and an illegal alien friend (whose status the owner admitted to knowing) of stealing from him, Sinnott eventually tapped out, posting, “This has been fun.” 

Here’s the thing: That former employee could have been the worst worker in the history of labor. Everything Sinnott said about her work habits might be absolutely true. None of that matters now. Had he taken the high road, I might be writing today about how excited I am for Toasted to open. Instead, he dropped trou and showed the world what a complete jerk looks like. 

Whether it’s fair or not, business owners and public figures are held to a higher standard of online behavior than your average guy or gal. Sinnott conducted himself like a petulant teenage bully. He was unprofessional, demeaning, mean-spirited, and arrogant. If this is how he interacts with his staff out in the open, I hate to think what he’s like behind closed doors. 

It’s not easy, but you can just say nothing. And if you can’t, use any one of these phrases the next time you’re tempted to jeopardize your business and the livelihood of your current staff just to feel like a big man from behind your keyboard: “Sorry you feel that way;”  “While I strongly disagree, I’ll take your feedback into consideration;” “We’re working hard every day to improve.”

I don’t know if the former staffer was telling the truth about how horrible of a boss Sinnott was, but she succeeded in potentially damaging his business – with a lot of help from him. 

[Update]

Toasted owner Bob Sinnott posted an apology earlier in the comments section of our website:

“I wanted to provide an update to the story you published. I’ve had time to think and I apologize for my comments on the thread. I responded in a way that I regret and for that, I’m truly sorry. In full-transparency, I have legitimate reasons for concern about the conduct of individuals involved in the review, but will be handling the matter privately.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. His reputation for being rude, cruel and insulting (among other things) has traveled far. And as I have seen first hand, if you dare call him out for bad behavior on the Lakewood facebook page (of which ONLY he and his wife are admins) he will ban you from the group. SO MANY people have left the group because of him, if not banned first. Shame, because it’s the biggest/main neighborhood page.

  2. Unfortunately, we have seen him let loose and do this to multiple employees in public on the Lakewood page. He gets unhinged very quickly, on any woman that challenges him or his opinion. He has mocked sexual assault victims and defended rapists on that page. There is an entire Facebook page called Women of Lakewood that was started by dozens of women he kicked off the Lakewood page he admins. He’s a bully, and gotten a horrible reputation by those of us who have had the unfortunate experience of working for him over the years.

    • I’m one of the women who started the Women of Lakewood page – and you’re absolutely right, it was started as a space for women in the neighborhood to connect OUTSIDE of Sinnott’s LW page because he had been an absolute misogynist and had actually mocked women who had been sexually assaulted. My interactions with him on the LW page were few, but I witnessed some of his abominable behavior and left the group with a slew of other women and started the WoL page instead.

  3. I worked for him. They dont really care about the quality of the food they put out. He was (is) incompetent and his management either incompetent, arrogant, or both. Better for having left.

  4. I shared this article on my neighborhood Facebook page, not only was it removed but I was booted from the group. Why you ask? Because Bob and his wife are admins of the page. The Lakewood Dallas Facebook page is a group that has turned into a place for hate speech to run unchecked. Many post by women are degraded down to comments like stupid B;&”/. . The same admins that claim to not have time to review complaints , remove posts they don’t like and boot the people that complain. Also, I’ve been to Toasted and I support the former employees claim. Sticky surfaces everywhere and stupidly overpriced.

  5. The comments stated in the article are exactly the same, almost word for word , to comments he’s made to others. He has a horrible reputation in Lakewood not only with former employees. Yes, he and his wife are admins of the Lakewood page and the horrible comments they have made, the way they treat people and the way they have destroyed that neighborhood page is truly atrocious. No one understands how Toasted is still open. Not worth the avacado toast. I feel sorry for his staff

  6. This is a very poorly-written article. I struggled reading through it, as it appears to be spoken through the tone of a high schooler. The bold font of several “key words/phrases” all leads back to the author having an agenda. The Facebook exchanges appeared to be sarcastic and ultimately fueled by other comments. Should the owner of toasted not stand up for his livelihood? I don’t know him personally, but this seems like a malicious attack on a small business owner by someone hiding behind a keyboard. The author of this article points out that the disgruntled former employee may have been a bad one. In my opinion, bad employees should be terminated. I have only been to toasted a couple of times, but I have never once got the feeling that the restaurant is dirty. If you (the author of this article) had been to the original toasted, maybe you would know that this claim is patently false. It also seems highly unlikely that the former employee wasn’t paid. If this were true, it is probable that several other employees would have come out and said the same. Do your research before discrediting the owner of a small business. It’s a shame that this restaurant will lose significant business because you felt the need to write an article, with very little facts (if any), at the expense of someone and something that you know very little about.

  7. This is the man who mocked sexual assault survivors, so not at all surprising that he would treat a young woman this way. He’s a crap human who sells crap food.

  8. Btw, James L is clearly Bob Sinnott. Its laughable to see him pretend to be a random customer who has been to Toasted a few times. Anyone that has worked at Toasted knows the guy is unhinged. Anyone on the lakewood page he admins has stood witness to the right wing curation of who is allowed to comment and have opinions, while allowing sexism and racism to go unchecked. The food isn’t great, it’s definitely over priced but Fort Worth should avoid supporting Toasted because this is not a good person. End of story. Vote for with your dollars….there are many other places to get overpriced coffee.

    • I am not bob. If you want to text me to confirm, I’d be more than happy to do so. You care only about the politics of the Lakewood group.

  9. Unfortunately, this type of dialogue is just how he speaks to people, usually women. He allows a known sexual assaulted on his Lakewood page, allowing him to prey on more young women with his “business”. I think this is the fourth or fifth, very vocal employee and all have said the exact same thing about how he runs his business. They have parties at his house, where his wife bad mouths employees and strokes the fire of drama. Everywhere this couple goes, drama ensues. I’m not surprised at all that he reacted this way.

  10. We already have great and local coffee shops in Fort Worth like Ampersand, Sons of Liberty and Crude. There is no room for racist and terrible owners here. You will not have my support or all my family and friends in your new West 7th location due to your childish antics and tirades publicly.

  11. I wanted to provide an update to the story you published. I’ve had time to think and I apologize for my comments on the thread. I responded in a way that I regret and for that, I’m truly sorry. In full-transparency, I have legitimate reasons for concern about the conduct of individuals involved in the review, but will be handling the matter privately.

    • But are you sorry? Did you apologize to Destin? Did you pay the pregnant employee her last paycheck? The illegal employee you hired didn’t get his paycheck either. We are all watching you, Bob. It’s time you redeem yourself and not be selfish and maybe we’ll give you a chance.

  12. It’s really not a good idea to reflexively take the side of a disgruntled employee against an owner employer without being clearly aware of all the details (which you may never know). Calling everybody a racist is ridiculous and shows a defect in the individual who makes the accusation. I’m willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt.

    • His unhinged behavior on social media is out there for everyone to see. Unfortunately, those in East Dallas see it alot and we have seen it with multiple employees. It’s TRUE, we know nothing about this specific employee and if what she says is true. We do know, that Bob tends to go off on people and especially women very publically on social media ALOT. We know that he seems to be the only restaurant owner in East Dallas that has repeated meltdowns publically with numerous employees. Sometimes where there is smoke…

  13. No, I care about people of.our community. This is the 4th or 5th female employee that has come forward about their experience with Bob. He gets unhinged regularly and publicly. You suggest that the author hasn’t done their research. Anyone in the Lakewood area can has stood witness personally to this behavior. So, no research needed. When you treat people poorly sometimes people stick up for themselves.

  14. This guy needs anger management for sure. I haven’t been to his restaurant because of the health inspection scores were scary. I have seen him lose it a few times publicly on social media….usually women who worked for him. I can’t imagine how he acts behind closed doors if this is how he acts publicly.

  15. Fort Worth should not get behind establishments that are ran by these type of people. Is blatantly clear that Toasted has no intentions of uplifting the Fort Worth community.

    I’ve seen the Facebook encounter between the two. Regardless of whether she was right or wrong, the owner was prejudice and degrading to women. I would not want my children working for him, let alone anyone else.

  16. I saw the Facebook exchange and this article is accurate. My only complaint is that the Lead is buried:
    “Sinnott … was unprofessional, demeaning, mean-spirited, and arrogant.” Unfortunately, this exchange was not a one-off, he’s got a reputation. Fort Worth, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

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