My organization hit a big milestone, so I wanted to do a little something to celebrate. Because everybody is working remotely (due to this COVID craziness), I thought it would be fun to send lunch to everybody's house at the same time.
I sent out an e-mail looking for suggestions on favorite food places. Only one person responded with a pizza place that they said was the best pizza in town. I'm not a foodie and had never heard of this place, so I went ahead and ordered it.
It turns out that the pizza place suggestion was a joke. It was from a place called Chucky Cheese, which is a children's arcade that is not known for the best pizza. (I'd never heard of this place before).
What I thought would be a nice gesture ended up making a lot of people really mad, with some of them claiming I was mocking them and all of their overtime. I heard that one employee was so mad, he threw the pizza on the ground right in front of the delivery driver. Another said to his manager that "incidents like this make him want to quit".
I recognize that I probably screwed this up by not researching the suggested restaurant, but I also feel like people are overreacting here. Seeing as this is one of my first actions in my position, I want to smooth things over before things get worse. But I also want to make sure people still respect me. Is it best to deal with this situation by issuing a public apology? Or should I reach out in a one-on-one conversation with those who expressed being particularly upset?
Oh and by the way, 2 people did contact me with a heartfelt "thanks" and very seriously said this was the best pizza they ever had. Maybe the place was a joke by the person suggesting it, but a few people clearly did like it.