Restaurant owners and chefs began to complain that the increasing power of online reviews, which are often exaggerated, affect their business. Andrew Zimmern, known from the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods,” went on an epic rant saying that the review site Yelp allows ‘a bunch of uninformed morons to take down restaurants.’
“Here’s something that really pisses me off: Yelp. I was against Yelp for a long time. The problem for me is that crowd sourcing is very beneficial except when it comes to things like restaurant criticism and restaurant reviews and restaurant recommenders.”
Although there are some users who don’t trust the reviews, their number is surpassed by those who do. So when a restaurant gets a bad review the best thing to do is to offer to make amends, but some owners found some really creative ways to deal with this issue.
Gastro pub Craft & Commerce plays audio readings of bad reviews in their bathrooms. The voice-overs are made by the restaurant’s waiters and Co-owner Arasalun Tafazoli’s friends. So if you go to dine at the Gastro pub Craft & Commerce and you’ll have to use the bathroom, you’ll hear something like “It’s a good place. Nice atmosphere. But the chairs ain’t comfy.”
Boners BBQ received a bad review from Stephanie Stuck who referred to the food as being ‘tepid, bland, odd, limp and greasy.’ So Boners BBQ owner, Andrew Capron, posted a response on Facebook and Twitter, accusing Stuck of stiffing the waitress. He later apologized and admitted this was not true, but that lately a lot of people had not been leaving tips.
“NOT WANTED!,” Capron wrote. “(Stephanie S.) left waitress 0.00 tip on a $40 tab after she received a Scoutmob discount. If you see this woman in your restaurant tell her to go outside and play hide and go f— yourself! Yelp that b—-…”
But maybe the most egregious case came from the Mambo Nuevo Latino Restaurant, in Ottawa, Canada. Elayna Katz complained on Yelp that she received a pasta dish with diced olives, after she asked for none in her dish. What did Marisol Simoes, owner of Mambo Nuevo Latino do? She set a racy dating profile in Katz’s name, suggesting that she is a transsexual who enjoyed group sex and described her as a “tiger in the bedroom.” In September Simoes was found guilty of criminal libel.
The conclusion? Keep calm, don’t lose your temper and deal with the issue in a diplomatic way, apologizing even if you think the negative review is not true. This always works and you won’t risk getting sued.