Thanks to the internet, word of mouth is a lot different than it used to be. For restaurants that's both a good thing and a bad thing. No restaurant is ever going to have 100% guest satisfaction, but review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor give a big megaphone to anyone who wants to talk about their bad experiences.
While you can't control what someone else says about you, you can control what you say back. Some of these restaurants' responses are amazing, one is cringe-worthy and another...well...I'll let you read that for yourself.
When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and when someone gives you a 1-star rating you make a super clever placard!
That's what these businesses did, and if I ever walked by a sign like this I would definitely step inside.
This bar was very open about the negative feedback it had been getting, and over 3 million people on Imgur agree - it's hilarious!
It helps that a lot of these reviews are absolutely ridiculous. I don't think I've seen a bartender without a beard in about 2 years, but owning right up to the criticisms helps us laugh along with the bar. It also includes a humble brag. If 7% don't like the bar, that means 93% do and those are some pretty good odds.
Joe Dough, a New York City sandwich shop had a review complaining about their meatball sandwich. I've never met a meatball sandwich I didn't like, so I already view this critic with some skepticism. A reviewer took to Yelp to say that the sandwich was the "worst meatball sandwich I have had in the tri-state area" in 32 years.
That's a lot of sandwiches. Joe Dough didn't bat an eye and turned his critic's comments and turned it into an advertising masterpiece. It's working so well he's getting free press here!
If you've ever seen Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares you know that restaurant owners get cranky when you tell them what to do.
Take Francesco of Park Italian Gourmet for instance. He responded to a review online complaining about "inauthentic ingredients" and, too be honest, the reviewer shouldn't call a guy named Francesco's heritage into question. Here was the response:
Not only was he very condescending to the diner, but the very end makes you cringe. He actually says he's glad the person didn't have a good experience.
If you think that's bad, you won't believe the bizarre story that got one restaurant owner JAILED!
Meet Marisol Simoes, she was the owner of a couple of bars in Ottawa's downtown district. I say was because after a bad review was posted online, Simoes went crazy. Emailing the diner's bosses, setting up fake dating profiles and cyberbullying the woman until Simoes was finally arrested.
Here's the story:
Way back in 2009, Elayna Katz went to a swanky bar/restaurant called Mambo. Known for good food and an upbeat atmosphere Katz should have had a good time. The problem started when Katz received a meal that contained olives, she doesn't like olives.
Like many of us do when a restaurant gets our order wrong, she returned the meal and asked for one with no olives.The restaurant asked Katz to pay for both meals, which is highly unusual. After attempting to reach the restaurant manager Katz went online and posted about her experience.
Simoes was livid.
She searched Katz's name and found out her place of work, she then set up a fake email account using the woman's name. She emailed the woman's bosses saying she was searching for sexual adventure, proclaimed to be a transgendered person and wanted to sleep with both of them.
Katz was humiliated, however her work knew the emails weren't coming from her. Still the online harrassment continued. Simoes set up fake dating profiles, using Katz's contact information. The profiles were explicit, and posted on some of the darker areas of the internet. Katz was forced to change numbers, addresses and other information.
Simoes also posted online, defaming Katz and trying to defend her restaurants. In 2012 Simoes was found guilty of defamation and sentenced to 90 days in jail plus 200 hours of community service.
How to even begin explaining that reaction? I can't. In the meantime don't be afraid to speak up about your experiences. Restaurant reviews help the good ones and can help save others from a bad time. You probably won't become the target of an online smear campaign. Probably.