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How "NOT" to respond to a negative review!


food4thought
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Actually, I was trying to figure out a way to respond to the restaurant owner and was at a lost for words, we receive tons of reviews over the last 10 years but this was the first review to leave me speechless (and that's saying a lot) I needed to put it in front of some experts or foodies to get some honest feedback .....

That's not the impression I got from your original posting and noting the title you chose. I tried to follow the rest of your story as it unfolded, but it's still not that clear to me.

I agree with Food Tutor, it seems very odd to post this person's writings here-- after declining to post them to your own site, or for any reason, really. The restaurant owner didn't handle the situation very well, as it appears, but it looks to me like she got a crummy review from someone who was ill suited to review her restaurant, and then the double whammy of having her remarks (however ill-framed) posted here without her permission. I am sure that is not normal netiquette.

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But, then again, my frame of reference isn't the $5.95 all-you-can-eat buffet at Cici's.

$5.95?

Wow, it's really gone up.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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But, then again, my frame of reference isn't the $5.95 all-you-can-eat buffet at Cici's.

$5.95?

Wow, it's really gone up.

Yeah, wow. You know, at $3.99, it was a large amount of disgusting, almost inedible food for a small amount of money.

At $5.95, I may have to think twice.

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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So Food4Thought/Mr Roberts, I can't help but wonder what your goal or intent was in starting this thread.

The Cafe owner doesn't give you permission in her response to post her words on other internet sites or to use it in any other way or form than a response to a posting on your own site

I agree with TheFoodTutor, there's more to this than meets the eye....

Actually, I was trying to figure out a way to respond to the restaurant owner and was at a lost for words, we receive tons of reviews over the last 10 years but this was the first review to leave me speechless (and that's saying a lot) I needed to put it in front of some experts or foodies to get some honest feedback .....There really is nothing sinister in this post I just needed some insite, but to get the insite I felt I needed to tell the whole story...... For the record whenever someone submits a review and rates their business with smiley faces their submission gives we8there.com full ownership of the review therefore giving we8there.com implied permission to republish the content as we feel the need. I don't know either one of the individuals and we have not and will not post the owners review because it violates our posting policy but I feel the need to respond....... Thank you for asking I hope I answered your question(s)

I was going to ask about this since I followed the links, browsed the website and found no evidence of the owner's response. I came to the conclusion that it was odd to see this posting on eGullet since it eludes to a flame war on a food site. Everyone here responded to it as if it were, but instead this appears to be 2 owner responses to a review where the review itself is lacking any real moderation but the owner's responses are. But the owner's responses have not been made public. To wit, let her rave her indignation. She might already know after her first response that there is a editorial process prohibiting publication.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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I don't understand. You won't allow the restauranteur to post a reply on your site, so you post her letters here, without her permission? Have you ever heard of ethics?

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Here's how I'd respond to the owner:

I'm sure it is disappointing to read a negative review from a customer in a public forum. The internet has changed the dynamic of the restaurant review, as ordinary people as well as paid reviewers are able to publish their opinions to the world. However, the most effective way to deal with negative reviews is to learn from them or ignore them. If there are any factual errors, it's fair to challenge them, as we don't condone slander. But blowing off steam in a similarly public way because you don't like the visibility of a customer's opinions can only hurt the image of your establishment.

Some customers value portion size more than quality of ingredients or care of preparation, just as some customers care about presentation or novelty more than price. And yes, a large person, or a person who dances 12 hours a day, may not consider a 2 cup portion to be adequate, whereas an average person or someone in the mood to taste lots of different things might consider a 2 cup portion excessive. Not everyone has the same tastes, even if they are vegetarian or raw foodist.

Stay positive, and focus on getting your restaurant's message out to the customers most likely to appreciate it.

(As an aside, I was quite impressed by a restaurant-industry-focused book called Guest-Based Marketing, which is probably even more relevant in the internet age than when it was first published. It can't hurt for any restaurant owner to borrow that book from their library... it also demonstrates that a restaurant of almost any style can succeed if their staff and and food both work toward a coherent message.)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I also agree it's not so great to publish someone's email without permission, unless you explicitly state that you're allowed to do that in your site's feedback policy.

But Yelp and Urbanspoon both solve this kind of thing by allowing business owners to post some small kind of messaging on their restaurant profile (maybe just a menu or something) and allowing business owners to respond to reviews via some kind of private email to the author, public compliments, or just participating in the feedback system ("useful" or "likes this review"). Yelp will shortly allow owners to directly respond to specific reviews in a public manner, which savvy business owners will use to correct small factual errors but address specific concerns by apologizing or whatever.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I also agree it's not so great to publish someone's email without permission, unless you explicitly state that you're allowed to do that in your site's feedback policy.

But Yelp and Urbanspoon both solve this kind of thing by allowing business owners to post some small kind of messaging on their restaurant profile (maybe just a menu or something) and allowing business owners to respond to reviews via some kind of private email to the author, public compliments, or just participating in the feedback system ("useful" or "likes this review"). Yelp will shortly allow owners to directly respond to specific reviews in a public manner, which savvy business owners will use to correct small factual errors but address specific concerns by apologizing or whatever.

What's unusual about this situation, to me, is that the owner has posted someone's email to a third site. As far as I can tell, that person had no idea he would do that. (Admittedly, I find the whole story kind of hard to follow.)

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I've never heard of that review site, and if this is how they operate, I don't feel inclined to go to their site. This seems to be a private matter that he's made public without the author's permission.

He actually violates his own site's privacy policy:

"We8there.com™ respects your privacy! Any and all information collected at this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, reused, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed. Any information you give to we8there.com™ communications will be held in strictest confidence, and it will not be used in ways that you have not consented to. A more detailed explanation about how we safeguard your personal information is described below."

Slimy. I don't know why he's posted this on EG, but he's doing himself more damage than good.

Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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While I agree posting the restaurant's letter was a questionable/shoddy decision made primarily to build traffic for yet another ho-hum restaurant ratings web site, based on the owner's post here, he may have the right to reprint the restaurant's post.

For the record whenever someone submits a review and rates their business with smiley faces their submission gives we8there.com full ownership of the review therefore giving we8there.com implied permission to republish the content as we feel the need.

In many cases where users post to a website, the website acquires at least shared ownership of the content and gains the right to use it to promote or otherwise benefit their website.

How a website uses a user's contribution hopefully influences whether the user or other potential site users continue to post to a website.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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I won't get into the ethics of posting the letters, but I do want to address the restaurant owner. She'd better get used to this kind of thing. I can understand indignatoin if this was a "professional" review written by a paid employee of a publication, but it was not. These user-based reviews are everywhere these days, and culinary qualifications are not necessary for the reviewers to post.

These negative reviews used to drive me nuts, but here's how I handle it these days. If it is a review where you have to rate the restaurant in order to post, I just let it go, and take it for what it's worth. Keeps my blood pressure down and allows me to go about the business of running my restaurant. Also, I don't think it's right to rate my own restaurant.

In other forums, I usually respond if I need to clear something up, like a factual error, if the situation was misstated, or if I need to apologize for something. Lately, I don't even do this- who has the time? Especially since there seems to be a new restaurant review site every week! Honestly though, I have actually had some useful feedback from some of the more critical reviews.

I don't really think that the site owner owes the restaurant owner anything other than a reiteration of why her response was not posted, and a sympathetic reminder that these reviews come with the territory these days, like it or not. Besides, who cares if this was only one negative opinion in the midst of numerous positive ones?

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Besides, who cares if this was only one negative opinion in the midst of numerous positive ones?

Because it's actually the only review of her restaurant on that site, which is to be expected, since it's a raw vegan restaurant, so the place doesn't have a whole lot of customers to begin with, much less customers who are registered to post there.

To her credit, notice that Denise did not respond by registering under an assumed name so that she could pose as a customer and shill for the restaurant, while denouncing Ms. Gleason's review and/or possibly insulting her for her poor taste. She was honest about the fact that she owns the restaurant, which is why we're seeing her comments here, instead of on the website where she sent them.

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