Cooking with Kim: Restaurant reviews and word of mouth – News – Monroe News – Monroe, MichiganJune 28, 2020
“This article is a gentle public service announcement to all the people who love to write unfavorable restaurant reviews,” Kim says in her latest food column.
Now that restaurants are beginning to re-open, this article may be more important than ever. Because businesses have been closed for so long, positive support is vital.
This article is a gentle public service announcement to all the people who love to write unfavorable restaurant reviews on the many online sites such as Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, TripAdvisor or others.
In the old days, when a customer had either an incredible, or less than incredible meal, the owner or the manager was the first to hear about it. Now, with the advent of these sites, a customer with a negative experience may not even wait until they get to their car before they type out a strongly worded one-star review.
Restaurant owners have a love-hate relationship with the social media sites. For better or worse, they are now the norm for attracting and keeping customers. Anthony Bourdain always voiced disdain for sites such as Yelp. He said they were bad for chefs, bad for restaurants and showcase the epitome of entitled losers.
If someone writes a really bad review, you will find it sandwiched among the others, and it is virtually impossible for the owner to make it go away. For the unsure diner, this review could be their deciding factor, and all this happens in the faceless secret cyber world.
Sometimes the deciding factor takes place off-line, but still in a secret world. I recently heard someone talking about eating at a restaurant, and they said that they had the worst meal ever, and not only didn’t eat their entree, but got up from the table, left money for the bill, and exited the establishment without saying a word to anyone. By anyone, I mean anyone at the restaurant, because they mentioned many, many things about their meal to many, many other people afterward.
They said they would never go back and the food was horrible. I was not too surprised to hear this, as having spent years in the restaurant/catering world, it always seems that the same kind of patron who would leave a place without expressing their displeasure to the management, is the same person who feels a need to let the world know how many stars the place does not deserve. All this, and the owner is unaware that his hands are tied.
Studies say that people in general are far more likely to write a bad review than ever take the time to write a complimentary one. It’s the same as when you are driving in your car behind a big truck. Have you ever called the 1-800-How Am I Driving number and said, “That truck driver’s motoring abilities were so amazing, and it was my pleasure to be on the road with such a conscientious and courteous 18-wheeler”? No, most likely not.
Most people also do not call big companies to tell the corporate presidents how great their customer service workers are. Even Yelp itself says that their studies…