Planning a night out can be so easy these days. Even when it is your first time in a foreign country you can decide where to eat, where to drink and how to get there without leaving your bed. After a quick skim of online reviews from sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor or even Facebook you will have the inside scoop of whats hot and what is not. But can you put your faith in people you have never met before for your big night out?
As you may know if you follow the Bitespace Twitter page, I spent last week in Copenhagen. A wonderful city that I had never been to before but heard a lot about. Now it can be quite nervy when you go somewhere completely new because you want your holiday to go well. You don’t want to feel like you wasted however much money you spent on your week away and want to visit places that give you a great experience. This is normally quite hard and can be a challenge having limited knowledge on your new surroundings.
This is where google comes in, a search engine that gives you the 411 on your city of choice. My week in the capital of Denmark was all planned through Trip advisor, Google reviews and Google maps and I can honestly say I had an amazing time. I saw every landmark, ate in amazing restaurants and stayed in a great hotel, though when looking through reviews I could not help but think some of these reviews were a bit excessive and sometimes harsh.
Online reviews that take no prisoners
“The reason I will not give this place the 4-star they likely would have received is because I left hungry due to the fact that I ordered a start and two main dishes” – jodugb, full review on Trip Advisor
When looking at online reviews for a Vietnamese restaurant, I came across one that seemed very sour on trip advisor. The review site user above from Copenhagen gave the restaurant two stars instead of four because they left hungry. Now language barrier or not surely you can’t blame an establishment for leaving hungry, especially when you feel that “The food was well made and matched the price point”. To me this seems unreasonable to drop two stars and I wouldn’t hold this against the restaurant and decide not to go.
Though do other people feel the same way as me? Would they even read the whole review? Others might just see the two stars and then decide that they’re not going to eat there. It is these sort of ill tempered reviews partnered with peoples quick judgement that can seriously effect business for a restaurant. This is unfortunate, especially if the place is trying its best to satisfy customers but can’t seem to match their excessive expectations. This was the case for an unnamed restaurant in a online article by Greg Evans for The Independent.
This is a rare opportunity to see both sides of the story, most restaurants would never reply to negative online reviews with anything other then an apology. Though obviously this restaurant felt the customer went too far. If what they responded with is all true, then it is completely understandable why they replied how they did. Yet they still managed to stay professional in their message despite the impact the undeserving one star could have had on their business.
Two wrongs don’t make a right
From this guide on customer service a business would need 12 positive reviews to make up for one negative review. On top of that information, an unsatisfactory customer service review will be heard by double the amount of people that hear of a positive customer service review. Taking this into consideration it makes you understand how reviews like the ones above can infuriate chefs and/or restaurant owners. So it is only normal when some of them may not be able to let it slide.
Many chefs believe sites like Trip Advisor do great work for restaurants. “I am a believer that these sites offer a communal platform to share experiences on, that enable us all to eat, sleep and drink better, and that can’t be a bad thing” Kiren Puri, Chef. They have such a power and voice to really make a difference. Especially for smaller independent restaurants that have trouble competing against more established places or restaurant chains. Though as mentioned in ‘Instagram food. A meal is for living, not just for Instagram.’ with great power comes great responsibility.
The people that take for granted this service, bend the truth for whatever personal motif they have, don’t understand the effects this can have on people who are just trying to make a honest living. By all means if you did not receive the appropriate service that you paid for then express that but only with good reasoning and fair judgement. Which now seems to be a task for anyone looking for a place to eat, judging the honest and fair online reviews from the false and prejudiced.