Restaurant Owner Posts Completely Reasonable Response To Negative Online Feedback

Many PoPville readers were not impressed with the restaurant.

Many PoPville readers were not impressed with the restaurant.

No, that isn’t a sarcastic headline. After being lambasted by readers’ comments on his recently opened eatery, a Washington, D.C., restaurateur did what some of his foodie kin could not — issued a restrained, thoughtful and apologetic response.

Earlier this week, the D.C. blog PoPville.com simply asked readers what they thought of a restaurant that opened in the city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood in October. Some of the feedback was less than kind, much of it focusing on poor service:

“Mediocre to poor food and some of the worst service I’ve seen anywhere.”
“Over-priced. Bland food. Slow service.”
“I’ve been twice. The first time the service was abysmal. Second time service was terrific.”

So this morning, PoPville posted an open letter from the owner.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on PoPville the other day,” he begins. “Your comments, though painful to read, were heartfelt and thoughtful – my entire Management Team and I are truly grateful. I got the sense that for many of you, your words were just as painful to write as they were for us to read! It’s that sincere desire you have for us to succeed that drives us and motivates us to work (24/7) to address ALL your concerns.”

The owner, who also runs a number of other restaurants around D.C., writes that this is all part of the same learning process he’s gone through at his other places.

He also admits that, “Many of the concerns and comments you expressed became evident to us soon after we opened,” and says that he’s recently tweaked the menu and has just finished four weeks of intense training for his staff.

“Over the next two weeks, and the first week of January, we are making some much needed changes to our layout, service, consistency, signage, kids menu, pricing and a host of other things that you helped identify – and we would welcome more feedback,” he writes. “We know that during these first two months we have not lived up to the expectations and standards you have come to expect from us, and for that we are deeply sorry. And you didn’t have to express it in words, we saw the expressions on your faces.”

This is a far cry from the Boston chef who made national headlines by calling a customer “fat” and saying she must enjoy eating vomit after she posted some negative feedback about his restaurant, or Travel Channel Andrew Zimmern’s recent comments that review sites like Yelp are forums “for a bunch of uninformed morons to take down restaurants.”