Consumerist reader Rachel pointed us to the Yelp page for a restaurant in Massachusetts. The reviews currently range anywhere from one to five stars, with an average of three stars. That’s all very unremarkable and probably not out of the ordinary.
But what caught Rachel’s eye wasn’t just this particular one-star review of the eatery; it was a reply, posted yesterday, by someone claiming to work for the restaurant.
“I don’t care if the food was not edible,” reads the response. “I wouldn’t trash a restaurant in my home town. When you put us out of bussiness it’s a little less taxes for the town.”
[UPDATE: Within hours of posting this story, the restaurant's responses on this review and others are no longer showing up.]
The review never actually said the food was not edible. It took issue with just about every part of the dining experience, but the reviewer was apparently able to eat the food. So it’s bad form for the restaurant to make the review seem even more harsh than it actually is.
We’re a little confused about the restaurant’s notion that consumers shouldn’t post negative reviews about businesses in their home town. While, yes, negative press could hurt a business to the point where it shuts down, it’s still the restaurant’s responsibility to provide a quality product and service.
You don’t keep going to the local barber if they keep screwing up your hair. Furthermore, you’ll probably tell your friends about your bad experience. Keeping the customer satisfied is part of doing business.
And from the reviews on Yelp, it looks like there are some people who are quite happy with this restaurant. These are the write-ups that are keeping the star rating where it is.
By picking fights with negative reviewers — this same restaurant rep has responded defensively to at least one other Yelper — it is only drawing attention to the criticism and, in the eyes of some, validating that original reviewer’s critique.