Being unable to get a seat at a busy restaurant where you don’t have a reservation is probably not a justifiable reason to give the place a one-star writeup on Yelp. But if you are going to put that negative stamp on a restaurant, at least tell the truth.
A man in California recently posted a one-star takedown of a Chinese food eatery in Millbrae, CA, saying that he’d been refused seating — possibly because he was wearing a baseball cap and untucked shirt — that a server had treated him rudely and that he finally left after waiting a minute.
Again, that doesn’t seem like much of a reason to give a restaurant the lowest possible rating, but this is why you have to actually read Yelp reviews rather than just look at the star ratings.
But, as Ratter.com reports, this particular complaint caught the attention of the restaurant owner’s son, who scrubbed through security camera footage to see if he could identify the incident described in the review.
He first posted a 45-minute clip of waiting area footage on the restaurant’s website, writing to Yelper Dan, “If at any time you see yourself walk in and talk to the server, let me know, and I will gladly post a large banner that says ‘I’m sorry Dan for calling you a liar’. Otherwise, you must be hearing voices, because I sure don’t see you talking to anyone in the restaurant.”
The son then posted shorter clips, including one from another angle, showing just the few seconds that Dan was actually in the restaurant. You can see in these videos that the man enters, looks around, talks to no one — not even the others waiting for a table — and then exits without writing his name on the waiting list.
“You spent a total of 22 seconds in the establishment,” writes the owner’s son. “This video also clearly shows that there were other patrons waiting. We are sincerely sorry that we forgot to recognise your very, very ‘VIP’ status… a status so special that you don’t have to sign the waiting list like everyone else… I’ve never been to a restaurant where to refuse to seat people because they’re wearing what you were wearing… You’re dreaming if you think that’s why you didn’t get service.”
Dan later updated his Yelp review to simultaneously and paradoxically claim that (A) the video is not of him, and (B) that he didn’t give permission for his image to be used. He also accused the eatery of bullying him for not giving a positive review.
But the owner of the restaurant tells Ratter that he has no hard feelings about the incident, saying that “If (Dan) comes here I will shake his hand and I will take care of his meal. What can I do to make this person happy? That is my philosophy.”