Restaurant Reviews – Blah!

I am currently looking at a lot of restaurant review sites - checking out our client's rankings and reviews, and those of their competition.

I have to say it's pretty depressing stuff.  I find it unconscionable that someone can damage the reputation of a business without the owner having right to reply or redress.  It's a sad fact that these often hostile "reviews" are taken as truth by readers who then use them to make dining choices.  In fact research shows that 93% of people check reviews before dining or shopping!

Its not that all the reviews are bad, quite often 90%+ can be good or great but just one hostile review can sour a business' reputation.  What other industry is under so much pressure to perform?  A 10 course degustation for 100 diners = 1,000 PERFECT plates in one sitting. God forbid the waitress doesn't smile - or off to the review site we go to slag the business off!

A review I read today was for a cafe.  Some bright spark had gone home, sat down at a computer and given them an appalling review because the coffee was cold.  Why didn't the ass get of his backside and talk to the staff?   This is a bloody cafe for god sakes it's not a matter of life or death, why not talk to someone in the business if you aren't happy, rather than run home to anonymity where you can feel powerful!

What about this one - a great business in Sydney that is doing amazing things and the reviewer given them this advice - Move to Melbourne.

So what is the owner supposed to do, say, "Oh, ok well since you are the arbiter of the fate of my business I must move everything I have worked on for the past 3 years to another city - because we are crowded here in Sydney?"

Another issue is that the same ratings are being used to judge apples with oranges such as a well financed hatted restaurant with a small mum and dad local restaurant.  That's like comparing a Ferrari with a Ford and expecting the same experience or value for money - and if not getting it giving them a bad review for not living up to your expectations.

I tell you this needs addressing because a lot of restaurateurs have no idea what is being said about them and their businesses on these sites yet they feel the impact of lower sales revenues.  I ask you who has time to watch 10 review sites, hundreds of blogs, all social media outlets and do everything else they have to do?  Not restaurant owners thats for sure!