Yet another complaint about Yelp

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bartl
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2014/03/03 01:42:05 (permalink)

Yet another complaint about Yelp

There's a trend in my area, which I find REALLY annoying.
 
Unless it's run by someone I know, I NEVER go to a restaurant the first month or two it opens. I want to give it a chance to iron out the kinks before I spend my money there. If you go to a restaurant as soon as it opens, it is a mistake to expect perfection.
 
However, every time a new restaurant opens in my area, it seems a dozen or two people write reviews in Yelp, largely criticizing it for the kind of things that are almost expected in a new restaurant (like a table not being ready at the exact time reserved at the height of the dinner hour). I wish that Yelp would discourage this somehow, but they don't. These reviews stay with the restaurant as long as it's open. and are VERY hard to overcome with good reviews once the restaurant gets its act together.
 
Yelp DOES allow owners to comment, but only to a limited number of posts. When I see very mixed reviews of a restaurant, I use the time sort, and often discover that most of the bad reviews were written within the first month or two the restaurant was open.
 
And I HAVE told this to Yelp, suggesting that they may put some sort of guideline about reviewing a restaurant too early.
 
I'd like to hear what the restaurant owners here think.
 
Bart
#1

11 Replies Related Threads

    Glenn1234
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/03 03:00:53 (permalink)
     
    Good advice.   Janet and I also wait at least a few weeks before trying a newly opened restaurant.   Amazingly, the food critics have to jump right in in the first few days it opens, and are "shocked" when all doesn't go perfectly smooth.       
     
     
    Glenn
     
      
    #2
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/03 07:46:47 (permalink)
    Glenn1234

     
    Good advice.   Janet and I also wait at least a few weeks before trying a newly opened restaurant.   Amazingly, the food critics have to jump right in in the first few days it opens, and are "shocked" when all doesn't go perfectly smooth.       


    Glenn

     


    I agree completely. 
     
    But at least restaurant openings get them dressed and out of their mother's basement!
    #3
    bartl
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/03 10:58:14 (permalink)
    Just want to give a couple of examples. One local restaurant in Northern New Jersey just opened on February 16th. In a town of less than 8,000 people. There have been some severe snowstorms in the area, making everything difficult. And the restaurant has already gotten 27 Yelp reviews, many giving low reviews because of things which were related to the fact that it is a new restaurant and the snowstorm.
     
    Another one, part of a Florida mini-chain just opening their first restaurant in New Jersey, already has 17 reviews, same story.
     
    Last year, the owners of several local franchise restaurants tried to open a prototype for their own franchise in the major shopping town of Paramus, New Jersey. Within the first month, there were over 100 reviews of the place. Many gave one star apparently solely because the place's liquor license had been delayed. I ate there after a couple of months; they had retooled the menu, and the place was, while by no means excellent, decent and a good value. As a franchise, I would have given it 4 stars; as it was not officially one, I gave it 3. It could not live down the initial bad reviews, and has since closed. I suspect that, with this one, a LOT of competitors planted bad reviews; one reviewer even had the audacity, after the restaurant closed, to edit his review to say, "Mission Accomplished."
     
    Bart
    #4
    Midnights
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/04 11:45:38 (permalink)
    This reminds me of an episode of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. He had a soft opening for the restaurant where he invited the local food bloggers. One sent back his steak because it wasn't well done. Ramsey flipped out because it was done perfectly for well done. What struck me, even though Ramsey didn't mention it, is that nobody who knows anything about good steak would ever order it well done. Food bloggers are indicative of our current attitude that everyone's opinion matters. We have somehow gotten into a system wherein someone with absolutely no training or knowledge whatsoever has an opinion which is put on par with an expert in the field. In food, part of the fault of this lies with newspapers which let the restaurant review section (once a staple of the local newspaper) turn to either bitter bash fests written by failed restauranteurs or circle jerks written by someone who was covering the local high school sports last week.
    #5
    rumaki
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/04 12:14:34 (permalink)
    I  just want to put in a word for the customer.  I am cribbing from comments I've seen on the Washington Post restaurant critic's weekly chat. 
     
    As a customer, I tend to wait a few weeks for restaurants to get the kinks out. 
     
    But consider this:  the restaurant is, presumably, charging full price from the day it opens to the public.  It doesn't have a "first three weeks diners' discount." 
     
    If they are going to charge full price, they should be up to speed.   Even established restaurants have bad days now and then, but truly -- if you are open for business, you are fair game for criticism.
     
     
    #6
    EdSails
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/04 12:15:41 (permalink)
    Midnights
     Food bloggers are indicative of our current attitude that everyone's opinion matters. We have somehow gotten into a system wherein someone with absolutely no training or knowledge whatsoever has an opinion which is put on par with an expert in the field. 

     
    You do have a good point, midnights. First of all, a real reviewer would never go to a restaurant in the first few weeks they are open. If they do, they would use it only as a survey day, returning several weeks later to write about it. The major point that you alluded to is correct. The majority of Yelp reviewers are just doing it to A), make themselves feel important, B)show that they have an opinion on some thing, and C)show their friends that they're "with it". Witness the amount of Yelp reviews that don't even talk about the food, or parrot others. 
     
    I went to a place (I won't name it) out here that has become a mini chain featuring waffle sandwiches. since the day they opened they have gotten rave reviews. The first time I went, they were awful. ditto the second time. The third time I waited until the help came by, where I pointed out to him, the daily special, pulled pork on the waffle, had created a puddle of fat (definitely not juice or sauce) on the paper in the basket. I also pointed out that the waffle was so soaked by the time it was delivery that it was inedible. The comment? He said OK, took it away, and I never heard from any one. And that is a place that gets a lot of 5 star reviews. Also, it has created an atmosphere where friends can give reviews online as well as even "contests" for best Yelp review. Indeed, it does more harm than good IMHO. 
     
    Too, it ruins the credibility of those who write legitimate reviews. Another case of, "well anyone can write a review". Writing a Yelp review is not the same as a reviewer or even some of the better bloggers. There is research, experience, taste and a track record. "I think it sucked" is not a way to write a review. 
    #7
    Lanceman
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/04 21:11:15 (permalink)
    Put a sign by the register:

    Free drink if you show the cashier an honest and positive Yelp review you just posted about your meal!

    It would be fun just to see all the negative nancies flipping out about the tactic, reverse trolling :)
    #8
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/04 21:44:20 (permalink)
    Lanceman

    Put a sign by the register:

    Free drink if you show the cashier an honest and positive Yelp review you just posted about your meal!

    It would be fun just to see all the negative nancies flipping out about the tactic, reverse trolling :)

    In other words, we'll pay you for posting a favorable review. Yep. That's real honesty.
    #9
    bartl
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/05 11:11:28 (permalink)
    Lanceman
    Free drink if you show the cashier an honest and positive Yelp review you just posted about your meal!

    First of all, welcome to the site!
     
    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), Yelp specifically prohibits paying for good reviews. However, having discussed it with a Yelp rep, it IS OK to encourage customers to write reviews, as long as the ones who write bad reviews receive the same treatment as the ones who write good ones ("free drink if you show the cashier a Yelp review you just wrote"). Although it is true that very few people would show a bad review and ask for a free drink. Also fine with Yelp rules is a sign that says, "If you enjoyed your meal, tell Yelp. If you didn't, tell US!"
     
    A problem I have in writing Yelp reviews is whether to rate a place on an absolute or relative basis. A hot dog stand may be the best hot dog stand I've ever been to, but it's still a hot dog stand. I tend to review on a relative basis, and would give it 5 stars. My own point of view:
    1 star: Stay away!
    2 stars: I'll go there if I have no other option.
    3 stars: I will go there, but if it disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it.
    4 stars: Really good, but there is room for improvement.
    5 stars: One of my favorites.
    #10
    Glenn1234
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/05 11:28:58 (permalink)
     
     
    <<...."A problem I have in writing Yelp reviews is whether to rate a place on an absolute or relative basis. A hot dog stand may be the best hot dog stand I've ever been to, but it's still a hot dog stand. I tend to review on a relative basis, and would give it 5 stars.".....>>
     
     
     
    I tend to agree that places should be rated on a relative basis.   But, with my tastes tending toward the simple, roadfood-ish type places anyway, the simple places like hot dog stands and BBQ joints would rate highly, even on an absolute basis.    Give me a good hot dog or good BBQ any day over so-called "fine dining".  
     
     
    Glenn
     
     
     
    post edited by Glenn1234 - 2014/03/05 11:30:01
    #11
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Yet another complaint about Yelp 2014/03/05 15:09:50 (permalink)
    rumaki

    I  just want to put in a word for the customer.  I am cribbing from comments I've seen on the Washington Post restaurant critic's weekly chat. 

    As a customer, I tend to wait a few weeks for restaurants to get the kinks out. 

    But consider this:  the restaurant is, presumably, charging full price from the day it opens to the public.  It doesn't have a "first three weeks diners' discount." 

    If they are going to charge full price, they should be up to speed.   Even established restaurants have bad days now and then, but truly -- if you are open for business, you are fair game for criticism.



    Seems to me, you have hit on a key marketing Point!.and if I thought a bit longer, I'd come up with a name and copyright it!
     
    New places....when you open, You have the Grand Opening night!.why not a Grand Opening month..a free glass of wine, a freee dessert, a 10% discount..etc etc........and be upfront about it!  You're working the kinks out and appreciate the folks helping you through it!
    #12
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