Those of you that know me, know that social media is a big part of my life. I enjoy engaging with people and hearing feedback on my restaurant, positive and negative. I am in an industry where it is absolutely impossible to make everyone happy. Or even close to everyone, but, I definitely want to try, and like to hear the negative press, to make me better.
I have thought about this for a long time. My take on the type of site that allows users to go in post a review of a restaurant or business. The two most popular are Urban Spoon and Yelp. There are others, but these are the most common. While I do think these types of sites are good to a degree, I think that some things should be taken with a grain of salt. Very rarely do I see mentions of people who have problems with a restaurant, show that they discussed it with a manager to try and have the problem resolved. Please understand the point of having a restaurant is to have people in, enjoy themselves, and return with friends and family. We do not wish for anyone to not enjoy their visit. So please, SPEAK UP, when in the restaurant. There is a number of things that can be done while you are there for us to be able to correct the problem and make you happy. It drives me crazy to hear about how someone didn’t like anything at a particular place, yet, they did nothing to bring it to anyones attention except go home and blog about it.
Speculation-I see a lot of people who offer their own insight or speculation as to what the issues are at a place. For example, one post on Urban Spoon about Iguana says “My only complaint is the slow/sad service, I’m guessing it’s a management issue after talking with a former employee.” What do you mean after talking with a former employee? Are you conducting interviews? Or because one person said something, then that becomes fact? Has anyone ever left a job they didn’t like? Or didn’t like their boss? I mean, wouldn’t you still work there if you loved it? Our staff retention is among the highest in the city. Kitchen staff has had zero turnover since July 2009, I mean zero, not one person hired or fired, can you find a restaurant that can tell you that? As far as Waitstaff, of the 25 I employee, 17 have been there 6 months or longer, and 8 have been there since opening almost two years ago. Not too shabby for a business known for its high turnover. I don’t want to sound high and mighty, but, I do have a lot of pride in the way that our staff is treated. Paid vacation, lots of incentives, I mean I took all of them out for the Superbowl! Who does that? In summary, how can you speculate something with no actual fact to back it up.
Any way back to the original rant, I do want to have honest feedback about the restaurant, but don’t want people to just go and write “Gross” “inedible”, “horrible”, why did you not allow someone to try and fix it? My guess is some people just want to have something to gripe about. I just want to be able to connect with these people while they are dining and correct the problem. I have had great successes in “winning” over clients this way. That’s all I’m asking is please give us a chance to correct our wrongs before going and writing publicly about it.
My other problem is validity. This gives people an open forum, to vent and rant about anything without any proof that they have actually been there. It could be a competitor, or someone who just has nothing better to do and write a review to see others fail of get bad press. Maybe they are jealous of a particular persons success? I don’t know. Tell me your thoughts.