Rich from the Leeds based website www.them-apples.co.uk/ got me thinking on the subject of posting a bad review of a restaurant. And wether a blogger is entitled to mess with (potentially if said blogger has enough of a following) the livelihood of a restaurant.
Personally, I think its fine to give a restaurant a bad review on a blog. Sometimes there are bloggers who JUST give bad reviews but then again, one look at their blog and one would probably understand that and probably not pay them much attention. In the same way you probably wouldn’t be friends with someone who complained all the time!
Or, you are a reasonable person with reasonable dissatisfactions on an eating experience you paid for. In that case, sure! Air your grievances, in a reasonable way because you go to a restaurant expecting to be served food you will like, receive good service and ultimately be shown a good time.
Lets say you are wrong, well then it won’t really have such a huge impact.
On the other hand if you are right but keep your opinions to yourself, then chances are the restaurant will keep making the same errors on the plate or in service or whatever and eventually shut down. Restaurants are in a very tough position, they really have to be perform and be judged every day! I think a good restaurant would appreciate feedback.
Ultimately that is why people like Fay Maschler and Jay Rayner are paid by newspapers to go eat-drink-and be merry. And why we read them because through reading their columns (or books) we have formulated a makeshift equation of what they like compared to what we like and we trust their taste enough to go or not go. Of course it is unlikely that what Jay gets when he sits his royal restaurant critics tushie down is the same as what you or I might be served…
And of course, by the time you or I decide to go to the restaurant Fay decided was the best thing since sliced bread, well, we might only be able to secure a table at say 17:30 p.m. (for dinner) to be vacated in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Considering that, it is actually quite lucky if one stumbles across a blog that has reviews good and bad that can be trusted!
On the other hand I have to say, that having worked in the food industry in the UK, it is appalling the level of bad behavior one had to accept! For example, I used to work in a posh deli in Primrose Hill London and whenever a gaggle of well to do with nothing to do ladies would come in my heart would sink. I knew I would have to spend the rest of the day pandering to absurd requests “Can I have a half caff, dry, soya milk, cappuccino with a twist of lime? (remember the film LA Stories with Steve Martin?) The answer I wanted to give “Eh, no goodbye!”. The answer I was obliged to give? “Sure!” That is penuts to what I have witnessed! Things would lead to said punter being thrown out on to the street on his/her ear with the ejector receiving a standing ovation from the now horizontal complaining punters fellow diners!
Wouldn’t it be swell if there was a forum where we could hear their take? If there was a website where a tired waiter, or frazzled chef, or barman with alcohol soaked socks – could log in at the end of a long shift and share with the world the ridiculous requests of the woman who asked for a special desert with no “sugar, nuts, eggs or flour.” oh and she doesn’t really like fruit (I served this woman once, I know she exists!).
If someone does start this website, let me know so I can subscribe at once!