Did you know that 67 percent of all Yelp reviews are 4- or 5-star reviews?
That’s right: Yelpers are, in general, kind. Compassionate. Not overly critical. Supportive of great local businesses.
But in an age when customers can quickly become online critics, there will be times when a business has to deal with Yelpers – or reviewers on TripAdvisor, Google+, Facebook, whatever – who are impossible to please and too quick to rant. Even worse are critics who make up false stories in ways that could potentially tarnish a business’ reputation.
Take this story about one Yelper’s recent visit to wonderful, a local Chinese restaurant in Millbrae, California. According to Dan W, wonderful refused to give him a table for one on a busy Wednesday night; according to him it was because he was wearing jeans and a baseball cap. So he took to Yelp to air out his complaints. Here’s what went down, according to Dan:
I was flying solo that night, after a particularly challenging day. The waiter came up and asked how many. I said one, I had planned to sit at the bar or get the food to go. She said “one? no, one?” and then ran off. I waited a minute at the door, and then left. They were busy and potentially understaffed. It’s not that classy of a place, but they refused to seat me. Sure, I was wearing jeans and a baseball cap with my flannel shift not tucked in. I had no intentions of taking a full table, just any corner I could fit in, or order off the menu to go once the guy next to me was done with it.
Unfortunately for Dan, the restaurant’s Dropcam footage reveals that he was actually in wonderful for less than one minute – and that he had zero interactions with wonderful’s staff. Nobody talked to him. The video is on the restaurant’s website, along with management response to Dan’s negative Yelp review.
The response reads:
Dan, I appreciate all feedback I receive from customers. However, I’d appreciate it if it was (1) constructive, and (2) truthful. In this first video, you can see that you entered at 19:07, which is earlier than you quoted. You can also see that you did not wait a minute at the door. You spent a total of 22 seconds in the establishment. 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 at wonderful, 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.
Check out the video below. We think Dan will have a better career as a novelist than as a casual food critic.
Yelp has since deleted Dan’s review, assessing that it was against the site’s content guidelines. The Chinese restaurant – which has a current rating of 4.5/5 stars on Yelp – has also banned him from ever entering wonderful.
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