Leave restaurant reviews to the professionals (JEFF EDELSTEIN COLUMN) – Trentonian
Here’s a good idea when it comes to rating restaurants online: unless you’re being served an uncooked dead mouse and your server is quoting Hitler, it’s probably best to shut up and leave the reviews to professionals.
Restaurant owners work harder than most, restaurant staff work harder than most – and for less money – and it’s really not our position to go to Yelp or Facebook or anywhere else to complain whether the pasta was mushy or the steak you ordered was medium-rare. Medium.
Or, for that matter, if you think the owners force the servers to get positive Google reviews.
Guess you’ve heard of this story because it went viral on Reddit: The owners of Tio Taco + Tequila in Edison have a policy that requires servers to get five positive Google reviews a month or they get fired.
Owners, Triple T Hospitality Group, also own a slew of other restaurants statewide, including Tommy’s Tavern + Tap in Princeton.
And they were destroyed online. The Reddit post has 1,600 comments, and reviews from Google and Yelp have poured in over the past week, trashing the restaurant, the owners, the whole thing.
In Short: This policy — and the resulting outrage — could end up bringing down this chain of 10 restaurants owned by Tommy Bonfiglio and employing 1,100 people, according to Asbury Park Press.
Oh, and one more thing the APP notes: the story is (mostly) wrong.
Yes, the “get great reviews or get fired” notice was posted for Edison’s location, but it was done by a rogue manager, who has since been fired himself. This is not restaurant policy, nor chain policy, nor owner policy. In fact, according to the story, the owners of the channel reward servers that get good reviews by letting them choose teams or sections, and sometimes even giving them a sweatshirt.
But getting fired for not getting positive reviews?
“We reward people who go above and beyond, but we would never say, ‘You better get them,'” Bonfiglio’s daughter Andrea – and chief marketing officer – told the newspaper.
So now that the real story is out, how many of these reviews are going to be taken down? Probably zero. And so someone who doesn’t know anything about this little mess will one day go on the internet to look at the reviews of these restaurants and be greeted with sentences like this: “Can’t stand this restaurant…they ask their employees to begging customers for a 5 star”. exams to keep their jobs. Disagree…”
What’s really wrong is that we hoi polloi thought we were Michelin reviewers in the first place.
A million years ago, my wife and I co-owned a restaurant. It was an upscale joint, and luckily it was before restaurant reviews exploded online.
My wife ran a watertight vessel. Things were good there. But I can only imagine the criticism we would have received from some people… two memories stand out…
A woman complained that there was hair in her dish. And there was. It was disgusting. Except there was one problem: the hair in question was long and blonde, much like his own hair. The hair of our kitchen staff? Short and brown, for a man. Sure, I featured his meal, but can you imagine what the review would have said?
“The food was good, but beware of the hair in your pasta!”
And then there was the couple who returned their entries because it reminded them of Kandinsky, and they “hate” Kandinsky. I told them I was terribly sorry and took their dishes back to the kitchen. I then googled Kandinsky and discovered that he was a deceased Russian painter.
“One star because the chef thought he was channeling Kandinsky!”
I’m still a little bitter, in case you haven’t noticed.
Sure, the customer is always right, but your uneducated palette—and mine—shouldn’t be the one that decides how good a burger is. You have something nice to say, go ahead and say it. This can only help our restaurateurs and the tens of thousands of people they employ.
Got something mean to say? Don’t run online and talk about it. Let these people do their job. If the food or the service or anything is really lousy, eventually people will find out for themselves.