Our Love/Hate Relationship with Yelp, and How Not to Respond.
By Margie Tosch
Thursday, 22nd March 2012

Recently we had local drama around a restaurant who responded (via Yelp private message) to a reviewer who gave them a review that they apparently found not acceptable.

The review was not fabulous, on the other hand it wasn't horrible either, and it was a 3 star.

The drama occurred when one of the restaurant owners direct emailed the reviewer (through Yelp), here is the email (the grammar is original and unedited):

4Hoteliers Image LibraryFrom: Yelp no-reply@yelp.com
To: (xxx) W.
Sent: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:07 PM
Subject: You have a new message

(xxx). has sent you a message on Yelp:

review of (xxx) "

Kxxxx, I am one of the owners of (xxx). Let me start by saying your an idiot. rarely do I respond to stupidity however I have to on this. If you want large portions please go to (xxx) diner or a (xxx). We do Local sustainable and Organic items. The sausage is made in house as is everything else. Americans eat way to large of portions and ours are good for our more educated customers. As for the Potatoes in lieu of English muffins all the components are listed on the menu. People like you make me sick to my stomach you are NOT educated in food and are a self proclaimed food critic. We don't want idiots like you back in our restaurant. Please stay out and if your friends are like you then they need not come either. Recently we received our 2nd diners choice award which means we were selected to restaurant in Sonoma by real foodies- well do just fine with out you. As for the Burger just ask for it well done, however I'm sure McDonald's is the perfect venue for you. It baffles me that people like you take the time to degrade someone on venues like this however I'm sure you have way to much time on your hands. Since your picture is posted please DO NOT come back into our restaurant again you are not welcome." 

I am sure we can all agree, whatever your position on Yelp, is that this was not a well thought out response. What ensued was a social media campaign against the restaurant - Facebook to Yelp to emails to restaurant reviewers and on and on. Of course a counter campaign began in earnest. Denials of the email were issued, although from my perspective, short lived, as the original email from Yelp had been screen captured.

What this brings up (once again) is that love it, or hate it, social media can and will affect you. I have no idea what was going through this particular owner's mind when this email was sent.

However, my first thought was not "how could you?" But why? I have a couple of ideas, but they are just guesses.  What this whole episode brought up for me was that social media and reality shows (among other things) are contributing to the loss of basic manners and common courtesy these days.

Everyone is a critic, and they feel free to blast their opinion out to the world with nary a thought that the "entity" they are blasting is made up of real people, who work incredibly hard and care a great deal. Things not exactly to your liking? Tell the world - immediately - and in no uncertain terms. Get a review you don't like? Blast them right back!

I'm not suggesting the reviewer did anything wrong, nor am I in any way excusing the above letter writer, in fact the opposite. I'm merely suggesting that we all try to be a little more considerate in our communication with each other, especially so if you are blasting critiques of others out for the entire world to see. 

Have an opinion? Let me know!  margie@otlconsulting.com


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