There was a recent article on SF Inside Scoop: Do restaurants want feedback?
Please read the article first before you read this.
To address that, yes restaurants do want feedback, but positive feedback online is preferable for them, not for a restaurant to find out that a guest had cold soup and a snooty waiter a week later. It doesn’t help them then and it doesn’t help them address issues or problems.
If you have a problem at a restaurant, while you may want to get something off your chest and it makes you feel better to post a nasty review on Yelp, it’s not helping the restaurant improve. It’s after the fact and it’s generally anonymous, so even if the restaurant can fix the issue, they can’t make it right for YOU, the guest as your long gone, and they can’t generally let YOU, know they have fixed it, because you are just a voice in the internet cloud.
Customers should provide negative feedback back to restaurants directly first so they can make an effort to fix the problem. While according to the post, people have tried and they get various responses, the key here is you should try first before Yelping. Let management know about the problem (email, phone, snail mail if you don’t want to address it in the here and now.)
You will generally get better satisfaction from this avenue as well as helping the restaurant fix/improve on a problem. If step one doesn’t do anything then feel free to Yelp away, but try addressing it first directly before you complain about it. Your not doing yourself or the restaurant any favors. Instant gratification doesn’t get anyone anything in the long run except for long term trickle down effects.
I see quite a bit of this from foodie bloggers, they write a scathing review about a restaurant, and the restaurant itself didn’t know there was a problem, because the guest didn’t bother to say anything while they were there. Waitstaff and management are NOT mind readers and they are NOT telepathic. If you have a problem, say so. Or say so soon after the fact and at least let the restaurant try to resolve it. If they don’t, fine, but pretty pretty please with smoked gouda and basil pesto on top, please try first before you Yelp.
As a guest you gain nothing directly (aside from momentary mental satisfaction) by publicly posting something negative online. When you post reviews/comments/complaints online you not only hurt the reputation of a restaurant but you also effect the potential employment of cooks, waitstaff and other restaurant employees.
Enough negative reviews and a restaurant can go under. Do you really want this on your conscience, think about that one before saying “not my problem“.
Instead of looking at it with the view that you are voicing your opinion to the world, think instead of the fact that every comment can have snow ball results on a restaurant. Do you feel better about yourself because you have done your small part in making 25 people lose their jobs if the restaurant closes?
This is valid for any business, not just restaurants, with the age of social media, everyone feels free to voice their gripes, opinions and issues with the world. If you have a problem with AT&T, their a big company and they can take it. A small independent business is reliant on customers, it’s hard to rebound from negative things, especially if someone is just having a bad hair day and wants to gripe and especially if its anonymous and after the fact.
Ponder this: in the past word of mouth standards, a nice thing said about a business reached 2-3 other people, a bad one 7 plus, in this day and age multiply by the hundreds and sometimes thousands. A bad comment or review by one person can have 50 times the effect of in the past.
That restaurant that you like so much, but you had one bad experience at, so you write a snarky blog post about it. 2 months later it folds. Are you proud of yourself that you have a small part in it?
“Hey John the waiter, my soup is cold, could I get a hot one please?” How hard was that?