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shuna fish lydon

There are many options a diner has after having an awful time of it in a restaurant:

It is possible to have a bad experience at a restaurant and never go back. Or, whilst having (or when dinner is finished & bill is paid), whether feeling like one would return or not, address bad experience with restaurant management. It's also possible that diner can look at themselves as objectively as is possible and know that bad experience had something to do with them.

But if whilst/after bad experience is happening with/to diner, diner shares it with thousands/millions of people by leaving a permanent mark on the Internet for all to see, including restaurant owner/management/cooks etc. I consider this to be a gross misuse of foodblogging power.

(Most) restaurants are not money making machines. People who own/work in them do not retire early.

When a chef/owner finds a piece of very bad press, after the fact, on the Internet, it's quite upsetting because it can often feel like a personal attack.

My point here is that people who call themselves Food Bloggers should know the power they carry and act responsibly. We all know what drives traffic to our site and our name, and yet most have little idea how negative press for restaurants hurts them.

Most food bloggers do not work in the food industry. As one who does, I ask people to think hard about the now & future repercussions of their actions, before hitting the 'publish' button.

cinetrix

I fail to understand how working in the food industry is germane or why the above commenter feels that either of the two points quoted below have anything to do with how diners, bloggers, or indeed anybody on the Internet [Yelp stickers outpace Zagat's at more and more restaurants] should comport themselves online when describing a bad experience in a restaurant:

"(Most) restaurants are not money making machines. People who own/work in them do not retire early.

When a chef/owner finds a piece of very bad press, after the fact, on the Internet, it's quite upsetting because it can often feel like a personal attack."

1. So? (Most) restaurants in fact fail, all the time, for any number of reasons: concept, execution, staff, location, bad business sense, you name it. Restaurants may not be "money making machines," but owning/working in a restaurant is still a choice.

Patronizing a restaurant is, too. Who's to say the disgruntled diner is to blame or indeed is any better off/has a better retirement outlook than the restaurant workers? Dining out is not an obligation or necessity, it is a treat or even a rare splurge. It is also a commercial transaction predicated on the expectation of quality, reproducible results every time.

2. Newsflash: Performance reviews come with every line of work. If the chef/owner is upset by bad press, he/she should address any valid problems cited and talk through the feelings of being personally attacked with his/her mental health professional.

Or else said chef/owner could eschew chasing after any press at all, even the free variety provided by GOOD reviews from food bloggers. Think of the money to be saved on publicists, etc. It could be invested in an IRA toward his/her retirement fund.

Here's another idea: Run the restaurant with the expectation that any diner might be a food blogger too. He/she has come to this restaurant with great expectations, after researching what others have said. Because, honestly, who would pay out of pocket with the sole intent of writing a bad review?

Henry Millis

Very interesting article! Thanks for your great blog and your nice type of writing.

Best regards, Henry

Charles

What is neglected in this discussion is that the internet has a similar power to balance negative reviews with positive ones. I use internet reviews and I frequently find myself needing to balance the lone bad review against many good reviews of a particular restaurant. I appreciate the ability to see more than one perspective to judge each review's credibility and to make my own decision accordingly. If a bad review spends three paragraphs focusing on how one waiter did not notice one little issue, I'm smart enough to know that such an anecdote is not evidence of anything. If I see fifteen reviews that all say that the waitstaff is inattentive, then I can decide whether I want to go to a restaurant with an inattentive waitstaff.

In this sense, the democratization of food reviews that the internet provides has actually made restaurants less beholden to the potential tyranny of individual reviewers.

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