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What do you think about Yelp.com?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Does anybody (especially restaurant owners) have any opinion about Yelp.com?

Since it is a one way street posting (customers post review/rating about restaurants), do you sometimes get frustrated with the negative reviews? Even if it is not about your restaurant.
post #2 of 6
one of my food writing friends was hired by yelp to write on STL places....

How would you feel if an annyomous poster wrote negative stuff on your livelihood for all the world to read in perpitude? Sucks big time.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Personally I have nothing against them but apparently they are not as innocent as they look.

Yelping about Yelp! Service or Shakedown? - FohBoh
post #4 of 6
I'm not a fan of Yelp. Here's why.

I work at a family-owned winery (I am part of the family) that has a tasting room on the premises. Our weekends are busy - we often have the tasting bar packed with people, many of whom are loyal repeat customers. We're also on Yelp, apparently; this was brought to my attention by a customer asking about some negative reviews we had apparently accrued. I went to Yelp to read them and immediately knew the customers in question.

The incident was, as I would guess many of them are, involving a fairly large group of guests who were doing one of those limo tours of the wine country. We weren't their first stop, and some of them were to put it quite bluntly, hammered. Not vomiting-in-the-plants drunk, but taking missteps, slurring words, speaking very loudly, spilling their half-ounce tastes of wine drunk. Some of our other guests were very uncomfortable with their presence, and we did something we'd never done - and haven't had to do since - we asked them to leave. Well, a few of the females in the contingent didn't really agree with our point of view and loudly said so. It took a few minutes (with no shortage of cursing on their part) to get them back on the road in their limousine.

I pride myself on my customer service skills. I've spent quite a bit of time in various businesses, largely dealing with guests of some sort, and I think I'm pretty good at handling people when they're upset about something - calming them down, bringing things to a peaceful resolution, offering olive branches, that sort of thing. The posts that two of these people made about our winery were egregiously slanted, making one of our staff sound like a really terrible person, insulting our employees personally based on their appearance. This was not just one, but two separate posts by two people from the same limo group on the same day. It wasn't, in my mind, fair that our otherwise very good rating on Yelp was marred by "reviews" like these.

I contacted Yelp about the posts, wondering if there was anything we could do to, yes, have them removed. I'm not one for censorship - the first amendment is one of my favorites - but I thought that maybe they'd remove one of them, or give us a chance at a rebuttal. Instead they tried to sell me some sort of membership for not a small amount of money while refusing to even consider removing either of the negative reviews. I declined to give them my money.

Most of the reviews we've gotten since then have been overwhelmingly positive. I can only hope that people who look at our Yelp page look past those two one-star reviews and keep an eye on the big picture, but every time a customer mentions having seen us on Yelp I have to bite my tongue.

Long story short, Yelp may be good for some things, but I think they're more interested in shaking down businesses than working with them.

Thanks for letting me vent.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I think communication is the key. A lot of negative reviews are based on ONE TIME experience and sometimes outdated.

Maybe they can at least provide a way for business owners to explain WHY they got bad reviews. But then that won't let them make much money I guess.
post #6 of 6
I just looked at Yelp, it looks like all the other sites that I see Restaurant reviews. I looked up a steak house that I go to in Seattle. The restaurant had 126 reviews. I think most were good, some were bad. If you have a good quality restaurant the good reviews should out number the bad. If you can't take criticism, this is the wrong business to be in. I was told long ago you have be thick skinned to survive. I think if most owners, Chefs, managers spent more time walking the floors of the restaurant they may take care of a complaint before its read in a review. I have been in this business many years, there was only a hand full of people that I couldn't make things right. The rest I spent time with, found out what I could do to make a bad situation better... I have always walked the dining room, my employees asked me one time if I talk to the people to get compliments . I told them I do it to find out the complaints. I can't take care of a problem once they leave. There will always be negative reviews in every restaurant, you will never please everyone. .............Bill
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