Feedback from poor review, anyone?

Not a review because it’s all in my message anyway but would love to get an opinion or two here. I went to a favourite (once favourite?) cafe with a friend for her birthday. It was a poor experience. Despite what happened I won’t name them (yet) and I didn’t post this publicly since I prefer not to be that mean. I will also post the photo of my lunch

My DM to the FAMOUS local cafe -
Super disappointed in my visit yesterday. I waited ages for a sloppy looking overpriced cheese toastie, a too-small cupcake, and a hot chocolate that tasted like hot milk. 12 plus pounds for that. Why can I never find even one layer cake there anymore. Sheet cakes and cupcakes just don’t cut it. What happened to you? Been visiting since the early 2000s and now I don’t know if I’ll ever come back. So sad

Their response:
So I’m a real person with real feelings. This is so rude and inconsiderate. We try so incredibly hard every day to be the best we can be even with half our staff out with Covid or any of the challenges being thrown our way since the pandemic and Brexit. These are the times when I find myself being the most patient and the most tolerant in any place I visit. I find myself not comparing to ten years ago when the world was a different place. At the same time I never want anyone to have a less than exceptional experience. But to just dump your frustration out like this on us has real consequences. What happened to YOU? I wonder if in the early 2000’s when we didn’t have social media if you would have left such a strong comment. This is what I find sad. That you just hate on us, press send and go on with your day. Shame on you.

I did respond. Nothing came back - as expected. Can certainly share my response if asked - and my opinion on what she said - but wanted to know what others think and have you had an experience like this? I’ve read stories about this but didn’t think it would happen to me.

Picture - that’s a HALF toastie (the full was £12 (cheese and green onion) and I couldn’t bring myself to pay it and the 6oz cup for scale. PS I said nothing about the cake BOX it was delivered in to my table (waste and unnecessary expense, anyone?) - anyway, enough editorial! :

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I felt you gave a fair comment - it is your feedback to them, and they should’ve taken it as an opportunity to improve, instead of going “Will Smith” all over you.

I find the trend of chefs and owners who go off on legitimate reviews disturbing. The owner of Heirloom in Lewes, DE is an example of this. If you can’t take honest feedback then you are in the wrong business. I do not see where you were rude- you were honest. There is a difference. Those of us who are honest are also called rude by those who can’t handle honesty. As I said yesterday “Honesty is an expense gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.” If running your business is so challenging that you can’t put out a quality product, then shut the doors. This goes for ANY business. You have given them honest feedback, you received a crap reply so take your business elsewhere. Money talks and BS walks.


If it is a restaurant I want to return to, I will speak to the manager or owner before I leave, or on the phone later.

I’ve stopped sending criticism by email.

No one responds well to criticism these days.

I’ve only had 2 restaurants respond in a nice way.

Usually I’ve been met with silence, and a couple times I’ve received a defensive reply.


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You are exactly right about criticism. I was given a survey for ISO purposes. I was honest. The machine shop I deal with never meets it’s four week turnaround time and never can tell me when I will get my orders. I still have orders out from October of last year. I was told that I could not be honest and I needed to amend my survey. I refused. I said don’t ask for my opinion and then tell me it’s wrong when it is not what you wanted to hear.

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I appreciate the fact that you sent your message directly to them, and didn’t post it publicly. That was the right way to handle it, especially because it was a previous favorite location.

It’s obvious by their comments that they don’t want to take any responsibility for what’s happened to them in terms of the quality of what they are providing. They are just blaming you for having expectations. And they aren’t going to do anything about it.

Too bad that another good place has changed for the worst. You were nice to handle it how you did. Close the book on them, and don’t go back. They obviously don’t care enough to make any changes that will improve things.


Agree. Heirloom has been on my radar screen for a while. I don’t know whether to just not go there, or go and post a fair review, good or bad.

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The restaurant owner had valid points. Businesses are experiencing supply chain issues and difficulty finding employees.

You are unhappy with the prices, the menu selections, the flavor of the food and the presentation. As you dislike everything about this restaurant, you should stop patronizing it. Do you really believe that your email will prompt the restaurant owner to change the menu to suit your taste, lower the prices and change the serving containers?

If I were the owner I would have believed that your sole goal was to insult me.


I’m on the chef’s side here. There may be a price you are willing to pay for a toasty (which doesn’t look sloppy to me, and melty cheese isn’t exactly a neat tidy substance to begin with) or a cupcake (which looks like a normal, non-Costco size), but that doesn’t mean that’s what it costs to make it and sell it to you. Unless you know what that business is paying for ingredients, labor, rent, utilities and what a reasonable margin for them to run a profitable business is, it’s not up to you to set their prices. Things HAVE changed. They have their reasons for not making layer cakes.

I think your only real compliant is that the hot chocolate was weak. Did you ask if you could get more chocolate in it? Unless it’s a chocolate shop, they’re probably using Hershey’s or some other sweet syrup/mix for a young palate. If you want real, chocolatey hot chocolate, look for ‘sipping chocolate’ or ‘drinking chocolate’.


This is a response from the owner of a restaurant I “wanted” to go to and now I am glad I didn’t.
You did not let your server know that you wanted separate checks until he had already closed out the table.
He offered to put it multiple credit card and you said no!
It is our decision not split checks if not notified up front!
Staff was as rude to you as you were to the staff!
You made a scene at the table so everyone in the restaurant could hear you!
You are not welcome back

The “staff was as rude to you as you were to the staff” got me. YOU NEVER RESPOND TO RUDE WITH RUDE. This just shows the staff is not well trained.
“Never respond to rudeness. When people are rude to you, they reveal who they are, not who you are . Don’t take it personally be silent.”

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Really? You believe that restaurant employees should placate people who throw tantrums because the server needs to know that the table wants the check split when the order is placed, not when the meal is done?

Personally, I go out of my way to patronize businesses that stand up for their employees and don’t permit them to be bullied.


As a former Customer Service Supervisor for a large pharmaceutical company, you can get your point across without being a rude a@@ …well maybe some of us can (bless your heart which means I don’t wish to act ugly)… Everything is how you choose to respond. You can say “I apologize, but we are unable to spilt checks for parties larger than X.” This was the CORRECT way to handle this. The word bully is thrown around way too much. Anyone who has a different opinion from anyone else is called a bully. I picked up on the fact that the restaurant owner responded with unprofessionalism and rudeness and "“you are not welcome back”. Frankly that is more concerning than any perceived “bullying”.
ETA- I took ALL the reviews and responses into account when I made my decision and ultimately where to spend my money. It is apparent from the restaurant’s responses that their GM changed sometime last year becoming more abrasive and rude. I read restaurants reviews from all the world and you can tell that lots chefs, owners, and GM’s ALL need a crash course in social media. Many responses seem to done late at night or early in the morning when the responder is tired. Also as with ANY review, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I don’t doubt the customers were @-holes. This area caters to that. Monied, Escalade driving golf playing @sses. It it what it is. BUT the restaurant and servers should be used to that and expect it since they chose to set up business there. Kinda like me not wanting cow crap and having a beef farm. The two kinda go together.

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Another response from the restaurant I wanted to go to- again the last sentence lacks professionalism,
Our chef is French trained. Your sea bass was miso marinated so will ALWAYS look dark.
We don’t have a cocktail on the list for 27.50
Unless is a really good bourbon or scotch.
You didn’t complain at the restaurant but don’t mind bashing us now.
Maybe McDonalds for you.

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And another one
Unfortunately, when we are very busy, I am not able to leave the kitchen. I have a dining room manager that handles these issues. …I don’t like having babies and small children in the restaurant any more than you do but unfortunately that is _____________is the summer time. Every high end restaurant deals with it.

It seems you’ve got a generic reply aiming at all unfavourable reviews on social media. The cafe can feel the client unreasonable, but they can explain their difficulty, apologized for the situation, instead of humiliating the client. I bet they are cracking up with the situation of covid, rising prices in ingredients and labour shortage. Maybe they have financial difficulty and any bad reviews would further hurt them.

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I completely disagree that restaurant servers and staff should be used to being abused.

Also, I believe that calling people who caused a scene because they couldn’t get their check split at the end of the meal bullies is an appropriate use of the word.

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I don’t see anything wrong with this response. Does the diner really think the chef should leave the kitchen to deal with unruly children? It is in fact the general manager job.

Again, I don’t see the problem with the response. I know people whose tastes are more suited to chain restaurants and fast food than to fine dining. I don’t think it’s rude to tell them that they won’t enjoy their experience at a fine dining restaurant.