Owner of restaurant responded on Yelp, how should I respond? And crappy roast beef.

Thought I’d post a story about a recent trip to a local deli. I decided to keep the name of the establishment anonymous for now. Anyway, I posted the following review on Yelp:

I used to go to their previous location and get the roast beef sub. They are using a different deli meat now. Instead of the good pink roast beef they have switched to the overprocessed shitty brown and hammy tasting kind. The kind they use at places like quick chek and Wawa. The meat is also skimpier than it used to be. Just about any neighborhood pizza place has better quality and more meat than this, I don’t know how they call themselves a deli and serve such sub par product. I love neighborhood delis, but not this. Not a fan.

The owner messaged me and told me to call him for a free sandwich. Why would I want that? It also appears he dropped a 5 star review for his own establishment which isn’t cool. I’m sure 5 star self reviews are pretty rampant on Yelp though.

Any thoughts on how I should respond?

Also, does anyone else despise bad roast beef as much as I do? Can we please rid the world of this garbage? I mean roast beef is so easy - you just fucking cook a piece of beef until it’s pink, that’s really all it needs, yet the market is flooded with this hammy overbrined garbage. Few things in life disappoint me as much as getting this shit when I order roast beef.

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Isn’t this corruption? Offering a free sandwich in exchange to delete your review? Maybe you should complain to Yelp. Enough of fake reviews.

Tell him he should be at his stove thinking how to improve his cooking instead of manipulating reviews! If he is good enough, he will regain back his stars.

This made me angry!

Well he hasn’t asked me to delete the review - my assumption is that he wants to change my mind by making me a proper sandwich. I’ve had managers reach out to me in that manner before - like offering me a gift card to try their place again, but never requested anything explicit in exchange. But this is a deli - as long as they’re using subpar meat, they simply cannot make a sandwich that’s going to change my mind, period.

I probably will flag this user and report to yelp at some point for the self 5*review. That bothers me.

These things happen with owners and I’d suggest that you just let it pass by. You’ve posted your review. Job done.

If you need to do something, then message him back saying you didnt post the review in order to get a free sandwich and just leave it that.

I had a similar experience a year or so back. Posted a poor, but not damning, review on TripAdvisor. Got a message from the owner saying contact for a free meal. I messaged back saying I wasnt after a freebie. It then got a bit weird. Next message from the guy said my replies were “suspicious” and that he didnt believe that I was “everything you seem”. Nope, never found out what the fuckwit meant. Within days, I spotted my review had been deleted by TA - presumably he had been in touch with them suggesting my post was malicious. I wrote to TA pointing out my relatively long history of posting reviews and, indeed, had posted three or four others, specifically about this village (where we had been on holiday). Never got a response from TA but my review returned. A few weeks later, there was a post on the local TA forum from someone else who had posted a negative review and had received abusive messages from the guy. Restaurant has since closed.

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Wow that’s quite a story! Owners like that definitely don’t deserve to stay in business. Good riddance. For now I have replied to him with the following:

Hi, thank you for reaching out to me. I appreciate when owners take an interest like this.

But before I go in and get that sandwich you offered, can you explain the change in your roast beef from your previous location? You guys are clearly using a cheaper roast beef now, one that is definitely not a quality product. So even if I went in and got another sandwich, as long as you’re using the same meat my opinion of your sub won’t change. I feel like that would be a waste of your food and all of our times. Even a small shop right down the street like Neil’s is home baking their roast beef - I’m not asking that of you, but if you do switch to a proper pink deli roast beef I will gladly come back and pay for a sandwich and tell the world about it.

Thanks for listening.

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I’ve read that some negatives reviews posted especially in blogs has indeed led to some restaurants closing.

In one case in France, the restaurant sued a blogger for defamation and won the case in the court.

Your note is appropriate and polite.

Oh no! Now that owner is going to track us down! He will bug @hungryonion to have the account of joonjoon deleted! Or he will send over some hackers! :grin:

I remember the court case in France. It was in the British newspapers. I was surprised that the restaurant won as what the blogger had written seemed to me to be “fair comment” on the meal.

Because, God forbid anyone critize La cuisine francaise. If it was a kabob place, they probably would have dismissed the case.

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Sounds like you have put forth a reasonable resolve.

If I have a bad experience with a restaurant, I typically go through the restaurant website etc if possible, before I write any form of review.

I never accept freebies either. I’m more less trying to give constructive feedback so that things will hopefully improve in future.

I completely agree with you on the crap, over processed roast beef. Kinda like Subway Roast beef?? Lots of fillers, sugars etc.

Double thumbs down on the owner giving a glowing review to himself. I hope you did get him flagged!

Oth may I present the other side.
My son is the chef/owner of a restaurant in NYC. He mostly gets really positive reviews. He called me one day totally bummed. Instead of the 5star he usually gets, he got a 1star and scathing writeup on Yelp - biggest complaint was that the food was too salty. I said to him, take this as an opportunity to fix things. He said, mom when a customer complains, we immediately refund the dish. This table was a 4 top. We attempted to soothe them with a round of drinks and removed the offending burger off the bill. When they left, they threw about half the total bill and stormed out. And then they gave me a terrible Yelp review. And there’s nothing I can do about that.
In the service business, there are always assholes to deal with.

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I hope the negative reviews don’t affect your son too much.

I know a restaurant owner, he hates Trip Advisor because a shitty place next to his restaurant got excellent reviews, his note on TA isn’t as good as his, most certainly because of the higher price tag and the stress of waiting, but he won food awards and got good critic reviews. The place is flooding with people.

Problem with TA etc sites is people reviewing can be your competitors.

I used several times TA or Yelp to find restaurants in remote cities I don’t know very well. Most of the time, I didn’t find the food exceptional as noted. I trust foodie sites more. :yum:

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Man, that’s just wrong. Your son tried to fix the problem and they still burned him on social media. That’s the roughest thing these days. Any idiot with a computer has way too much power.

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Short story: just leave it be and move on.

I’ve been there. No idea what it means, either. I was told not to come back to an establishment after posting a review that was “I don’t find these things to be fresh, but I like these other things.” That’s their right, though, and it’s fine. If we can write a review, they can say get out and stay out.

Sometimes I wish owners had some more faith in the general population. I mean, people can read and form their own opinions. I’ve been to very bad 5-star places, so I always read the reviews to figure out if it’s my sort of place. I’ve been to a 3-star place that was really good. From reading the reviews I could tell that many reviewers just did not like Neapolitan-style pizza. Maybe most people do just look at the star rating and not read. Who’s fault is that, I don’t know?

But at other times, I think it is important to understand it’s a very tough business. I can’t fault someone for being offended or protecting their livelihood. For situations like the OP, most customers might not care about the quality of the roast beef. Maybe they can’t even tell the difference. They just want something quick/cheap and tastes okay to them. Why shouldn’t the deli save the effort/money? In fact, whenever a place drops quality like this, I wonder if I am the only client of that business that cares. Are we wrong not to understand a place isn’t for us, even if it once was? You know, people change and I’m not the same person I was when we got married. That sort of thing.

For a long time, I decided not to “hide behind the Internet”, I did like @Salsailsa and emailed or filled out the website forms. I still do on occasion. New businesses will respond sometimes, but usually I get no response. I’ve even called and only once has someone called me back. Doesn’t mean they didn’t read or listen. And what would a response really accomplish?

It’s hard to figure out what’s right and wrong in these matters. Don’t think about it too much and don’t waste time justifying your food-reviewing morality to others. And, mostly, keep in mind we are an extreme minority. The OP proprietor might not even be able to understand where you’re coming from. “All my friends and family say it’s just as good.” “My husband eats it and he doesn’t even like roast beef.” Etc.

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Honestly, I get a bit of a cheap thrill deciphering reviews. I wish you could actually comment on others reviews on say, Trip Advisor because some are so idiotic! Some of my favs include people going to Mexico, complaining how “staff don’t speak English”- The horror! How dare they speak another language in a country I choose to visit!

I recall a complaint about a hollandaise recipe because “it just tasted like butter.” I know it tastes not quite like butter but essentially, it’s pretty buttery.

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There is the obvious big difference between folk who post to HO and many of the folk who post to TA. Here, we know about food. You simply can’t say that about many TA reviewers (even the genuine ones). Yes, I know that sounds snobbish but it’s a fact.

I hang out on one of the TA Spain forums as it’s a place we visit annually. And any foody would despair about comments made. It seems that, for many people, a good meal involves nothing more than the plate piled high and its cheap. Quality passes them by. There’s one restaurant always mentioned as the “best” - the sort of place to go for a special occasion. We’d looked at the menu and thought it didnt seem at all special, so never went until this year. And what do we find? A well run very touristy place, with average touristy food. Absolutely nothing special.

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You might also consider that the offer was made so he’d know who you were for whatever reasons he might have.

Agree. Everyone is a ‘critic’ these days with plenty of platforms to work with. Comments can range from infantile to knowledgeable…

Whoa…I would just step back and not accept the sandwich directly, too much chance for collusion. Since we are local why don’t you inbox me the deli’s name, I will go and accept the free sammie on your behalf, then I will either concur or offer you my personal insight into their sammies. For you @joonjoon it’s the least I could do.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold