A restaurant in San Francisco who’s had enough of Yelp‘s questionable advertising tactics and ridiculously unfair influence over consumers has decided to fight back in the most hilarious way. They are offering discounts to customers who will go on Yelp and give them a one-star review. You read that right – a one-star review. They are purposely trying to throw a palm in the face of Yelp’s influence over their customers. It’s working.
From Inside Scoop SF:
Chefs and co-owners Davide Cerretini and Michele Massimo are veterans of the local dining scene, and say that their food is excellent and they run a busy restaurant. According to Cerretini, they simply grew tired of the constant advertising inquiries from Yelp and what he dubs ”blackmailing” and review manipulation. (Sidenote: A judge recently ruled that Yelp has the power to manipulate reviews.)
”I don’t have anything against Yelp. The idea is fantastic, but the blackmailing thing is ferocious,” says Cerretini. ”I think I should be the one deciding if I’m on the site or not. At least I can be there on my terms. The only power they have is they make you reliable to them. So, I’m going to be one of the most unreliable restaurants.”
Basically, Yelp has the power to remove reviews and decide which reviews are prominently featured. Companies can basically pay Yelp to raise their overall rating, which is shady but for some reason totally legal. Also, the nature of the Yelp review is so skewed — it’s good to see an establishment fighting back.
Visit the Yelp page of Botto Italian Bistro and you will be treated to one hilarious one-star review after the next. It’s brilliant. Here are a few that made my morning:
Yelp is the bane of the service industry’s existence. If you like Yelp, you’re probably an asshole. I don’t mean to be rash, but seriously – what is your job? Can you imagine if every person you came in contact with had the ability to go online and rate their experience with you? It’s horrifying. I say this as a 20 year veteran of the service industry, as well as someone whose work appears online daily and is subjected to a barrage of insults on the regular. This level of scrutiny is just not for everyone. Add to that the fact that you have no idea what may be inspiring a certain customer’s rant. They could just be in a bad mood for all we know.
People who go online to complain that their water glass sat empty for ten minutes or that their steak was undercooked are just the worst. Seriously. A small service snafu does not warrant this inexplicable need Yelp has given some of us to tell the whole goddamn world about it. Also, the weekly episode of Chopped you watch does not qualify you to assume you know how to compose a dish better than a chef. Ha! Two stars! Take that! You should have given me that corner booth I wanted. Now who’s ‘spoken for?’ Mwahahahaaa!
I think it’s time to take some power back from Yelp, and the idea these business owners have is a good start.