Genuine “Critics”.

A lot of times it happens that you are enjoying your morning cup of tea (its a bowl of cereal for me) while reading the newspaper and something preposterous catches your eyes and then the train of thoughts begins to race inside your head.
The same happened to me today morning when I saw this.

This particular article talked about how people are misusing a very popular restaurant review website to take their personal grudges or biases for some restaurants and their management. I hope you must be knowing which website I am talking about.

Okay, so here is what that was really sad about this article.

1. Not everyone on that website is a food expert. People might call themselves a foodie, but they are not food expert. I am a regular user of that website. I write reviews there because that is my way of giving back to society. I mean I try a new place after seeing a rating of a place and take it as my moral responsibility to tell people an honest opinion about it.

Nowhere in the process, I call myself a “foodie” or a “food reviewer” or a “food critic” or a “food expert”. I am just a customer who will be happy if you feed her with good food and offer good hospitality. I can comment on the ambience, the general taste of food and the services offered by the staff – if they were good or bad- but I can not comment if the right amount of spices were added or the kitchen of the place meets some standards.

2. The saddest part is neither the customer nor the restaurant management understands the above fact. Being a reviewer on this particular website doesn’t mean you have the ultimate magical power to change the fate of a restaurant. No. You rate a restaurant bad, there are 100 more people who would have rated it differently. So in this random universe, you are not that significant. But yes, it is a perfect place to fight your personal vendetta!

And the restaurant management has to understand exactly the same thing. Exactly the same! If you have been rude to a particular customer, he/she takes out the frustration – let it be. Ignore it. If you know that it has been done on purpose, maintain your dignity of being in the hospitality industry, take it as gracefully as you can and then reply calmly. You don’t have to stoop down to the level of being revengeful like your customer and actually give an impression to other people that you are the aggressive team who are least welcoming. I mean, come on, if you know you are good, maintain that people are going to come and rate you good, no?

And also, my dear management of the restaurants, think before you react to these kinds of reviews. These are the same “food expert” whom you invite at your restaurant to offer the best of food and services at your expense so that they praise you on this online platform. It has happened to me a lot of time, I go to a place as an acknowledgement to an invite, they treat me well, I am impressed and I recommend that place to my friends or maybe go there with them. And then I face nothing but bad service. But that is okay. No two days are the same, I understand that. But if I get pissed off and I write a bad review, who will be broadly at a fault? So which review will be genuine? The one that I write after the first experience or the one written after the second experience?

So, the whole point that I am trying to make is that you can not aspire to get “genuine” critics. No critic is genuine. In no industry- be it the entertainment industry or the food industry or anything. If you really want that, call some people who are actually food experts. And yes, there is a good lot of them. You just need to reach the right people!

We need to grow up a bit when it comes to using the online “power” that we have got as both the marketer and the customer.

  1. @Aseem
    That is why I mentioned that everyone has to maintain their dignity. I had a bad experience, I might share it on an open platform, but then again if a restaurant takes it personally and take the fight to a whole new level by defaming and demeaning people on national dailies, then how is that even remotely serving their request of "honest opinion". If you are bad, accept it and improve. If not then prove it! 😀

  2. Hahah am wondering if that article was in response to situations like these 😛

    None of us need to be an expert in food in any which way to give our viewpoints on a restaurant. Yes, there maybe personal biases but that's expected on an open source review website, isn't it?

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