Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Smashing the Fourth Wall



For the most part, we've been writing about restaurants we like (wholly or in part), but just today, we've put up a very negative review of a restaurant. I think the owners of the restaurant should see the review, because some of the things we didn't like about the place had to do with unsanitary practices going on during our visit. But I want to know how other people feel about sharing their reviews with the people who run the restaurants or businesses they discuss.

This post was written by Nosher from NYCnosh

9 comments:

Pim said...

I am all for it. If I were running a restaurant I would like to hear what my customers have to say, good AND bad.

Amy Sherman said...

I'm not sure if writing a review outlining these kinds of incidents is very productive or not. You may just end up incurring the wrath of the restaurant.

What you observed is more in line of health code violations and should be brought to the managers attention and possibly the health dept.

I think it's a good idea to share your concerns with the restaurant, whether in the form of a review or just a phone call is up to you.

Kate Hopkins said...

I think your answer boisl down to what your intent of your posts are.

If you are writing restaurant reviews for yourself or to affect the restaurant choices of your readers, than by seeking out the restaurant's owners, you're exceeding your scope.

Food critics for newspapers rarely talk to the owners of the places they review, for a variety of reasons, primarily to avoid becoming "part of the story".

If the place was as bad as you say it was, simply talking to the owners, without referring to yoru article, may be the best approach.

Derrick Schneider said...

As Pim says, most responsible owners want feedback, even on the bad stuff, because it helps their bottom line.

But I think most would prefer feedback about unsanitary conditions to be delivered privately. This gives them a chance to correct it if it's actually a health violation (I don't disbelieve you, but deciding that something is unsanitary is a health inspector's call).

Because consider this. Now, whenever someone searches for this restaurant, they're going to find your review even if the restaurant has fixed the problem.

On the other hand, it's not like you shouldn't warn your readers. I don't typically tell a restaurant's owner that I've posted a review (good or bad). They can search on their own, and they can choose to care or not care.

But in the particular case of unsanitary conditions, I'd probably talk it through with the manager and see what kind of a reaction I got before declaring a problem that they might already be correcting.

Lenn Thompson said...

Hmmm...I could go either way on this.

I've only written one bad restaurant review...and that was based mostly on the horrific service we received. My thinking is that an owner would probably want to know about something like that.

I do agree that a possible health violation should be delivered privately, though. Give the restaurant a call.

Food and Cooking said...

I think as long as you are being honest when you write your review it's perfectly acceptable. I know quite a few business owners and all of them are always interested in getting constructive feedback from their customers.

Nosher & HungryMan said...

Well, it's interesting, because I did call the disgusting wall-washing incident (the most unsanitary event) to the attention of a staff member, in private. Other things occurred after that (the bucket of water game and the face rubbing) that were also disturbing, but at that point, I'd made myself into a bit of a pest, so I didn't want to-- as kate mentioned-- become too much of the story. Of course, that's inevitable to some extent, and I understand that too.

I'm still not sure about what to do. Many of the problems were in fact about the service and the quality (and selection) of the food, so that's something I think other people will want to see. It is possible that people will find this when they search for the restaurant, and that's OK with me too, because it all happened.

Maybe the best solution here is to let the management know about the post and to tell them that I'll change the parts about the sanitary issues when/if they can show me that those things have been fixed. Sounds a little high-handed though... and that's not what I want.

I think I'm now more confused than ever.

drbiggles said...

I wrote about getting sick and cleanliness on a local forum from a local restaurant and my dimwitted co-worker got sick on 3 different occasions. My post was removed and I received this kind email for the reason why (I liked #2):

1. Medical authorities inform us that it's extremely difficult, given the differing gestation times of different infecting agents and organisms, to determine when/where a bad stomach originated.

2. If someone has reason to suspect a restaurant is unsafe, it's absolutely urgent that they report it to proper authorities, who can do something about it. Health authorities have power to investigate (we don't), authenticate (we can't), and actually address the problem.

Talk to someone who can do something about the unsanitary practices before someone gets seriously sick, or worse.

Biggles

Nosher & HungryMan said...

Great point, Biggles. Thanks for that.