I came across this picture try-the-worst-meatball-sandwich-that-one-guy-on-yelp-ever-had.jpg while conducting research for my podcast on Yelp.com, and quickly discovered it was being shared around the social media world. It was taken in front of Misses Joe and Doe restaurant, and has gained much attention, and has received an overwhelming amount of feedback for its satirical, and humorous, response to the reviews on Yelp.com.
In the article written in The Huffington Post (which is where I first saw the picture), they quote one of the many users who shared the image; she writes; “Everyone with a damn computer is a food critic. Love this restaurants sense of humor about it...” (User: luxuryprgal). And just like that, the battle between restaurant reviewer and owner has gone viral!
The sign, in its 1920's, "taking it to the streets," attitude; calls out a force that "hides" behind a screen in the cyber world, which makes me, and I'm sure the majority of you guys reading it, laugh. But it also makes me wonder... If customer review sites, such as Yelp.com, focus most of their attention on two people: the consumer and the reviewer, does anyone ever stop to think about how the restaurant owner’s or chef’s handle the not-so-pleasant reviews their businesses receive? In my determination to find out more about the ways they respond to these critiques, and the different measures they take to address the sites that turn the everyday consumer into the elite food critic, I stumbled on a few articles that also took interest in this topic.
Although I will discuss the issue further in my podcast, I want to share with you some of the different approaches I found on how these chefs or owners respond to Yelp reviews. The following are links to two articles written on Eater.com. I will mention the articles in my podcast, so if you wish to spare yourself the time of reading them you may do so, however, I kindly ask that you draw your attention to the end of the articles where Eater.com has shared two videos of restaurant chefs and owners reading negative Yelp reviews out loud.
I must admit, the videos may have been striving for that, "Jimmy Kimmel, “Mean Tweets,” segment vibe" – For those of you who are unfamiliar with these segments, Kimmel has celebrities read mean tweets about themselves out loud, which can get quite hilarious – but, the true humor of these videos, is when you see just how little the negative Yelp reviews elicit a reaction out of these chefs/owners. Their maintaining of a, (mostly) calm composure while reading the reviews, works to undermine the high prestige that Yelp reviewers have assumed for themselves; perhaps knocking them off the pedestals that this site has built for them.
"Christine Kirk (@luxryprgal) • Instagram Photos and Videos." Christine Kirk (@luxuryprgal) • Instagram Photos and Videos. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Orchant, Rebecca. "Sandwich Shop Advertises Worst Meatball Sandwich Of Yelper's Life (PHOTO)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 June 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
Shah, Khushbu. "Restaurant Owner Shames 'Entitled' Yelpers on Instagram." Eater. N.p., 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
Shah, Khushbu. "Restaurateur Pens Epic Takedown of Entitled Yelper." Eater. N.p., 06 Oct. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.