I've become a Yelper and I never saw it coming.
The reason probably has to do with having a particularly enjoyable experience at a restaurant a few years ago and feeling the need to, um, "Yelp" about it. It's a "Boy, this place is really great. I'd love everybody to know how fantastic this place is and give them their support so it stays around for me to enjoy many, many more times." And we all know how tough the restaurant business is so, if I can put my love of food, writing and Milwaukee to good use to support a worthy proprietor, I'm happy to do it.
I love writing about places that are 4 and 5-star worthy. They charmed me with a good experience and I usually can't wait to return to my laptop and write a review that heaps some praise upon them. If I do it well, it will be an entertaining read too.
Three star places? Two star places? Meh. They don't motivate to write. What am I gonna say? "Their Wonder bread with Kraft american cheese grilled sandwich was divine! A must-have!! Just like Mom used to make!!" Nah. In most cases a 2 or 3-star joint provided me with sustenance and they'll likely do the same for you.
But then there's those places that really disappoint. They take your money and, in return, give you much less than you expect and deserve. You leave feeling upset and taken advantage of. In fact, you're even a little bit angry.
Now these places ... these places inspire. Much like the 5-star joint stimulates my critiquing Jones, a 1-star does the same. I want potential customers to be wary. Caveat emptor, people, but at least we've got Yelp on our side. If you go in, at least you've been warned. Don't say it's my fault.
Recently I had a very poor experience at a popular Milwaukee restaurant. So poor that I gave it one star. Despite the crummy one-out-of-a-potential-five rating, my review was nothing more than a factual account of my visit. I documented stale product, tasteless food, slow service and poor value -- all the makings of a classic 1-star worthy review. To my surprise, one of the proprietors sent me the following message:
While I would usually start thanking any customer for their feedback, it is hard to do in this instance because Im not sure from your review if you gave us any chance to accommodate you. Our staff works very hard to read our customers and anticipate needs. If you and your guests would have alerted us to your desire for spicier salsa or displeasure with your choice of entree, we would surely have addressed it. We are the heart of the latin quarter but understand people's preferences for our neighbors too. We are all here to serve you but from your estimation, we fell short. That I regret and truly would address would you be open to the possibility. If you consider yourself a foodie, you would find we are using only fresh ingredients, many local purveyors and making every dish to order. We allow our guests to salt and add more spice to their choosing because these are relative tastes. All i would ask is that you rethink your harsh review by reviewing your own actions too. I cant revisit your concerns because you left. If I can at some future time, I welcome you to contact me. Nothing would give me more pkeasure than to turn your frown upside down. Our previous manager is still on site as are we 2 very committed owners. Call or write me Mike. We love people who arent afraid to reason.
Apparently it's my fault that my experience at their restaurant sucked. "Rethink your harsh review by reviewing your own actions too"?! You GD right I'm reviewing my actions -- I should have never dined at your crappy restaurant in the first place!!
Dang that comment made me angry. I spent too much for sub-par food, poor service in an area when most businesses deliver a satisfactory experience at three-quarters the price and you ask me to rethink my review?!
No way. Ain't happening. Not now; not ever. In fact, it's too bad I can't give zero stars, 'cause you just might be my first.
And to think, I didn't even mention the flat sodas in my review either.