What happens when an Italian restaurant in Washington, DC gets 80 bad Yelp reviews and boasts a one-star rating? The Washington Post sends out a writer to see if it’s a case of “Yelp bullying” or if the poor reviews are earned. Based on the resulting story I’d say there was some wisdom from this Yelp crowd:
You could argue that Pasta Italiana, like that tackling dummy, has been designed for abuse. The place sets itself up for a fight before you take a bite: It trumpets the word “organic” on the front door. Its wait staff may or may not, depending on whom you ask, claim the pasta is made in-house.
The place all but has a “Kick Me” sign taped to its back.
And kick it you will once the food arrives. The garlic-cream sauce draped over flabby, overcooked cheese ravioli was chunky and lukewarm; if there was garlic in the sauce, only a beagle could detect it. The gnocchi was a mountain of gluey pasta covered in a meat sauce many degrees shy of hot; the gnocchi sat on the plate, solid and immovable, as if molded from clay. The lobster ravioli came stuffed with a stringy mixture speckled with tiny dices of the advertised crustacean but tasting more like crab sticks.
Sounds like you can safely keep this one off your dinner list the next time you’re in DC.
Tired of feeling like you’re being held hostage by Yelp and other ratings sites? You’re not alone, but do you have the guts to do what this pizza joint in California is doing?
Botto Bistro in Richmond is not very concerned about its Yelp rating. In fact, in an effort to undermine the reliability of its Yelp page, the five-year-old Italian restaurant is on a mission to be the worst-rated restaurant in the Bay Area.
To achieve this end, Botto Bistro is encouraging all of its customers to leave one-star Yelp reviews; it is even offering deals for anyone who pens a crummy review: 25% off any pizza and a chance to win a cooking class. (Hat-tip toRichmond Standard.)
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.)..
Cerretini says that business has increased since he began waging this campaign against Yelp, though he notes that it’s also attracted better customers who are more loyal and end up spending more. “We are getting not just customers, but new friends who they like this.”
This is pretty gutsy, but it also goes to show how important it is to build and maintain a strong relationship with your customers. Those efforts will do more to build your business than a bunch of five star ratings online ever will.