The Facebook page of a restaurant and bar in Scotland has been flooded with reviews after the venue’s manager told one reviewer to “grow a set” after he said the venue’s food was not up to scratch.
It’s the latest example in a trend of small business owners hitting back at patrons who post negative reviews online, after Australian gelato chain Gelato Messina went to town on a customer who called one of its employees a “fat Asian bitch” and the owner of a New Zealand restaurant turned the tables on a customer who left a scathing online review of the business.
This week, Scottish diner Phil Jeruzal gave Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar a two-star review on the restaurant’s Facebook page, saying although it is a “great location, lovely staff and nice venue”, it employs a “chef that doesn’t really seem to know what he is doing”.
“The quality of produce seems OK, but is handled poorly and when you aren’t getting either quality nor quantity it’s hard to see why you would choose here over somewhere easier to get to, and less expensive,” he said.
“Feel free to check it out for yourself, but, if you are expecting high quality grub, you might want to look elsewhere.”
“This place is average at best – for the time being. I’m sure with a decent head chef this place could be excellent, and a great wee addition to Falkirk food scene.”
But Monica Shaw, director of Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar, wasn’t impressed with Jeruzal’s review and publicly responded by saying she would “decline” Jeruzal’s advice, reports the Mirror.
Instead she told Jeruzal to “jump out from behind the safety of your PC and grow a set” and if he wanted clarification on the quality of the restaurant’s service, he could “message any of the majority of five star reviewers”.
It prompted a heated exchange between the pair, with Jeruzal labelling Shaw’s comments as “the most hilariously unprofessional response to a customer I’ve ever received”.
“’Grow a set’, good god, amazing. Thank you so much this has made my day,” he said.
“Phil, thanks for your detailed feedback I’m sure all of the idiots that rated us four and five star will appreciate your comments,” Shaw replied.
The spat has prompted other Facebook users, including those who have not visited the venue, to leave either one-star or five-star reviews on the Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar page, depending on whose side they are on.
Social media specialist Dionne Lew told SmartCompany individuals are entitled to leave legitimate reviews on business’ Facebook page and, on average, the bad reviews will usually even out with the good ratings.
“Reviews are an important part of the social web when authentic and people are allowed to have a view and feedback can help a business grow,” Lew says.
However, Lew says when a business experiences a problem with a review, as in the case of the Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar, the best way to deal with it is privately and directly with the reviewer.
“All this could have been prevented with some pretty basic old-school business etiquette,” Lew says, adding that social media can amplify situations in both positive and negative ways.
She says attacking a reviewer will only draw more attention to the issue and “no one really wins from that”.
Catriona Pollard, also an expert in social media and communications, agrees, telling SmartCompany business owners should “remove themselves emotionally from negative reviews and comments” and not respond in an emotional way.
Pollard recommends acting swiftly to “shut down” any reviews that could damage a business’ reputation, but she also believes genuine complaints could help small business owners improve their business – if dealt with in private.
Lew says reviews can have a powerful impact on the behaviour of consumers. She warns businesses about the presence of fake reviews on their social networks.
“In Australia, you have to remove fake reviews,” Lew says, referring to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s guidance on misleading statements.
“If a business or review platform does not remove a fake review, they could be found to breach the Competition and Consumer Act.”
“It’s up to businesses to manage reviews, both positive and negative,” she adds.
SmartCompany contacted Canada Wood Kitchen and Bar but did not receive a response prior to publication.