We live in a world that is connected by a series of social media applications that were originally intended to bring us closer together but what they have actually done is give people a false sense of relationship. Just because you know that your best friend from high school “had three bananas today! OMG!” does not necessarily mean that you are still friends. So many of us, myself definitely included, depend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, etc. to alert the world to our personal goings on and opinions. Maybe it makes us feel like we are surrounded by people who care or it gives us a sense of importance to know that (insert number of Facebook friends here) people may be reading about our thoughts on the Olympics. (“Cried happy tears for the women’s gymnastics. I love that emotion of working your butt off and having it pay off!” said Amy S.) The one social media application that probably most affects our lives as restaurant folk (we’re sorta like carney folk, except we smell like honey mustard and fajitas instead of cotton candy and the stench of “what the fuck life choice did I make that made be a carney folk.”) is Yelp.
Yelp started out as a great idea. “Hey, let’s start a website where people can rate their favorite restaurants” turned into “Hey, I had one bad experience at a restaurant so I am going to go online and trash the hell out of them.” Countless times, I have walked up to tables who are snapping cell phone pictures of their food and sending it off to Yelp before they have even had their second bite. Yelp lets every Tom, Dick and Asshole become the restaurant critic they always wanted to be without all the, you know, qualifications.
Regularly, I go to to Yelp to read the reviews of my restaurant to see if anyone is complaining about me. The last time I was mentioned specifically, they had this to say: “Special shout-out to my waiter ‘The Bitchy Waiter,’ who was very attentive and offered wonderful food suggestions in the neighborhood.” Hmm, they liked me; must have been an off night for me. However, so many reviews are filled with the most idiotic comments that you wonder how the writer even figured out how to turn on their fancy computer machine to write it in the first place.
Case in point: a review I read for Dog and Duck, a local neighborhood restaurant. A person named Sen-Pei wrote, “When I came here once with a friend, mosquitoes bit up my legs and thighs. I have to say that this does happen a lot in general (my legs and thighs are some tender sweet things ;-P), but this was unbearable. Do something about that.”
Why would anyone give a negative review to a restaurant based on something that the restaurant has no control over? Do people just look for something to bitch about? (“Bitchy Waiter, you’re the biggest bitch I know,” said everyone who is reading this.) Okay, Sen-Pei, I am going to “do something about that.” Mosquitoes are so annoying and even though I don’t work at Dog and Duck, I do have the direct line to Mother nature and I am going to give her a call just for you. And yes, I recorded my conversation with her so you can hear it:
The next time you go to Yelp to review something, please remember to give critique and opinion and not just complain.If you have a complaint that was specific to you, make sure it will benefit others if they read it. “The baby at the booth next to me was so freaking loud” or “it rained on me while i tried to eat on the patio” is not going to help anyone decide whether or not they want to eat there. “The lights are too dim” or “it seemed like the air conditioning was broken” is better. “The Bitchy Waiter was wonderful” is the best.