Online customer reviews can help to make or break a restaurant, so it’s understandable when chefs get wound up by reviews that they feel are unfairly critical, or worse, factually incorrect and perhaps driven by a desire for freebies.
However, there’s an art to responding to bad reviews. You have to keep your cool, whilst resisting the urge to start slinging personal insults around. And if you think the reviewer really is trying to take your business for a ride, this is how to deal with them.
Unfortunately, chef Adam Handling didn't get the memo. As The Telegraph reports, Handling, head chef at The Frog, a new modern British restaurant in Shoreditch London, was incensed when he read a review of the restaurant posted by Piotr P on Trip Advisor earlier in the summer. In the review, Piotr P described The Frog as “overpriced” (the tasting menu is currently priced at £45) and “overhyped,” with poor to average service and both bland and over seasoned food, giving it three stars. Not a great review obviously, but certainly not one that was going to sink the business and, it could be argued, fair comment.
Handling, a former British Chef of the Year and Masterchef finalist, was not having it however. In his response, which has since been deleted, he describes Piotr P as an “imbecile”, who leads “a very sad life” if he thinks the restaurant is overpriced, suggesting he would be better off at McDonalds.
Handling has since apologised for his remarks, stating: “In hindsight I wouldn’t have written this response at all, and I have since apologised for my use of language to the person concerned ... I’m learning fast that opinion can and will be divided at times ... When I get amazing reviews, I feel incredible. When I get bad ones, and particularly if they’re unfair in some way, I feel horrible and so does the entire team ... passion can bubble over.”
What do you think – did this chef go too far or was he right to call out this reviewer? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.