The Power of the Blogger! Or, how to make a bad situation worse.

Un-chef, mighty Blogger, Destroyer of Restaurants

Un-chef, mighty Blogger, Destroyer of Restaurants

It never ceases to amaze me just how arrogant and ultimately self-destructive certain business people can be! On our sister blog, JustRW – Home of Canada’s Un-Chef, we recently wrote a review of a local restaurant. For us, it was merely one of many that we have posted in the last few months and held no special meaning for us. It must be said that overall, said review was less than flattering towards the restaurant in question, simply because the food wasn’t great and the service was worse. Since we had been introduced to the restaurant by a friend who knew the owners, we actually got to meet one of them but he was unaware that I would be writing a review after our visit.

The really interesting part came afterward. In the spirit of helping a restaurant improve, our friend sent a link to our post to the owner of the restaurant in question. For a few days, he heard nothing and thought that the restaurateur had decided to simply ignore it. However, yesterday, the owner called him and berated him for bringing me to his establishment saying that my review was biased, unfair and attacking his ‘heritage’. He went on to refute most of my comments as being either exaggerated or totally incorrect. He finished by saying that if my friend had any other acquaintances that were bloggers, he should refrain from inviting them to the restaurant.  Apparently, my review was especially damaging because it ranked highly in the search engines like Google and therefore was likely to be seen by many potential customers who would then have a false impression of  his restaurant.

Finally, he stated that if I should happen to enter his restaurant in the future, he would show me the door.

My initial reaction to this is simply to chuckle. It is gratifying to think that I, a lowly blogger, could wield so much power if only in the eyes of a paranoid restaurateur. On the other hand, although it is true that my blog does have a reasonably large following, especially in the Ottawa area, I am hardly one of the more influential food critics and am merely a small fish in a big pond. Finally, I can assure anybody who reads this that I have no ulterior motive nor any particular axe to grind. I simply enjoy eating out, though perhaps not so much at this particular restaurant,  and writing about it.

The shame of the entire situation is that quite apart from making a mountain out of a molehill, this so-called businessman has drawn even more attention to both the negative review and his subsequent churlish attitude towards it and this writer. Furthermore, anyone doing any even modestly broad reading of local reviews and comments on blogs, mainstream media and the like will find that my slightly negative review is hardly an anomaly.

My advice to this unfortunate individual: Get over it and move on! Don’t shoot the messenger. Turn your efforts towards improving your business. If the message was wrong, then in the long run it won’t matter. If it was right, you can learn from it and turn a negative into a positive. However, with everything that I have experienced before and since, I doubt that this is going to happen!