Recently I have seen and read articles in the media discussing the proposition that “televised cooking shows and competitions, such as My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef, combined with social media have made amateurs into food critics who are damaging the reputation of great chefs and restaurants”……. The crux of this argument is that untrained diners are becoming more fussy and demanding with higher expectations which, when unmet, are photographed and shared globally in an instant with detailed analysis being shared via blogs and rating sites online. There have even been cases where chefs have taken exception to these critics and physically assaulted them in their restaurants.
People reviewing restaurants is not new. It has always been well known in business if a customer is happy they might tell one or two people…but if they are unhappy they will tell ten or more….. nothing has changed except the speed at which the information is shared and the number of people that receive the message. If the customer is unhappy – then fix the problem, don’t blame the customer. Don’t accuse the customer of being amateur or demanding – provide quality food, service and ambience and there will be no complaints.
So why do I write restaurant reviews as part of my food blog? What makes me think I am qualified to have an opinion?
- I am the customer.
- I am a hospitality professional.
- I dine out often and am prepared to pay good money for a good meal.
- I have a right to expect the meal described to be served professionally, in a timely manner and in a safe/clean environment.
- I pay the wages of the chef and the staff through my patronage.
- I am entitled to an opinion and to share that opinion with whoever I choose.
Am I able to photograph the meal and/or restaurant and share it with others? …. YES
- I have paid for the meal and the experience, therefore it is mine.
- If I buy a car or a dress, I can photograph it and share the pictures.
- If I have an experience, like scuba diving, I can take pictures and share them.
- Can I take or share images of the staff or other diners..NO
- I write the truth of the experience that I have – good, great, bad and ugly
- I don’t get payment or free meals to write good reviews
- Offers of free meals for an improved review are always rejected by me
- The restaurant is always informed of my review and has their response, if they choose to make one, published
- So people who are looking to make a decision about where to dine – can be informed
- So the restaurant gets customer feedback and can celebrate their success or make improvements where required
- Because I like the experience of dining out and love to share my experiences with others.
Don’t fear me, don’t hate me … wine me, dine me and give me a good value for money experience ….. that’s what it’s all about.
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