You can probably tell from the headline that I am not a fan of TripAdvisor, let me explain why:
Firstly, it is a known fact as well as being general common sense that in the Restaurant trade, for every 200 tables you serve that leave feeling perfectly satisfied with their meal and overall experience only about 1 if you are lucky will bother to go onto TripAdvisor and comment to that affect. Now in stark contrast, for every 2 tables that do not have an experience that met their expectations you are pretty much guaranteed that one of them will go on TripAdvisor to have a moan about it.
It is impossible to please all the people all the time, and no matter how hard we try, occasionally the food and service we offer will not be in line with the expectations of a particular customer, it seems lately though, and i believe this is extenuated by people's current obsession with social media and having to comment in some way on everything in life, that people seem to have forgotten that it is perfectly alright not to like something. I do not know anybody that has liked every single thing they have ever put in their mouths. Just because you don't like, for example our lemon sauce, then next time you come order something different, i do not see that as justification to go on tripadvisor and say how the meal was disgusting and how their evening was ruined.... you know the type of thing!
If you don't like something, IT IS OK! that is a perfectly normal human reaction, what you SHOULD do is tell us straight away there and then that it is not to your taste and we are always happy to change the dish immediately to something else, what you DON'T DO is use words like disgusting, as indeed whilst a particular dish may not be to your taste it is very likely enjoyed and actively ordered by hundreds of others. Don't expect much enthusiasm from us to help you if your choice of language is not appropriate.
Secondly, if you look at TripAdvisor for most towns, the restaurants listed at the top are generally speaking always the very small ones. if you only have a few tables then of course it is likely you are going to be able to offer a far more personal service, on weekdays it is no doubt like 'millionaire's dining'. Larger restaurants always appear further down the ratings, and this joins up with what i started with, the more you serve the more negatives you will get. it is simple math!!
Thirdly, TAKE IT ALL WITH A PINCH OF SALT!! At the time of writing this a recent review stated how the drinks were not to their liking:
we both asked for no ice, she said no problem. However, because we'd asked for no ice, she bought over 2 half full glasses!! We couldn't believe any restaurant would be that silly. It's soda water, which isn't expensive so there's no need to only give half a glass because we'd asked for no ice!
Well actually, yes it is fairly expensive as we sell Soda water by the bottle as most establishments now do, and the drinks menu CLEARLY states the size as 160ml. it is priced accordingly for the size however and is nowhere near as expensive as say, a 330ml size lemonade. So in a 330ml glass with no ice.....um.......yes of course it is half full!! so the basis for this 3 star review was feeling hard done by on their drinks because they had not read the menu correctly......
Finally, to use President Trump's favorite saying, "It's fake folks!" I know, although cannot prove, that some of the reviews are made by the competition and the events detailed just simply did not happen. Now, this is very easy to do as i could, right now, go to TripAdvisor and place a 1 star review for one of my competitors in the town, and providing the detail sounded 'plausible', it would be there forever and the owners could do do nothing about it. (I have not and would not by the way)
TripAdvisor do not care about the business owners at all, we have no recourse to challenge reviews, they just say, "oh!, make a comment about it", well that does not get rid of it does it?
I would like to make three suggestions to TripAdvisor, firstly, give businesses the option to Opt-Out of your disgraceful website. (Which incidentally we cant do) Secondly, give us the option to review the reviewer, not linked to the restaurant of course as that will just make them post more rubbish in revenge, but on an incognito basis. I bet a lot of these reviewers would not be anywhere near as spiteful with their words then. thirdly, if we suspect something is fake, demand evidence or proof form the reviewer that they did come on the day in question, the receipt or a credit card bill showing the payment for example....
Now, having done a damn fine soap boxing on this subject, of course, if you have enjoyed your meal, positive reviews are always most welcome :-)
My one man crusade against TripAdvisor is not going to make it go away, so the best we can do is try to mitigate against the disproportionate way reviews are made by actively asking for positive ones. I have made a personal decision not to comment on TripAdvisor though. If you have posted a positive review let me thank you now for it and rest assured it is read. If you have posted negatively, i do read them and where a comment is politely made in a constructive manner with a valid point we take action accordingly, as for the blah! blah! blah! ones we just ignore them....and so should you!