Posting a Restaurant Review on Yelp

Most of us have certain apps on our smart phones that we use regularly. For example, I oftentimes check in on Facebook when I am at interesting places, and I use my airline app to check on the status of my flight times and departure gates.

But it’s not very often that I post a review on Yelp.

This past weekend, my husband and I were in Monterey, California. We walked through Carmel, went to see the Pebble Beach Golf Course (it is stupendous), and did the 17-Mile Drive, a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula.

And, of course, we went out to eat. I chose restaurants I had tried before or those that were recommended to me by friends. Since we were on vacation, I wanted our food and wine experience to be over the top. So it was fun, yet nerve-wracking, to pick places to dine. I feel like I did a pretty good job of selecting places that fit the bill, so to speak.

However, we did have one poor dining experience. I will not share the name of the restaurant, but it was a steakhouse, one that has received rave reviews for its steaks for many years. It came highly recommended by one of my closest friends.

So, you can imagine how baffled and annoyed we were at the poor experience we had. I was actually so frustrated that as we walked out of the restaurant, I decided to post a review on Yelp.

“Seriously the worst experience ever. Sent dirty wine glasses back three times. Butter dish was already used. Salad did not have toppings. Side dishes were not hot (room temperature). We spoke to the manager twice. And we were a bit surprised that all they did was comp us our wine. Waste of $95.”

At the time, I did not realize that my Yelp account was set up so that my review immediately posted to Twitter. That turned out to be a good thing though, because the next morning I got what appeared to be an auto-response on Twitter that said, “Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your review on Yelp.”

I was annoyed. I have written before about companies that do not respond personally or quickly to posts on Facebook or Twitter.

An appropriate, personal response is imperative with social media. Anyone who is active on Twitter or Facebook will instantly judge a company based on how responsive and truthful it is. If you made a mistake, your product was bad, or your restaurant was having a bad day—admit it. Social media is just like working with your friends and teammates—the truth is always best.

Then, a few hours after that tweet, I got a response on Yelp from the owner himself!

“We’re so sorry to hear this, Karen, but we appreciate you speaking up when you were here. The issues you experienced absolutely are not common around here; we’re just sorry the service was so uneven the night you stopped by. Please know that we plan on putting this feedback to good use immediately!”

My faith in this restaurant was immediately restored.

The owner was honest about them having a bad night and personally responded with no excuses. By doing so, he exceeded my expectations, and I will definitely give the restaurant a second chance.

My first job at Frieda’s back in the 1970s was to answer all consumer letters. We received between 300 and 500 letters a week asking for recipes, and at least a dozen a week required a personal answer. My rule was to respond within 72 hours. That’s right—within three working days I answered all those snail mail inquiries. Now that we have the Internet, email and 800 numbers, our goal here at Frieda’s is to turn around all inquiries within 24 hours, on the same day if possible.

I realize that my expectations are pretty high. Nonetheless, I expect other companies to be as attentive as I was at returning inquiries, and I think it’s fair to expect a comment or a reply when you post on a company’s website or social media platform.

How many of you post reviews or comments online? Do you feel like you are heard when you have a complaint or suggestion? Do they answer you back?