I’ve been informed that I was a bit brutal on the good, hard-working folks at CL&P yesterday. Maybe, but sometimes honesty is mistaken for brutality, and I try always to be honest here on the screed. If any of your relations or friends work for the power company here in Connecticut I’m sure they’re doing the best they can. Whomever is directing them, however, needs to think about another profession.
With that in mind, let’s turn to our Foodie Friday Fun. What else but brutal restaurant reviews? This piece from HuffPo highlights 10 of the most scathing restaurant reviews they could find. The piece makes a good point – brutal reviews are always more fun to read than positive ones. As it turn out, they get wider circulation via social media too. Having written a few bits of snark in my time, I’ll tell you they’re way more fun to write. I mean, it takes a fair amount of effort to find a clever and accurate way to say “it sucked”. Each of the reviews cited is fun – I particularly liked this one from Frank Bruni – and well worth a few minutes of your time. That said, they do raise an interesting business point.
Suppose you were on the receiving end of one of these babies? Are your listening posts set up to recognize them? Is there someone who is designated with responding in a non-confrontational, transparent manner? What do you do if the criticism is accurate and warranted (that gets well beyond fixing some bad reviews, I know)? Can’t happen to you? Check out the reviews not related to restaurants on Yelp sometime. Google will serve up local search results with negative reviews embedded. Private sites such as Angie’s List can kill you with you ever knowing it. Brutal, indeed.
It used to be that a negative newspaper review was bad but not fatal. After all, very few papers have the kind of circulation (even years ago) that could kill a business. Word of mouth could hurt, but that took a long time, giving a restaurant ( or any other business) a margin for error. Not any more. Restaurants open and close in weeks – there is no time to fix it so they need to start out very good and get better, listening to the information flow all the while. That’s brutal!
Are you listening?