Meet Charlie 44 he is the head chef of a well established restaurant in downtown Auckland, New Zealand – and a personal friend of mine..
Let me tell you more about Charlie, so hopefully you get a better picture..
Charlie is a fantastic guy, he has been the head chef for 9 years now, I have known him and his family for 7 years. In those 7 years I don’t think he has ever worked less than 14 hours a day.. not because he has to, but because he likes to.. Cooking is a passion, something he loves to do, and something he is very good at. Charlie is the kinda guy that no matter what, will give you the shirt off his back.
Charlie needs his paycheck to support himself and his family, but it’s the happy customers and the wonderful feedback he gets from returning customers that keep him happy. Charlie could be your son, your husband, your father, your brother or like me a good friend, no matter what he could be, you would be proud of Charlie…
Years ago people went to a restaurant armed with an appetite, family members or friends, now more and more people are going armed with camera’s, video recorders,laptops and HUGE EXPECTATIONS with ONE thing in mind.. to post their dining experience online.
We all know that the best website to hang out all your dirty laundry is TripAdvisor. They allow anyone to create as many accounts as they like, and start posting lies and libel reviews. TripAdvisor has even created a “Cottage Industry” of posting Fake Reviews. In the current market you can easily earn $20 for a fake review.
We have posted numerous articles showing how easy it is to post fake reviews, damage someones reputation, blackmail establishment owners and hijack anyone’s TripAdvisor listing ALL using TripAdvisor.
Well established restaurants became well established because of happy customers, and the customers were happy because of good food and service.. that is how it was, and that is how it should be.
Thanks to “Gutter” sites like TripAdvisor, this is no longer the case, and actually it is now the complete opposite, well established restaurants and chefs are being dragged through the shit, and at the same shitty start up so called restaurants are getting excellent reviews…. Coincidence ??
Back to Charlie
In the 9 years that he has been working at this restaurant, the restaurant had 47 reviews on TripAdvisor, 43 excellent and 4 very good. He nor anyone else at the restaurant ever discussed TripAdvisor, and no one was ever asked to leave any form of feedback. To Charlie TripAdvisor did not really mean much, that saying, of course he was happy and pleased with the reviews previous customers had left in the past 9 years.
Things changed last year when two new restaurants opened. One restaurant was 3 blocks away, and the other restaurant was 3 miles away, however they were both owned by the same person.
At the exact same time both new restaurants started getting excellent reviews, and suddenly Charlies restaurant started getting terrible and personal reviews.. Coincidence ?..
in the past 10 months 2 new restaurants get MORE reviews than an established restaurant got in 9 years, and in the same 10 months Charlies restaurant got 5 negative reviews, the only negative reviews in 9 years.. Coincidence ?
my wife ordered lamb chops that were under cooked, cold and tough, my steak was over cooked, I ordered rare and it was definitely well done, the mushroom sauce came from a can. There was thick dust on the radiator.
Lamb under cooked? highly unlikely but cannot be proved.
Steak over cooked ? highly unlikely but cannot be proved
Mushroom sauce from a can ? Impossible, we do not offer mushroom sauce
Thick dust on radiator ? what radiator, we don’t have any radiators in the restaurant.
TripAdvisor’s advice to Fake reviews is simple.. People will look at all the reviews and make their own judgement..
Now that is fine advice for Charlie, who now has five slanderous reviews on the first page of TripAdvisor, the only page that counts!!
So what is Charlie supposed to do?
Contact TripAdvisor I hear you say… Well, if this what you thought, then you obviously have not got a clue! HOWEVER, he did contact TripAdvisor, actually it took him 8 times to contact TripAdvisor just to get ONE lousy response 5 weeks after he first sent them a message.. The message was short and simple, the negative reviews were within TripAdvisor’s guidelines and would not be removed.
So, no need to prove there is NO mushroom sauce on the menu, and NEVER has been. And being able to prove there are no radiators in the restaurant is not enough, because the Fake review falls within TripAdvisor’s guideline!
So should Charlie start a counter attack, and start posting positive reviews about the restaurant he works at ?..
Hell YES – I say, that is exactly what I would do..
But not Charlie, he refuses to go down that road, and to make things worse, he as asked us to NOT to post any reviews based on our opinion about the restaurant.
Wannabe restaurant critics and TripAdvisor are becoming a huge problem for restaurants and chefs. We all know you can NEVER please a wannabe anything, well, a wannabe food critic is the worst, they really fuel themselves on negativity.
They are far more interested in taking photo’s of the meals, than they are in eating it!.. these people are NOT out to enjoy a meal, they are out to find issues and post them on gutter sites like TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor knows they are destroying reputations, reputations that have taken years, and sometimes generations to build, and TripAdvisor sits back and does Jack Shit to combat the problem.
In a recent interview on the BBC [ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16501967 ] the creepy Stephen Kaufer beat around the bush when asked about the huge problem fake reviews were on TripAdvisor, claiming there wasn’t a problem. What he did say was that TripAdvisor were good at finding fake reviews, and had 10 years of experience in doing so…
Here is what we have to say to Stephen Kaufer and TripAdvisor about this…
FUCK YOU and FUCK your useless methods to find Fake Reviews.. Get your arrogant head out of your pathetic arse, you have not got a clue how to find fakes.. You know this, you know it’s a huge problem, you know it is doing extreme damage to people’s livelihood, you know establishment owners are being blackmailed, and you do NOTHING to put an easy end to these problems.
Expedia is doing the right thing, as soon as they got rid of the huge Tumor they were carrying around called TripAdvisor, they published a statement that they were going to verify all reviews SEE HERE
This just goes to show how big a problem TripAdvisor and fake reviews really is, if a parent company releases a statement like this, just days after the spin-off.
Until TripAdvisor finally does the right thing, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s, bars, pubs, night clubs and all other establishments will have to put up with TripAdvisor knowingly posting Fake and libel Reviews.
I know that EVERY Chef that reads this will KNOW that as a Head Chef, or Chef, you take ANY negative reviews personal. Every chef knows and understands that you cannot, and will never be able to please everyone. Like Charlie, most head chefs work very long days, they enjoy what they do. Deep down Charlie has lost a lot, and the sad thing is, there was or is NOTHING he can or could have done to stop it… Thanks to TripAdvisor, and some sad fuck that is happy TripAdvisor will post his / her lies.
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