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Mar 11, 2008 05:22 PM

When to post a negative review about service

So there is a restaurant that I frequent a few times a month. It is a neighborhood ethnic restaurant. The food is excellent, the service attentive and enthusiastic despite language barriers, the menu varied, and I like the atmosphere. I have recommended it to many and brought lots of out-of-towners there. This weekend I suffered some of the worst service I have ever had -- and I used to live in Williamsburg Brooklyn. I will likely go back (at least once more) but I'd love to hear opinions about whether I should continue to wax positive and when/whether to reveal this experience. BTW-the food was still excellent it had everything to do with service and timing.

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  1. I'd say start posting about it now. You seem to have a balanced assessment of the place anyway, judging by ``the food was still excellent.''

    1. I'd say before you start posting, you might want to get in touch with management. It's entirely possible they have unwittingly hired a bad egg. I am certain they would want to hear about your experience, especially if they know who you are. Give them a chance to make things right before you start posting a negative review based on one instance of bad service, especially as you have previously loved the place.

      1. By "continue to wax positive" do you mean posting your experience here and name the restaurant, or do you are you asking whether to mention said experience or even recommend the restauant to friends?

        I think it would be quite harsh to post about a place where you're apparently, heretofore, a satisfied customer, based on one sour experience. Better to give it a give it a break/talk to the manager rather than go public.

        1. I never judge a restaurant about one instance of bad service - it just could have been a bad night on the part of the restaurant or the server. Now, two instances of bad service is another story. When I'm posting about a restaurant, I try to tell it like it was when I ate there, but I also try to remember to mention that it was one instance of bad service in comparison to many great experiences. People make their own decisions about the place after that.

          1. I concur with the person who recommended letting the management know before you post something negative to the world They should be given an opportunity to fix the problem--if no one tells them, they will never know.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Erika L

              I agree with your second sentence, and tend to be more, well, vocal (politely of course) than my husband might appreciate. But, at the same time, one's experience is what it is, and I see no reason why someone shouldn't post about it. The fact that one didn't alert management of the problems during the meal, thereby not giving them a chance to fix the situation, is just one factor that other posters can use when evaluating the place. Of course, I'm not talking about people posting vituperative rants, but factual descriptions of their experiences.

              1. re: MMRuth

                We went to a pricey, yet casual restaurant not long ago, where the food was 75% good, but the other 25% was cold or lukewarm. Another problem was that once we told our waiter that we didn't want to order wine or alcohol, just tea, please, he stood off to the side and just watched us. He never once came over to ask if things were to our liking, or any other comments he should have made. Finally, at the very end of the meal another waiter asked how we liked everything and I made a couple comments to him. He fixed one of the problems, but we were ready to go, so I passed on the other "fix." We had plans to meet up with others in a nearby bar for after dinner drinks.

                The following day I called and spoke to the manager, just to let him know, not to be a witch. He asked what our total bill was, which was $100 w/tip, then told me to come by and he would refund the full amount. I told him I wasn't calling to get our money back, just to let him know that the restaurant had some kinks to work out. He insisted and then told me that now he knew he needed to pay more attention to the details. I still have not reviewed this place, because I am torn about what to say. I don't want to trash them, because I want this place to succeed. Since it was our first time there I think I will wait until we go again.

                My main point is that you do need to let the manager/owner know when there is a problem. If it were my place I would want to know.

                1. re: danhole

                  I completely agree with you, but at the same time, I was just trying to say that there are ways to point out service issues without actually trashing the place. When I read reviews, I don't write off a place b/c of reported service issues or, if I still think the food sounds interesting, mixed reviews of the food. That may not be the case for everyone though.

                  1. re: danhole


                    that's refreshing - you weren't one of those people just out for a "freebie". I lurk on Sietsema's WaPo chats on Wed. and there are a LOT of people that would expect a full comp for less than what you experienced

                    1. re: danhole

                      Danhole.... since we live in the same city I am curious ... which restaurant was this? I hate the "turn and burn" attitude from servers when I dont want to bulk up my bill (and their gratuity) with overpriced wine. Did your gratuity reflect your treatment? I'd be interested in trying the place just to see if I get the same reaction from the servers.

                      1. re: Cheflambo

                        It was the Nelore Churrascaria on Montrose. Fixed price, all you can eat brazilian steakhouse. There were separate servers for the tea refills and water, which we got plenty of. We left a bit more than 15% for our tip. Usually we leave 20%, so we really didn't stiff them, just didn't go all out for our waiter. We got there around 6 pm on a Saturday night, and they open at 5 for dinner service. If you go, post in our Texas board. We will try it one more time before we write it off.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      Super, since you've received lots of good service there in the past, it is possible that they were just having an off night. I would certainly give them another chance. If you're friendly with the management, you might mention your bad experience, but dont write them off until you know for sure.