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Jan 18, 2009 07:02 AM

What is your personal Chowhound Policy for dealing with bad restaurants?

I’ve recently decided the best action is no action. Better these places should die in anonymity than be given any publicity at all. The only exceptions would be if someone specifically stated they were considering going to a particular bad restaurant or CH Worst lists.

In the past I would have considered constructive criticism to be just that. Constructive. Something that would tell the owner here’s what you can work on. Recently, though, there has been an abundance of posts about a local poseur restaurant with food ranging from mediocre to bad. No one has a kind word to say, but boy they devote a lot of inches to saying it. It seems it only serves to fill this unworthy resto with patrons.

How do you deal with bad restaurants?

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  1. Guess it depends how you define "bad"...
    If it is a mediocre place, let it wallow in it's mediocrity. Ignore it so it can die.
    If it is a place with real potential if it changed something, or had some fault that could be easily fixed (ie, great meal, bad service), put it out there. I'd like to know if a place had great food but the atmosphere of a bus station.
    Really bad, I'd like to know. Why waste money/time/digestive health?

    1 Reply
    1. re: BeeZee

      Just to say what a fabulous answer this was. Perfect :)
      Happy eating :), Oana

    2. What's the saying? Tell a couple people when you've had a good experience, tell 1000 when you've had a bad one? And actually there's been many proven studies made that people trust more negative reports, than positive ones. So, whereas it may look like they are getting too much ink for being mediocre, the negative waves are rippling in the thousands.

      My sense is that these trendy places know exactly what they are and are in it for more of a cash grab, or cash hide, as it were. They usually don't survive.

      Personally, I consider myself burned, and just don't go there again. Unless it's truly bad. And then I find a manager and complain. Not really to get anything specific out of it (although you usually do), but more so to get it off my chest. It's healthy to get things off your chest.

      1. I review them as I encounter them - the good, the bad and otherwise.

        As I often have experiences that counter another reviewer’s (CH, or otherwise) experiences, I leave it up to the person accessing the reviews to read and decide. I attempt to be as objective, as I can, and describe everything in detail. Heck, sometimes my “horrible dining experience,” might not seem so bad to another.

        If the experience was adequately bad, I write a letter to the GM, Food & Beverage, whatever, and let them know with as much detail and as little emotion, as I can muster.


        1. Good or bad or in between, if I feel the need to share it's generally through my blog. I generally don't post about a particular place here unless the subject comes up in another thread as my region is a slow one and I got tired of writing reviews that gathered no response (or so it seemed).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Janet from Richmond


            As one who reads the South board, whether we're traveling there or not, I wonder why you do not review restaurants there.

            Now, I am not doing a blog, and CH is my main outlet, but I am curious. Please do not get me wrong on this. I just want to share with other "hounds," what I have experienced, good, bad, or otherwise.

            Just curious,


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I used to post about them all the time and when I started my blog, I sort of gave up on it, but I should get back to it.

          2. For new places, I tend to wait a few months before making any judgments or posting on CH. I want to give them some time to work out the kinks.

            For a well established and well regarding place, if I had an off night, I might post to ask if there have been any changes with the restaurant. I want to know if it was just an off night or is the place going downhill.

            If someone specifically asks about a place, I'll share my experiences good or bad, new or established restaurant.

            One instance where I felt the restaurant was horribly inappropriate and where the manager was given an opportunity to correct the situation or at the very least apologize and did neither, I did come to CH to tell all of my bad experience.