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Do Restaurant Owners Respond To Emails or Reviews? [moved from Seattle board]

  • j

Always amazed to see no responses from restaurant owners in Yelp or Chowhound, etc.
In fact, I sent an email directly to the contact at a restaurant with which I had issues and haven't had a reply.
I guess if I were an owner, I'd respond to the review sites.
What's your take?

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  1. Doesn't Chowhound specifically prohibit such replies?

    4 Replies
    1. re: acgold7

      Not sure but Yelp does allow it.
      Have you ever emailed an owner and gotten a reply?

      1. re: JayDK

        Yes. Had a horrible service experience at a supposedly fine restaurant. I sent them an email when I arrived home and received a phone call the next day. They apologized and offered to send me a GC for the price of my dinner. I thanked them but refused it as I had no intention of going back. Just wanted them to be aware of the problem.

        1. re: Mother of four

          Encountered similar, and still have the GC, but have never used it.

          Many years later, wife wanted to try them again. We did, and they were fabulous, with not one missed step, where they dropped the ball many times, on our first visit.

          We have dined there four times, since, and all was very good to excellent. The GC is still in a drawer in my office, and I will not "cash it in."

          What I care about is my ultimate dining experience, and nothing else.

          I do not complain for some compensation. It is first, to express my dissatisfaction, and then to point out places that the service/food could improve.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Well maybe our communication did a little bit to help. Sometimes that's all it takes.....someone that cares to listen and take action.

    2. I'm surprised someone wouldn't respond to a direct email, as it seems like that is part of doing business, and one reason to have contact info on your website. Keeping up with unhappy or uninformed yelpers, on the other hand, probably takes more time and effort than it is worth.

      1. Coming from a head chef owner, I would definitely return a direct email in a timely manner. It takes too much energy to sift through a bunch of anonymous comments. I tell everyone, if you have a problem address it immediately with a manager, that's what they are there for. And if it's a good manager, an establishment that cares and a honest problem it should be fixed with nothing but smiles and apologies. Don't go home and stew about it on the internet, by the time we may read it there is no way fixing it. And if you are too timid to speak to a manager, send a direct email and I'm sure the owner/manager will take all accounts in to consideration and try to keep you as a customer.

        1. Chowhound does not allow owners to post in response to comments, or really to post at all about their establishments. Even posts that mention "I know the mgr/chef/owner" can be pulled. it's in the site rules.

          I have had a couple responses from emails to the restaurant, but my emails were usually compliments - you know - kudos to a spectacular server kind of stuff. If an issue is so bad I need to contact someone, I do it in person at the time.

          1. I have emailed a few complaints/suggestions to restaurants. Most respond and some just ignore.
            CH is very reasonable and sensitive to rants and complaints by first time posters with an axe to grind.

            1. In my experience, many do, though some do not. It just depends.

              One chef replaced his sommelier after I did a harsh review. Was I the only one? Well, only on CH, but there might well have been dozens (hundreds?) elsewhere.

              One owner made some significant changes to his new restaurant, after one of my reviews. Was I the only one? Not at all sure about that.

              I've had chefs, who have moved on, who commented to my reviews, with their "new location," and have also gotten similar e-mails.

              In my experience, some do, but some do not. It just depends.

              Hunt

              1. I got a scathing email from a local chef after criticizing a service issue on a local blog. I would have gone back to his place before his email. Now, I refuse to.

                11 Replies
                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  Janet,

                  Did this person offer to discuss the issue, or was it presented to you as a "closed case," and not in your favor?

                  I have only encountered that once, and it was regarding "cover charges," plus "service charges" in a Euro-restaurant corporation.

                  Otherwise, I have been asked for details, and have always provided those, in as much detail, as I could.

                  I have had chefs, when they are leaving "restaurant ___ " e-mail me, asking how they could improve things. A few have actually tracked me down, and called me. I try to help them, whenever possible.

                  From my perspective, communication is a good thing.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    It was one of the most condescending emails I have even received. I had called several days ahead wanting to order to-go items (not unusual for this place) for about 10 people. We had done this many times (ribs, pulled pork) and was told he could not do it. I asked if I prepaid would it help. He said no. Then he went on to lecture me about how I didn't understand BBQ, ribs, etc. and how since he was the only person in town who knew about real BBQ, I could go elsewhere. I posted about him being rude to me and trashing his competition. His reply included:
                    Sorry if you interpreted my explanation for why we do things as being condescending. Just maybe its because you are not a good listener and don’t want to hear things other than what fits your world. Maybe what you hear is my frustration with speaking to a “wall”. I’m an expert on this subject as I grew up with a parent very similarly inclined.

                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                          Most bizarre is that they've taken pre-orders before and refused to do so now.

                          But his reaction is even more bizarre. So because you don't "understand" BBQ, you can't preorder? Idiotic.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            The whole thing was bizarre.

                            But now it's a good laugh..lol.

                          2. re: Janet from Richmond

                            You have to wonder about some people.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638566 I surfed up this old post because I still remember when a chef responded to a post of mine of CH with some "factual" corrections. It's a question for the ages whether she was lying through her teeth or not, but the restaurant failed and the original owner returned (as did my beloved stickies!!! yay!)

                            I know it hurts to be criticized, but you'd think restauranteurs would understand that people like us WANT THE FOOD TO BE GOOD! That's all we want. We're strangers, we aren't trying to harm them or insult them...we just want our ribs/stickie buns. So why not step back and consider what they could do to improve rather than merely insuring they'll never have to deal with us again?

                            1. re: danna

                              Interesting thread. At one time, I would have highly recommended Johnny's No 1, in Hendersonville, and HWY 25, but I understand that are gone, and possibly before 2009.

                              Going to try and recreate one of our "road trips," and do HWY 25, later this month. Not sure what we will find, but, "You can never go home again... "

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                hwy 25 from where to where? post it on SE , and I'll try to help. As 25 runs through Flat Rock and Asheville, there are some great choices. South of there closer to G'ville...not so much.

                                1. re: danna

                                  Danna,

                                  This was 25 through Hendersonville, but Johnny's # 1 seems to be gone. On the South Board, I posted, long ago, and the daughter, or maybe grand-daughter, commented on how much things had changed.

                                  Hope to find the location, and see what it is now.

                                  Thank you,

                                  Hunt

                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                              That sounds very strange indeed, and maybe highly reflective of some other issues?

                              Sorry to hear that.

                              Hunt

                        2. I have had several communications with restaurant owners, and chefs, regarding some of my reviews, or comments here.

                          In one case, I did a review of a new restaurant, and was as objective, as I could be. On my next visit, things had changed. Many were what I had cited. Were those changes done, because of my review? I will never know. Still, changes were made, and, IMHO, for the better.

                          With one review, I cited the sommelier as a really weak spot in an otherwise great dining experience. That sommelier was replaced, though I will never know if my review and comments were part of that. Similar happened, 4,000 miles away, and the sommelier was replaced too. Was I part of that? I will never know, nor do I care. I am only concerned with the final dining experience for me, and for all others.

                          I have commented on particular dishes (both good and bad), and have seen those dishes retained on a menu, and also eliminated from a menu. Was it me? I will never know, and nor do I care. It is not about me, in any way, but on the ultimate menu for others.

                          Some folk, who review restaurants wish to think that it IS about them. I do not.

                          Hunt

                          1. Last Tuesday I emailed the resto I'd had brunch at to let them know how disappointed I'd been with my meal. Nothing yet. An apology would have been nice, or even a 'that's new, we are still working on it, thanks for your opinion'. But no. I know I should have said something at the time, but I was really hungry, and the server seem busy and never asked. But I left feeling dumb for having paid full price plus tip. Oh well.

                            1. Some do, some don't..................
                              Many restaurants have websites because someone told the owner they have to have one. The chef/owner may know nothing about computers/internet or email.
                              The website may never have been updated.
                              If you want a response to your contact or email, take a look at the website. It's now July 31, 2012, if the copyright date on the website is 2011 or older, the chances are you will not get a response. This shows an obvious neglect of the web presence of the establishment. Out of date content shows either the inability of the owner to make changes or the lack of belief in the internet as a marketing tool.
                              An up to date website is a sign that your email comments are truly welcome and should elicit a response.

                              1. I had a horrible experience at a local winery, and wrote an email to the manager to tell of the experience. I got a 'thank you, we will look into it' reply. I emailed him again, complimenting him on the place (it is lovely) and said that I hoped that they would get the the problem ironed out.

                                I got the exact same 'thank you, we will look into it' back.. I expect them to be out of business any day.

                                1. A year or two back, I sent a letter (snail mail) to a tavern in a town near us that we'd gone to a few times for lunch. The one time we went for dinner, it was not a good experience at all, and I thought the management should know the missteps that occurred. I got back a very nice letter from the owner, apologizing and thanking me for letting him know. He included a $50 gift certificate. We did use it when we went for lunch again some months later.