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Should restaurant owners respond to Yelp/Urbanspoon reviews?

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Hello fellow CHers.

My question is fairly easy to respond to through the title, but some background.

There is a certain restaurant in my town, and I know the owner quite well.
Strangely, whenever he gets a negative review, within a few hours there are about ten new reviews praising his restaurant. Coincidence?
Last week I bailed him up in this and he insists that it's not his family and friends creating new accounts and posting glowing reviews. I call bullshit.

I used to work for a high end restaurant where the owner simply refused to respond to social media reviews. His reasoning was that anyone with a reasonable complaint should be dealt with before they leave the restaurant, and if they don't have the integrity to actually talk to the venue and sort things out, the review on social media is just a cowardly rant.

What say you?

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  1. I would say that it depends entirely on the situation. If the complaint is not dealt with by the restaurant....AND, the review is honest in their airing of grievances; then by all means, have at social media. As to whether or not it's friends and relatives, you sir are correct in the bullshit call. It's entirely too convenient. It is similar to amazon reviews where the person is reviewing the restaurant, not the book or it's recipes.