As a consumer I really like Yelp. As a restaurateur? Not so much. My restaurant, Sugo Trattoria, has a solid four stars out of five in their rating system, so I am not just saying this because our reviews suck, because they don’t…most of the time.

And I am more than willing to admit that on occasion we screw up. As I am sure you sometimes do too.

But, here’s a prime example of why as a restaurateur I am sometimes not a fan of Yelp:
yelp review

Apparently, I need to bathe. According to a knowledgeable Yelper, I stink. They actually said the “owner”, so technically this can mean either me or my husband. But, have you seen the man? He’s pretty even when he wakes up in the morning and after 14 hours of travel, with severe jet lag.

See exhibit A below. This was after a fourteen hour flight with no sleep for over twenty-four hours.
Peter at Min Jiang
And any guy whose nail beds look like this everyday can not possibly be accused of being stinky. His feet are also naturally as smooth as a baby’s butt and he has NEVER had a cavity. Can you sense the jealousy?
Pete's Hand

Besides, if you were close enough to smell him, you need to take a step back, away from his two foot bubble…and mine.

So, that would lead me to believe that the reeking comment was in reference to me. I immediately smelled my armpits. All good there. And today my hair smells like strawberries. Nice. I also used coconut-lime lotion on all my limbs.

If anything, I am going to overdose potential Yelp authors with scents of fruit.

This would appear to be an attack on us personally, most likely from a disgruntled employee. What? Us? Turns out they can get pretty angry when you do crazy things like fire them for not doing their job.

So, what is our recourse as business owners?

We Can Respond
Here is the problem as the restaurant owner: If I were to respond to this comment I look like the desperate (& a bit pathetic) restaurateur trying to justify why we could possibly be smelly that day. And that just ain’t gonna happen. I don’t respond to stinky crap. Pun intended.

We Can Flag the Review
If I flag the review and tell Yelp that it is a disgruntled employee and I would like the review removed, they will most likely think it is just another owner excuse, much like the ones given while trying to escape a speeding ticket.

What do I do? I do nothing, except wear a little extra deodorant, hoping that people are savy enough to read between the lines. And, if not, I can offer free whiffs of my underarms.

For the record, we take showers daily and most people think we smell pretty good.

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