To review or not to review? That is the question. I’m not going to answer definitively just yet. But I would like to relate a short anecdote about a recent experience I had concerning that very question.
I worked in hospitality on and off for many years and I know full well what it takes to keep the whole moveable feast afloat. I also know that no matter how good you are as a staff member or how good your food/wine/coffee/lemon infused sparkling water is- it is impossible to keep everyone happy. These days everyone in Australia is apparently a foodie and with websites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and a gazillion food blogs reviewing cafes and restaurants by the dozen it is all to easy for an eatery to get torched by some hard to please Matt Moran wannabe who believes that raising the cuisine bar infinitely legitimises their own status as a ‘foodie’. Little thought is given to the real repercussions of that a cutting review published on Urbanspoon or the like may have for the business in question, its owners and the many staff and produce suppliers that it employs. Added to this is the question of authenticity. For a while I worked in a well known cafe precinct in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and it was a well known fact that rival eateries would post scathing reviews on each others sites, whilst getting friends and family to publish good ones!
I’m not saying poor quality food and bad service shouldn’t be taken to task by a participatory public, just that the opinions posted to these forums should be taken with a grain of (french organic) salt.
My partner and I had a spectacular experience at a regional restaurant in Armidale earlier this year and afterwards out of curiosity I had a peek at restaurant’s reviews on Tripadvisor. Although the reviews were for the most part very positive, there were a few that had quite negative things to say. To me it just didn’t add up.
I was motivated to write about our experience there and was pleasantly surprised a few days later when the owner posted the review to the Facebook page:
Needless to say I was so glad I ended up putting my two cents in and sending some positivity out into the universe, particularly directed towards a hard working regional restaurant supporting fresh, local ingredients and NSW producers.
The pictures in this post are from our night at Neram Harvest plus some of the prettiness of Armidale. Do check out Neram Harvest’s website for details of the delicious delicious things they are doing in New England including their innovative ‘feed me’ menu where the staff decide what you eat and when you eat it. It is the foodie version of ‘letting go’- an experience that some of the more uptight Sydney connoisseurs could probably benefit from! So… remember that grain of salt when reading online reviews and do put your own one in if you’ve had a great experience.
Til next time,