Then with the such things as Zagat and the interwebz came the day of the casual review by "regular people". At least Zagat has identifiable standards and some form of managerial/content control. The new ones? Not so much, it seems. And instead of a review that is at least thought out, and hopefully reviewed by an editor before being published (and doesn't everyone benefit from an editor?), we get angry little snippets and off-the-cuff petty little peeves aired on the interwebz forever.
Trouble is, readers don't often know what went on with these petty little peeves, and although sometimes the writer/reviewers reveal themselves as normal everyday shits rather than reasoned reviewers, that's not always the case.
For a bit of insight into what a YELP! review can do, the effect it has, and the classy way one restarateur responded, I pull this Facebook post from a restaurant owner in Portland (and from a pretty good taqueria too.)
I really don't understand some people. They must go through life really angry. Just responded to this Yelp review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/mi-mero-mole-po ... PXib-EY9Gw
We fucked up. Okay. Someone got our happy hour times wrong. Seems like they went a little overboard, especially if they'd had good experiences in the past here.
I responded with the following. I don't follow the Yelp recommendations that say the customer is always right and never to challenge anything the customer says. That should be obvious by the way I treat Yelpers who are, frankly, idiots. But we did make a mistake here. Should I prostrate myself? Maybe it's stupid, but I feel like the truth and fairness is more important than whatever these two customers might have spent in my restaurant in the future. I don't know. You tell me. I can take the criticism, believe it or not:
Glad you enjoyed your previous visits. Sorry that you had a bad experience.
The person who you talked with, Christian, is new and had only worked weekends previously when we don't have a happy hour. He mistakenly thought that because we start the normal menu at 5pm that we also end the happy hour menu.
I was doing payroll in the dining room when you guys came in. I couldn't hear exactly what was said, but it seemed as if Christian was being apologetic by his tone. I'm sorry if you felt he was being cold. Perhaps he was uncomfortable having to tell you something you didn't want to hear and you mistook that as unfriendliness. I've worked with Christian a couple weeks now and while he's not as skilled as Pablo or I at dealing with customers and explaining things, he's always been very polite and often his problem is a lack of confidence. He's a far cry from the aloof Portland kid working at the next hip coffee shop that doesn't care about the customer, just the next party. Christian calls women "Ma'am" and men "Sir". He comes from the South and Latin culture where politeness is required. He isn't working to party. He's working to pay for a roof over his young daughter's head. But then, I see him with hundreds of customers a day and you had just one experience and rarely is one experience the best measure of a person.
After I saw you guys leave, I walked over to Christian to see why. I assumed that it was something such as us not having carnitas, carne asada or chimichangas -- typical reasons people leave. When he explained that he had told you guys that happy hour had ended, I corrected him and he was visibly dispirited. By then, you guys were gone. He looked out the door, but didn't see you.
I joked, saying, "Website hours for happy hour wrong. 1 star." It was disappointing to see that my joke came true, not just because it hurts our overall score or that people will see it and get a mistaken impression of our restaurant and commitment to customer service, but because you guys say you had previous good experiences and after one mistake, you opened a Yelp account and gave us the lowest possible Yelp score and said you'll never come back. It seems so fractious.
We try very hard to have the best customer service of any counter service restaurant in Portland. We are not perfect by any means, but then I don't know any restaurants or people that are. We often go above and beyond. For example, last night we had two guys come by at nearly 9:30pm and be visibly disappointed, throwing up their hands, when they saw that we were closed. They thought we were open until 10pm, as we are on Friday and Saturday. I waved them in and offered to make them burritos to go, the one thing we could still do since our tortilla grills were shut down. They had been celebrating at Landmark for one of the guy's birthdays and they were elated. Today, we had a person call and a couple tables come in prior to us being ready for our full menu. They didn't want the happy hour menu, so I took their orders, got them drinks and chips, and rushed the best we could to try to get them the food before our normal dinner time. Tonight, a lady's shrimp was too spicy for her. I immediately substituted it for something else at no charge even though Pablo had warned her that it was very spicy. We had two tables come up and order food after they had already gotten their previous orders. Even though the board was full with orders, I quickly grabbed their items so they didn't have to wait until everyone was done to get the rest of their food. These are just little things, but they're things we do every day because we want our customers to enjoy their experience.
Seems a shame to base your opinion on one unfortunate mistake, but that's your right. Por Que No is a decent taqueria and perhaps you'll be happier there.
Anyway, I thought I owed you an explanation and an apology for the mistake. I also wanted to let you know how we perceive our commitment to customer service and what my experience is watching Christian interact with customers. If you'd like to have an actual conversation, you can call 503.232.8226 and ask for Nick. I'm here most days that we are open.