“YELP you, you YELPing YELPers!”
Although YELP is a tool used by many, most industry peeps are not big fans. I think this is because, as Ingrid Croce said, “It gives everybody a voice. EVERYBODY.” I know exactly what she meant. It can be helpful and interesting, but it also lets people be unfair or malicious with no one to tell them that they can’t be. There is a certain passive/aggressive-ness that is present on poor one/two star YELPS. Comments like, “It was too expensive.” “I was cold.” “We had to wait too long to be seated.” Sure, these are negative, but shouldn’t customers/guests have to elaborate? “It was too expensive.” Well, were the prices on the menu? Did previous YELP reviews inaccurately describe the price? Where is the restaurant located? What is the cuisine? You shouldn’t complain about Wagyu or sushi being expensive because they are expensive!! I had a table complain about caviar being so expensive and they thought it was salty. Well, it is salty and we charge the price for the portion listed. C’mon, you are an adult. You are responsible for your decisions. “I was cold.” Are you always cold? Did you let your server or the manager know that you were chilly? As restaurant workers, we rarely know that it is cold because we are moving quickly, through the dining room into the usually much warmer kitchen and back out again. Nobody wants unhappy customer/guests, but you have to express these issues to the staff. We are not psychics. People, please use your words. “We had to wait too long to be seated.” Well, was it a Saturday night at 8:00? Did you have reservations? Were you very late or very early? The world is an imperfect place, sheesh. I often chuckle to myself, wondering how I can be in a better mood than some of my diners. You are at dinner! Drinking wine! It would have been better wine but you asked my opinion and then promptly, without fail, ignored it! But still, at dinner, drinking wine! You ask me for something and I have to bring it even if it is the 17th lemon for your tap water! Oh, and I almost forgot your straw... your house must have a drawer in the kitchen just for your water straws. Quick recap: drinks, food, personal servant. How can you be unhappy? If you aren’t enjoying something, we fall over ourselves to correct it, often taking it off the bill. Chin up, peeps. Life is hard, dinner is not. end waiter rant
Now, for the awesomeness of YELP. I recently found myself on the big island of Hawaii, and I ate better than King Kamehameha. The number one YELP-rated restaurant is on the big island with two locations, and I hit both of them! Da Poke Shack, I freaking love you. I have mercury poisoning now, but, if anything, that has just caused my heart to unhealthily swell to twice its normal size making me love you even more. Joking aside, I used YELP on the daily and it enhanced my whole island experience. I enjoyed the freshest fish and most amazing island grindz evah, brah. I am such a poser! Whatever, a poser with a bellyful of manapua and fresh passion fruit. Have you ever had fresh passion fruit? It is like the sourest, most delicious alien brain-looking fruit in this world—out of this world! We ate at a darling little restaurant that claimed to be the southern-most restaurant in the U.S. It’s true claim to fame should have been the Lilikoi bars. I was a stranger in a strange land and YELP made all of my amazing culinary adventures possible. This is what YELP was made for...to help people eat well and, I thank you for that, YELP.
YELP is yin and yang, man. Some people use its power for evil, but isn’t that just like life? I will end my article with a super famous proverb by, like, Aristotle or Plato, or maybe it was Shakespeare who said, “You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both, and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.*” Actually, maybe it was Mark Twain...
*Facts of Life theme song written by Alan Thicke, Al Burton, and Gloria Loring Those last two are totally Robin Thicke’s parents!