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‘Total rip off’: Chef slams brutal review

2 weeks ago 10

A chef has hit back at a customer who left a brutal review deeming his restaurant a “total rip off”.

TripAdvisor and other review sites are the bugbear of many small restaurant owners and English chef Gary Usher has had enough of all the online criticism.

Having last year called a customer out for giving him a “poor” rating, he turned the tables on another this week after she left a one-star review of his restaurant on the site.

The TripAdvisor user began her post with the caption: “TOTAL RIP OFF! I WOULD NEVER EAT HERE EVER AGAIN” before slamming the Sticky Walnut restaurant in Chester, UK, for its “eye-wateringly expensive steak”.

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“If you want to pay £45 ($A80) each for an average piece of sirloin steak and some parmesan chips then this is the place to go!” she wrote.

“When we mentioned to the waitress we thought the menu was misleading, instead of apologising and trying to fix our distress, she got extremely agitated, defensive and frankly rude.

“Sticky Walnut was somewhere I used to look forward to going to but I would council (sic) EVERYONE heading to Chester for a decent meal to avoid this place like the plague unless they like being ripped off.”

The frustrated customer’s review from Monday also included two photos — one of the menu and the other of her £122.50 ($A216) bill.

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The chef and owner sent her a lengthy response the following day.

He began by saying he personally “responds on here every few years so well done on getting me out of Twit-advisor hibernation”.

“The essence of your ‘review’ should be quite simple. You think we’re a rip off, which is probably the most common complaint on the Twit-advisor website.

“So nothing new there. So why am I responding?

“Simply because you wouldn’t let Becky the MANAGER explain at the time.

“In fact it was YOU who got extremely agitated, defensive and quite frankly rude.

“With all set menus there are supplements. On ours it’s our dry aged Aubrey Allen sirloin. In Sticky Walnut it will cost an extra £15 ($A26) per person to have the sirloin instead of, for example, the feather blade of beef.”

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He appeared to have tracked her previous TripAdvisor review for another restaurant — The Dorchestor — saying “their menu is £53 ($A93) for three courses, also with a supplement for the sharing beef of £22 ($A38) per person”.

“Ironically, we use the same butcher,” he said, before asking the woman why she did not complain about that bill or take a photo of the receipt.

The chef guesses the reviewer “spent over £500 ($A882)” at The Dorchester, which she gave a “glowing five star review”.

He then corrected the woman’s spelling before urging her to “be kind” to the “humble neighbourhood bistro”.

“My CONSEL to you in this recession we find ourselves in is to think before you write,” he said.

“Be kind. It won’t cost you as much as a first class flight to Dubai.”

The chef then shared his reply on Twitter attracting more than 40,000 likes with users praising his honesty.

“Gary, this is an absolute masterpiece of a response,” one person wrote.

“In such a difficult, uncertain time for the hospitality industry customers who leave a one star review (for anywhere) need to take a long hard look at themselves.”

Another added that the “damage these reviews do to small business is unfair”.

However, not all agreed, with one person calling him out for “berating a customer for complaining”.

“This is a disgrace and highly unprofessional, as is correcting a customer’s spelling and trawling through her reviews in a stalker-esque way and mentioning details of her private life,” the person wrote on TripAdvisor alongside a one-star review.

It’s not the first time the chef has slammed a customer’s review.

In August last year he hit back at a man who claimed the restaurant “ruined our wedding anniversary”.

The review read: “Booked in for the set menu at 7. Got there at 7, manageress said we had two minutes to decide. Poor!!!”

Mr Usher took to Twitter to explain the customer had “intimidated and scared Becky the manager on shift”.

“(He) left without paying then had the f******g audacity to leave a bad review about his meal.”

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