Positive approach to poor restaurant reviews

“THIS PLACE SUCKS” isn’t exactly something you expect to read on the shirt of a server when ordering lunch, but it’s an example of the uniform at Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco. The restaurant has taken poor comments published on Yelp, a public review website, and made t-shirts out of them, reports The New York Times (see picture, right, from the article).

[W]hen customers order a margherita pizza with fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and basil, their server might bring it to them wearing a T-shirt that reads: “The pizza was soooo greasy. I am assuming this was in part due to the pig fat” under a rating of one out of five stars.

Anne Stoll, who owns Delfina with her husband Craig Stoll, said,

“We were just having fun with Yelp. It kind of takes the seriousness out of it and pokes fun at it a little bit. We really have no recourse. Anyone can write anything they want on Yelp. There are no checks and balances, so this is our way of being able to have a voice.”

Yelp reviews for Delfina aren’t all bad. A glance at the website shows a fair share of positive review, with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars, though some comments may just be an attempt to get on a shirt  (see right).

Delfina openly discloses poor reviews, turning negative comments into something that gets patrons talking, ultimately creating positive marketing. Restaurants confident in the safety of their product will use a similar approach, making their inspection results public regardless of judicial regulations, and challenging the inspection process. Instead of complaining that inspection is an unfair representation of what goes on in a restaurant, take a proactive approach and disclose these flaws to the public, or in the case of Delfina, flaunt the bad reviews with pride.