No restaurant likes having to deal with negative Yelp reviews; especially petty ones. It’s particularly bad when you suspect that Yelp itself may be behind the one-star reviews. But this San Francisco restaurant has come up with a pretty creative (and delightfully sarcastic) way of calling out poor Yelp practices.
Davide Cerretini, owner of Botto Bistro in San Francisco, has decided to call out what he believes to be unfair Yelp practices. Cerretini had been getting as many as 15-20 calls per week from Yelp asking him to advertise with the reviewing website. Finally, Cerretini caved, but after he stopped advertising with Yelp after a while, he noticed something peculiar: namely, five-star reviews started disappearing, and one-star reviews began to pop up more frequently.
So what does he do? Cerretini decided to turn the whole debacle around by making it his mission to be the worst-reviewed restaurant in San Francisco. He put up a sign that advertised all of the restaurant’s faults, like charging for bread, not changing the TV channel, and adding on a $4 fee if guests want to “sniff” their marinara, or take a photo of it. At the bottom of the sign he boasts, “Hate us on Yelp and get 25 percent off any pizza for your one-star review!”
“I don’t have anything against Yelp. The idea is fantastic, but the blackmailing thing is ferocious,” Cerretini told SFGate. “I think I should be the one deciding if I’m on the site or not. At least I can be there on my terms. The only power they have is they make you reliable to them. So, I’m going to be one of the most unreliable restaurants.”
Here are some of our favorite reviews:
“Old people love this place. Eat somewhere better like Olive Garden, at least you'll get bread with your nasty food.”
“Had the cioppino and after going through the Manila clam shells, I found a stone, yes a solid stone. It messed up everything else after that. I know the broth is dark but can't understand how the cook missed it!”
“Great food and great service! I give it one star because the toilet paper in the restroom was too rough for my liking. I will be back next week.”
For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi