An Irish Restaurant Owner Had The Perfect Response To A Negative TripAdvisor Review

Websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp are trusted travel resources, largely due to the fact that posted reviews cannot be changed or taken down by the reviewed company. The best thing an owner can do about a negative review is respond publicly to the reviewer and either apologize or at least present the restaurant's side of the story.

That's what Anthony Gray had to do when a disgruntled customer posted a review entitled "HONESTY NOT DELIVERED" on TripAdvisor, accusing him of lack of integrity.

Visiting from Australia, the reviewer said that he and his wife were visiting Sligo, Ireland, where they dined at Gray's restaurant Eala Bhán upon a recommendation.

"The food was quite reasonable," he wrote in his post, giving the restaurant three out of five stars. Despite this, he said that they were "extremely disappointed to find the operator lacked integrity."

The reviewer went on to report: "I accidentally left my Wind Breaker with Eye glasses in pocket." Not realizing it until they had already left town, he called Eala Bhán and spoke with Gray, who confirmed that the jacket was still at the restaurant. Gray agreed to mail the items to the tourist, who sent him his credit card information in order to cover any shipping costs.

After "a week or so," the package had still not arrived, prompting the reviewer to email Gray twice more.

"My wife and I have since returned to Australia, short of one Jacket and one pair of glasses," the reviewer stated in his complaint. "Bottom line is Food might be O.K. But integrity is seriously lacking."

Two days later, Gray took the time to respond to the review, noting that he usually doesn't do so. He started off by expressing satisfaction that the reviewer did, in fact, enjoy the food at his "multi award winning restaurant here in Sligo serving the finest local sourced ingredients on the very edge of the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way!"

However, he then took the reviewer to task with a biting reply:

"I apologise that you forgot your jacket and glasses while dining with us.
I apologise that I had not immediately sent your belongings back to Australia. I should have done a Joe ninety on it and hot tailed it up to the local post office and made your jacket a priority but unfortunately these things don't always happen the way you may have planed. I mean I'm only trying to run 2 restaurants in the middle of summer while my manager whom I'm delight to say is 6 pregnant but unfortunately is suffering God bless her wee soul and out of work resting which i insisted on!!!

Gray went on to point out that, in addition to being a busy restaurateur, he also had his own family life to attend to:

"Having 3 children myself under the age of 10 running around the house like gladiators and tearing to pieces while not going to bed on time, rising like ninjas at dawn I am what you might say just a little tired and a tad busy."

"I should have pushed this way up my priority list but forgot and while all of this is going I'm very busy busting a gut here and in the UK promoting my beloved Sligo. Why do I do this? I love my town, I love it's people, I love every tourist that graces this beautiful part of the world and provides me and my staff with a living."

Gray also took the time to remind the reviewer that he's only human and also to point out what he sees as the reviewer's hypocrisy and pettiness.

"People make mistakes and forget things just like you did with your possessions," he told him. "But to come on TripAdvisor and review me about my lack of postal skills honesty and integrity beggars belief considering I never laid my mince pies eyes on you ! I mean you are butchering my name insofar as my forgetfulness yet it was your forgetfulness that has us here!!!! POT KETTLE BLACK ( Google it)  finally I just checked the weather forecast in your part of sunny Australia and I reckon you will be fairly safe insofar as your lack of windbreaker......jaysus, it's roasting in your spot boi!! You lucky duck!!!"

The restaurant owner then informed the TripAdvisor reviewer that his things had been mailed to him, but "as far as my honesty is concerned I'm not even going to charge your credit card for the post."

Seemingly unable to resist a dig at the man's sense of style, Gray also promised that "the next time you visit the beautiful Emerald Isle and my County I'll bring you shopping locally for a new Wind breaker as far i see its a bit of a crime against fashion."

He also took the chance to reiterate the fact that his restaurant is otherwise well-liked, telling the reviewer that should he write more restaurant reviews, "try to remember us for our qualities which we provide in the abundance of good locally sourced food wine, atmosphere at least that's what we hear consistently form our customers."

Gray ended his note to the reviewer by saying that once it gets colder in Australia and he puts his windbreaker on again, he should "think of your honesty Irish restauranteur who's full of integrity but you never met and who knows you may even break into a smile and give your face a holiday until then keep her lit."

Ranked No. 3 out of 121 restaurants in Sligo, Eala Bhán has a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, having earned an average of 4.5 stars from over 900 reviews.