One of the Greatest Yelp! Responses to Date |

One of the Greatest Yelp! Responses to Date

Yelp! can oftentimes be a thorn in the side of any restaurateur-more often than not you get feedback from reviewers who don't know the first thing about what they're critiquing you for. Making things worse is that it's often smarter just to grin and bear it than to escalate the complaint and draw additional attention to it. But when yelper Julia M reviewed Jo's in Manhattan yesterday with unrelenting spite, owner Johnny Santiago did not hold back: "It has been said , 'An educated consumer is our best customer,' clearly you do not fall into this category. You are an idiot." And then he really points it…

How would you have handled a situation like this? Read the entire exchange below:
Julia M:
"We were served a completely raw burger that was charred black on the outside and tasted distinctly of propane. When we politely mentioned it to the server we were rudely "corrected" by a manager who indicated that that the burnt flavor was actually the smoked onions, which was noted on the menu. I'm pretty sure propane and smoked onions are very different flavors. Don't be drawn in by the cute decor - the wine list is overpriced and there is a reason why the food is cheap. Because it is utterly foul and the service is just as bad.

In my two years of living in New York City I have never had a worse dining experience. EVER. There is a reason why they have available last minute tables available. This is on my list of places never to return to. Too bad because it's a great location with lots of potential."
"It has been said , "An educated consumer is our best customer", clearly you do not fall into this category. You are an idiot.

I remember your table, after you and your girlfriend shared a burger and ate the whole thing except for the last bite, (I'm sure you also do the same with desserts you share with your friends) you then choose to complain about the burger, after our server checked in with you several times during your meal, I even took the burger off of your're welcome.

So to help you out, let me educate you:

First, we do not use propane gas, you're not from NYC, so let me inform you that no one in NYC uses propane gas in their kitchens, unless you're eating off of a food truck.

Second, as far as the quality of our product, we use the same meat, fish and vegetable purveyors as Keith McNally, Daniel Boulud, Freeman's, Burger and Barrel, etc, etc, etc.

Third, based on standard industry mark ups compared to our mark up, our wine list is the best value list in NYC, by at least 30%.

Fourth, There is an Applebee's in Times Square, I think you would feel more comfortable there with their sugary drinks, White Zinfandel, a bottle list that caps out at $35 and they won't cook their red meat under medium. (like all major chains outside of NYC, the warning is written on the menu for you).

Welcome to NY, now please go back to where you came from. I am very thankful that you will not be returning to my establishment.

Best regards,
Johnny Santiago (Jim Chu's business partner @ Jo's)

btw,- Since you're new to NYC, the quote at the top of my response is from Sy Syms."
Source: Yelp! via Eater


timthechef • 06/01/2011
I wish I owned a restaurant and had the moxy to let it all out like that , but its not a good way to deal with disgruntled customers .
jezratty001 • 06/01/2011
that's more than moxy, it's catharsis...
c00kerb0y • 06/02/2011
A guest comments that they were served a raw burger that smelled like propane and the owners response is to question their food knowledge and call them an idiot? You should be forced to hand over the keys to your restaurant.
haisoodewa • 06/02/2011
It's not something I'd ever do, but I think his risky move paid off. Didn't sound like that customer was ever coming back, and he actually received a fair amount of positive press for his response. That being said, things could have gone real ugly real fast for him.
kkelley • 06/02/2011
after having delt with some pretty poor coments by people who clearly have no idea what they were ordering or what good food is i comend him what qualifies these people as critics how about if chefs start critiqueing other profesion outside our area of training
mwhite003 • 06/03/2011
Obviously in this business we have all had guests or customers like this. We call them bad customers. The manger did his job by addressing the table and working on guest satisfaction by comping the burger. The guests have exhibited a character trait called "You can't please me even by tap dancing", but they ate the whole thing instead of ordering another burger or something else. Here is my take, I am a Professional Chef of 30 years, when I dine out and something is wrong with my food because it is prepared incorrectly, I let my server know. If they don't correct it, I don't go back. If they make every effort to service the customer, they will earn my return business. Like your Grandmother used to say," If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". That customer is into Grandstanding and being the center of attention.
bbay001 • 06/16/2011
I was told once "It is just as easy to fire a bad customer as it is to fire a bad employee" It is the hardest thing to confront people especially when your lively hood depends on the business but that being said if you can't make them happy then put it to bed. Lately a lot of people like to believe they are more qualified now adays to tell people how to do their jobs and what is wrong. Mr. Santiago my hats off to you for standing your ground and sharing your thoughts. He could have responded the way the customer wanted him too (free meals, drinks and gift cards) but then they would have complained again and the circle begins instead he put it to bed "Don't like it, Don't come back"
kaido6110 • 06/27/2011
I'm truly sorry i know most people think that the customers always right...but they are NOT. Some people are just dumb and can't be pleased. I as head chef of a sushi bar deal with dumb people all the time. Just because i'm white they think i don't know sushi. I studied in japan and 90% of the japanese here learned here NOT japan. Yelp is a garbage site full of complaining stupid people that really dont know shit sorry but truth hurts i think the reply that he made was great. People should start respecting others more and complaing less FACT
mathom • 06/29/2011
while i believe it is important to remember whom we work for as chefs/ restaurant owners (it is customers who pay our bills) I also believe that we take far too much in the way of criticism from, for the most part under informed diners. Good riddance to people like julia m.
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