Everyone's a critic: British chef Sat Bains has bitten back at online negative reviews for his eponymous two Michelin-starred restaurant, calling them "grumpy" and "mysterious, scared guests." Of course, this being the UK, anonymous online critics do their anonymous online critiquing on TripAdvisor instead of Yelp, but the basic concept is still the same.
And his responses, as the Telegraph notes, are often delightfully sarcastic: Customers complaining about the restaurant's cancellation policy "unfortunately due to hysteria didn't and couldn't understand." Another diner who thought "something is missing" was informed that he could "stay away, the 2 for 1's [value restaurants] are missing you [sic] business."
Of course, Bains has a kitchen to run, and so one reviewer gets a note signed "Laura Hope, PA to Sat Bains, as he is such a busy Chef." But not too busy to write responses to other reviews.
He had his wife, front of house manager Amanda Bains, respond to a service complaint but not before noting that had he been made aware of the problem he might have "given him a free night, champagne, wines, accomadation [sic] and a flight to a Vineyard in Bordeaux and layed some wine down for there next visit and opened on Sunday just for them." How thoughtful.
Bains writes in one response that he comments on negative reviews "to give some balance to the review as most nasty reviews are done by hidden guests that do not make themselves known." He finds it hard to take criticism "from mysterious, scared guests who won't even share their experience with us at the restaurant but decide to hide behind a mask and type away to their heart's content." He also wonders, "Why don't people talk to us restaurateurs any more when they have a gripe or are dissatisfied?" Guess that's why, in the US at least, there are services to deal with that now.