Clicking my way to inner tranquility
One my favorite buttons in the admin section of RehobothFoodie.com is the one labeled “Send to Trash”. With one click it allows me to quietly vent any annoyance that might have manifested itself in the form of a nasty return email. An example of catharsis if there ever was one.
I process about 50-60 review comments every day. In order to maintain as much objectivity as possible, I make it a policy to post every intelligently stated comment – positive or negative - that my kind visitors take the time to write. (By the way, “I was underwhelmed,” “I didn’t like it” and “Don’t go!” – devoid of any clarification – are not intelligently stated. Click. Send to Trash. Ahhh….)
There are two other types of comments that give that button a workout. The first is the self-righteous note from someone who actually had to wait (horror of horrors!) for a table. Really? This apparent member of royalty wants to eat at a popular restaurant – but resents having to wait in line? I am not making this up: People actually email me stuff like, “I’m never going to that restaurant again! I had to wait 25 minutes for a table.” It’s all I can do to not respond with something like, “I can send you a list of places where you will always find a seat. But you’d better hurry – they probably won’t be around for very long.” But I curb my enthusiasm with The Button.
The second topic that has no place on a restaurant review website is one that focuses only on price. Commentary on price alone is not relevant to the quality of food or service. I kid you not: I received a note from a site visitor who complained about a restaurant located in Rehoboth’s high-rent district (close to the ocean on Rehoboth, Baltimore or Wilmington Avenues). “I liked [so-and-so restaurant], but their prices are at least one-and-a-half times higher than a similar restaurant where I live,” he whined. “I’m not going back!” Nothing else. Just that. Click.
Aside from the obvious fact that the restaurant in question – where he liked the food, by the way - probably pays twice the rent than the “similar restaurant” to which he refers, affordability is nothing more than a personal issue between him and his wallet. Restaurants set their prices somewhere between covering their costs (rent, labor, utilities, more expensive ingredients, etc.) and still being able to attract customers. If those prices are not balanced by quality food and service, the restaurant will go out of business when the owner’s bank account runs dry. If the prices are set too low, they will still go out of business because they couldn’t cover their costs. It’s a balancing act, but skilled restaurateurs have mastered the simple math.
Customers who are concerned only with price may either (1) choose a lower priced restaurant (there are many that are quite good here in the Cape Region), or (2) send an indignant post to Yelp, TripAdvisor or perhaps RehobothFoodie.com, at which time I get to click “Send to Trash” once again. It calms my nerves and leaves room for the great majority of comments that actually impart useful information to my kind and faithful visitors.