Strategic clicking brings inner peace
One my favorite buttons in the admin section of RehobothFoodie.com is the red "Send to Trash" button. With one click it allows me to cathartically vent any annoyance that could have manifested itself in the form of a nasty return email. Nobody wants that; especially me.
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 commentary other than that - are not intelligently stated. Click. Send to Trash.)
There are two other types of comments that give the STT button a workout. The first is the self-righteous note from a person who actually had to wait (horror of horrors!) for a table. Really? You want to eat at a popular restaurant that everyone likes – but you resent 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 35 minutes for a table." It's all I can do to not respond with something like, "Oh, 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."
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 the 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.
Leaving aside the obvious fact that the restaurant in question – that he liked, by the way - probably pays twice the rent than the "similar restaurant" to which he refers, affordability is nothing more than a personal issue for each individual guest to decide.
In order to stay competitive, 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 probably go out of business after 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. In practice, it's a complicated balancing act, but still simple math and common sense.
The effect of price at a brand new restaurant in a resort community will become obvious after the opening crowds have settled down and the reality of the off-season sets in. If the proprietors are able to maintain the quality of food, service and attitude, people who appreciate such things will continue to visit. 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 RehobothFoodie.com, at which time I get to click “Send to Trash.” It not only calms my nerves, but it also leaves room for the great majority of comments that actually impart useful information to my kind and faithful visitors.