Two-Michelin-starred chef Sat Bains has hit back at his critics on TripAdvisor by posting his own reviews of their complaints, labelling them as “boring” company and “exaggerated”.
Bains, who in 2007 picked up a perfect 10 out of 10 score for his starter on the BBC cooking competition Great British Menu, has taken to the online reviews site to respond to negative feedback with his own sarcasm-laced comments.
He told one unhappy customer who complained about the atmosphere in the restaurant that their group resembled a wake, and added: “The only reason the staff stuck around was to make sure they were still breathing, as a death of grumpy customers is not something I want on my conscience.”
In response to a reviewer who queried the value of a “nearly £300” meal, Bains replied: “Just a quick clarification, the bill was £255 not ‘nearly £300’. I would hate for people to think I exaggerate!! Wink wink!”
Another commenter wrote: “The food is good but not exceptional, the prices too high and there is just something missing here.”
But Bains hit back: “I know what’s missing… You. Now stay away, the 2 for 1’s are missing your business.”
In response to a review littered with misspellings, he replied: “Your review was one of the most innovative, creative and funniest we had read in a long time.
“One of my favourite programmes was Jackanory and now I know one of its chief writers hasn’t lost their touch. Maybe I would invest in a dictionary, though…”
The chef opened his eponymous restaurant with rooms in 2002, and a year later it became Nottingham’s first Michelin-starred venue.
Bains, who admitted that critical comments left anonymously upset him, said that the main reason he responded to negative reviews was to give some balance.
Responding to one reviewer, Bains said: “Most nasty reviews are done by hidden guests that do not make themselves known. This is my business and I do take all criticism very seriously, but I’m finding it harder to do so away 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.
“We always invite guests into the kitchen for good and bad comments. We like to call it customer feedback. Why don’t people talk to us restaurateurs any more when they have a gripe or are dissatisfied? I do understand that our food is not going to suit all palates and that, for me, surely is part of the whole adventure.”
TripAdvisor has come under fire in the past from hoteliers and restaurateurs who say that negative reviews can destroy their business.
A spokesman for TripAdvisor said: “We allow representatives of hotels or restaurants to respond to reviews written about their property. Responses meeting our posting criteria will be displayed directly below the relevant review.”
Some of Bains’s comments have since been taken down.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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