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Café owner boosts business by advertising ‘worst' salad review on TripAdvisor

21 September 2016 by
Café owner boosts business by advertising ‘worst' salad review on TripAdvisor

A Belfast restaurant is having the last laugh after turning a negative review it received on TripAdvisor to its advantage.

Following one customer's description of a prawn salad as being the "worst" salad she had ever eaten, the Harlam Café advertised the fact on a billboard on the pavement outside.

The message on the board read: "Come in and try the worst salad one woman on TripAdvisor ever had in her life".

As a result, intrigued customers are now visiting the café for the first time, many of them ordering the super-healthy Harlem superfood salad for £7.50. The salad contains mixed leaves, locally grown cherry tomatoes, prawns or smoked salmon and home-made wheaten bread.

Faye McFarland, chef-proprietor, who has owned the Harlam Café for seven years, told the BBC that she was personally hurt by the review and wished that any customer who had a problem would speak to her about it.

"I am an approachable person and would always encourage people to come to me and tell me their concerns before they leave and we can sort it out there and then and they don't need to write the reviews that can do a lot of harm," she explained.

"If it is a genuine complaint - and people do have the right to complain - if it's a size issue, overcooked, greasy, I will take it on board and go back to my chefs."

McFarland, who described TripAdvisor as "a hidden way for people to vent their anger", decided to highlight the review and is now reaping the benefits.

"Advertising the dish has attracted people. I think they just want to try this amazing worst salad."

"The tourists' response is incredible. The Americans come in and demand to have a try the prawn salad.

"While this is a bit of fun, these reviews can be very harming. People don't realise I have a staff of 33 and the damage their reviews can do."

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