Friday, May 23, 2014
Here's a story coming from Feast, the one-plus-year-old restaurant on Third Avenue near East 13th Street.
Feast has enjoyed positive reviews, notching a solid 4 our of 5 stars in the Yelp and Open Table worlds. But last week management noticed 13 recent one-star reviews on Google, which comes up first when you search for Feast.
What happened for this many negative reviews to arrive at once?
Toward the end of last month, Feast said that they had a customer arrive as a walk-in for brunch. She was wearing Google Glass. A few months previously, they had another diner wearing a pair and the restaurant received several comments about privacy from other guests. Restaurant staff asked the person to remove them, and he quickly consented.
So when the other diner came in wearing Google Glass, management asked her to take them off before dining. She refused, and left the restaurant.
"We try to give everyone the best experience possible and she didn't get that," Feast management admitted to us.
On April 20, the diner wrote a post about what happened, which apparently angered some of her 3,000-plus Google+ followers.
Around this time the spate of reviews arrived on Google. Feast looked into this, and discovered that all of the one stars are from people who commented on the diner's original Google+ post. The negative reviews include lines such as: "Ignorant bigots and hateful. Perhaps being illegally discriminate too. The food is irrelevant as the service is less than poor." The reviewer lives in Phoenix.
The Google review of Feast is currently 3.1 out of 5 stars, up from 2.4 the previous week.
"When the first thing that comes up when you search Feast in Google is a 3.1, it can really hurt a restaurant like us. Then you have 13 people, which is about half the total reviews, who have never been to our restaurant let alone live in NYC, leave you one-star reviews … it's malicious and technically a violation of Google's own terms for leaving reviews," the Feast manager said. "Again I can understand her leaving the one-star based on her experience, but 12 others with no experience on who we are or what we do is unfair."
The Feast manager figures this will become an even bigger issue for the food-service industry as Google Glass hits the mainstream.
And for Feast, the restaurant doesn't have a final policy on the matter yet. "The fact is that the policy of asking Google Glass wearers to remove them is based off experience. It's not a policy set in stone so it could very well change."