Social Media - Restaurants Fight Back

For years now, customers have had the opportunity to express their feelings about restaurant food and service to their friends and followers with no real consequence. Put your hand up if you've ever tweeted, posted a Facebook status update or an Instagram picture expressing your joy or dismay at service you've received or a meal you've been served. I thought so - hands down.

The most a restaurant could do is let some of their regulars know about the feedback and if it's negative, help them fight it. It has been known for a while that a restaurant's brand advocates will stand up for their favourite eating place when its in trouble and whole-heartedly agree when positive feedback is posted.

But what happens when a restaurant jumps the gun and take matters in to their own hands? This has been the case twice (that we've seen) over the past couple of months. The first example of a restaurant fighting back was Press* Food & Wine when a group of (what turned out to be) Sydney food bloggers dined at the restaurant and held up score cards.

Press* Food & Wine - Twitter rant
Click here to see the Twitter conversation

Garnering 52 retweets and 25 people opting to add it as a Favourite, you could say it caused a stir. Was it posted in haste? Probably. Was it posted in the heat of the moment? More than likely. Was it ballsy? Definitely. If the objective was to warn other customers not to hold up score cards, they achieved it through the example of humiliation. If the objective was to shame the bloggers, it kinda backfired when the name of the blog was released and lots of people (including us) jumped over to check out their blog.

Then last night, Australia's Best Hotel with Australia's Best Restaurant (AHA National Awards, just last week) posted this:

The Lion Hotel's Facebook rant
The Lion Hotel's Facebook rant

It would appear that Travis booked a table for ten guests and failed to show up to the booking. Whoever is responsible for this post took a pretty good photo, dedicated it to Travis and posted it to The Lion Hotel's 9,000+ Facebook community. The Likes and comments flowed in. At last look, 201 Likes and 36 comments. Here's a taste of what was said:

The Lion Hotel's Facebook rant - Comments

The Lion Hotel's Facebook rant - Comments

We spent a good 30 minutes discussing this between ourselves this morning, each of us with a different opinion. Some say power to The Lion, Travis deserves to be named and shamed because no-shows cause lost turnover in hotels - who can argue with that? But maybe Travis did go to The Lion last night but the balmy weather lead him and his nine mates to sit outside in the gorgeous beer garden. Or maybe he was sick or injured? or maybe he did call to cancel but the staff member who took the call failed to pass the message on. Who knows and really, it doesn't matter because The Lion took it into their own hands and let its fans know that Travis let them down.

Note: The Lion Hotel has since removed the post.

It begs the question: Is it ok for restaurants to name and shame when things don't go their way or is it par of the course of hospitality where customer service always comes first, even if the customer isn't right? We'd love your feedback, please let us know your thought in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

[UPDATE] The Lion Hotel posted this earlier today: The Lion Hotel apologises unreservedly for a recent inaccurate and inappropriate post that implied a 'no show' in the name of 'Travis'

With egg all over our face, let us point out that Travis and friends did show and were dining happily in another part of the hotel. We messed up on every step of the way and managed to offend a wonderful and (at least until now) regular customer and draw attention to our own inadequacies and game fisted ness (sic).

Travis and friends, we apologise!


  1. Interesting and thought-provoking post guys.


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