Restaurant Review Rebellion
Restaurant review sites such as TripAdvisor are being criticised by french chefs and restaurant owners as being damaging, unfair, and often written with no real knowledge of the restaurant reviewed.
A petition by Michelin-starred chef Pascal Favre d’Anne entitled «Non aux avis insultants envers les restaurateurs» (No to damaging restaurant reviews) already has has over 1,500 signatures, including some of the biggest names in French gastronomy.
According to one restaurant owner “TripAdvisor est un site malhonnête”. His main complaint is that reviewers don’t even need to visit a restaurant to write a review on it. He adds that the site is often used by competition to tarnish another restaurant’s reputation. Another talks of being able to ‘buy’ positive reviews on his own restaurant – or negative reviews on a competitor.
In the petition, Pascal Favre d’Anne asks that the ‘prohibition of judging and posting defamatory and subjective comments on members of staff’ be banned, and that visitors be asked for proof of having eaten in a restaurant before being able to write a review.
A new word in the french vocabulary born from this strife. ‘Chanputation’, coming from ‘chantage’ (blackmail) et ‘e-reputation’ has promted Tripadvisor president Stephen Kaufer to respond…’Menacer un hôtelier d’un avis négatif……., ce n’est pas du chantage…..c’est use bonne chose’.
Nine out of ten French people consult sites such as Tripadvisor before visiting a restaurant or hotel.