Some of the 'best' TripAdvisor responses from pubs

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Scathing: many operators have responded to reviewers with cutting comments
Scathing: many operators have responded to reviewers with cutting comments
TripAdvisor has come under fire many times from the hospitality industry and operators have previously blamed the review site for staff resignations, sleepless nights and police intervention. Here we look at some of the responses pubs have given to irate customers.

The review claimed the pub let random strangers from the street enter the wedding venue and when questioned, the staff hurled abuse at guests and the bride and groom.

The user then accused the pub of having a lock-in where wedding guests were kicked out of the venue.

Pub owner Paul Bell replied explaining that venues, small businesses and sole traders rarely get to provide the “sober reality of what happened.”

He added: “The ‘random strangers’ – these people were in fact local residents and friends who frequent the premises on a regular basis.

“They entered a public bar and, out of respect and because our highly trained staff asked them to, they remained in the front bar.

“The venue was not for the wedding party’s exclusive use and the front bar has been a public bar for the past 400 years and will remain that way.”

A barman at the Carrington Arms in Moulsoe came to the rescue of the guest who suffered a heart attack at the reception in a hall managed by the pub.

General manager Peter Dodman told The Morning Advertiser ​that one unsatisfied customer, a family member of the revived guest, booked an overnight stay at the pub for £60, and was outraged when he found breakfast was not included in the booking.

Dodman called TripAdvisor a “constant battle” and said it is almost impossible to have unfair comments removed.

“You have to take ratings with a pinch of salt,” he said.

"Dogs only welcome if they have had their larynx removed."

Robin Macdonald from Ye Old Red Lion in Chieveley allows dogs on leads and that don’t bark, but one customer took exception to the rules.

The reviewer complained and said despite signage welcoming dogs, they are only welcome “if they have had their larynx removed”.

But the licensee saw the funny side of the complaint and told The Morning Advertiser ​this particular guest’s dog didn’t stop barking for 10 minutes.

He described the reviewer as ‘hilarious’, especially as it was his first review on TripAdvisor, so it appeared the incident was upsetting enough to encourage the customer to set up an account.

A good food offer is crucial to a pub’s success at a time when customers are demanding more and more from their social experience.

"I bet the cold winter nights just fly by in your house. When I realised that you go as far as reviewing a kebab shop, I laughed and gave up!"

One guest took to TripAdvisor to bemoan the fact that the Brittania Inn, Brigg, north Lincolnshire, stopped serving food after 8pm, had run out of steak on one occasion and there was a 40 minute wait for food.

The customer also complained about a dish called ‘crushed potatoes’, instead of mashed.

Licensee Calvin Dow said the reviewer was “near on impossible to please.”

He justified the waiting time by explaining all of the pub’s food is freshly prepared and cooked on site.

Dow read through some of the 175 reviews of other venues by the same user.

His response continued: “I bet the cold winter nights just fly by in your house. When I realised that you go as far as reviewing a kebab shop, I laughed and gave up!”

“Here endeth the lesson, please learn from it and try to be a better person."

A user attacked the Dulcie Arms on the review site with a ‘terrible’ rating, claiming his party was asked to move from its table despite it not being reserved.

Licensee Kevin Bales responded with his version of events, claiming he was a victim of a “vitriolic torrent of abuse”.

“For the benefit of people who use TripAdvisor as a tool for deciding where to go, I would like to separate the fact from fiction,” Bales added.

He explained a table in the pub had another customer’s bag on it, which the reviewer’s party “threw on the floor”.

“At this point, I would like you to note, most people I know would have brought the bag to the attention of bar staff.”

Bales claimed one of the reviewer’s party became aggressive and intimidating, at which point he was told he would not be served again.

“Here endeth the lesson, please learn from it and try to be a better person,” he concluded.

“Dealing with issues as they happen can mitigate and defuse bad reviews and stop things escalating.”

He said: “The best way to handle them is to respond promptly, say thank you for feedback (even if it’s bad), be original in your response and highlight the positives.

“Often, complaints are more about how a venue handled a problem rather than the fact there was a problem in the first place.

“Operators who do everything they can to deal with a problem quickly and politely receive much better feedback.

“Dealing with issues as they happen can mitigate and defuse bad reviews and stop things escalating.”

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