Operators who have hit back at TripAdvisor reviews

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Hitting back: many licensees have responded to low-scoring reviews
Hitting back: many licensees have responded to low-scoring reviews
Licensees are under no illusion on the benefits and challenges TripAdvisor brings and while some operators don’t respond to disgruntled customers, others want to have their say. We take a look at a few of the responses pub owners have given to customers to defend their businesses.

The one-star review of the pub – which is known locally for its isolated, waterside location – by Jane P, called the pub hard to reach. It was titled “Rubbish” and went on to say the food was disappointing.

Alongside sharing the review on the pub’s Facebook page, the owner of Pandora responded directly to the negative review on TripAdvisor.

The response read: “Sometimes the unfairness of a review on TripAdvisor leaps out and smacks you in the face and sadly this type of review often says more about the person who wrote it than the venue they have been so unkind too.

“Jane you are correct – the beautiful and unique Pandora Inn is accessed down narrow country lanes – you were visiting Cornwall after all and visiting probably the most famous pub in the county.”

The response also mentioned there was clear signage for the pub and that many happy customers find it, which indicates the signs do a good job.

  • One licensee lambasted a one-star review​ on TripAdvisor where a customer threatened to arrest bar staff who wouldn’t serve her.

Chloe A posted the review on the Hobgoblin in Bristol’s TripAdvisor page and the owner replied with his account of what happened.

The review from Chloe A, which the pub also shared on its Facebook page, said: “The staff took a disliking to us the second we walked in. We are a group of five who they haven’t seen since uni[versity].

“They told us we were too drunk, despite not having any alcohol before entering the establishment. This pub clearly has an issue with happy people.”

The owner responded on the review site, explaining his take on things and how the customer behaved aggressively towards staff.

The reply continued with advice on how Chloe can make it up to the pub and its staff and backed the team members too.

Owner James Ayliffe told Bristol Live​​ he wanted to set the record put straight and to support his staff. He added that the pub doesn’t get many one-star reviews and while he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, he felt he couldn’t leave it unanswered.

Heath Ball, licensee of the Red Lion & Sun, in Highgate - which took home Best Wine Pub and was the overall winner at last year’s John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards - responded to the post and said he was going to shower as “I’m tired and I smell”.

The complaint was made by Google user Joan LE, who posted a short comment seen by The Morning Advertiser​​, before Ball replied and then revised the original review to include more information, claiming her phone sent it before she had completed it.

The first review from user Joan LE said: “It smells. It’s tired. My food tasted of having been stored in the fridge.”

Ball responded on Google, referencing the pub’s “award-winning” wines and outlining why the food needs to be stored in the fridge.

Calvin Dow of the Castle Inn in Skipton, North Yorkshire, explained: “It’s just a bit of fun, but the days of social media, TripAdvisor, Google Reviews are starting to take their toll a little bit.

Life Behind Bars​​

By Disgruntled Pub Landlord, Calvin Dow (12 September 2018)

Publicans, chefs and bar staff across the country wide,​

Let's all unite together and tell them from our side!​


You come into our pubs, never wipe your feet and let your kids run riot,​

Our extensive menu just isn't enough because your wife's still on that diet!​


Gluten-free this and vegan that, we're trying so hard to please,​

But there's so many things, we're trying our best, come on, we're down on our knees!​


“This is nothing special!” “It's just pub grub!” “We expected real fine dining!”​

Look, it says pub on the sign, what do you want, just shut up and stop whining!​


The soup's too hot, the coffee's too cold and apparently our food is too dear!​

Just what has happened to the good old days, when you went to the pub for a beer?​


“We've got a coach to catch!” “Where is our food?” “We've waited well over an hour!”​

Give us a break, and with a face like that, no wonder your beer has gone sour!​


“This veg isn't fresh!” “This meat's not local!” “Don't treat me like a sucker!”​

Well, if you can do better, why leave the house, surely you've got your own cooker!​


She raved about this and ranted about that, but stormed out before I could advise her,​

But instead of telling me the truth, yes, straight to TripAdvisor!​


There was a man, so rude to me, he swore and got up right in my space,​

Let me tell you, just one word more, I'd have smacked him square in the face!​


“No baby changing?” “No colouring books?” “Just what kind of pub is this?”​

A proper one, luv, you must remember, because it sounds like you're taking the p**s!​


“I'd like a jug of water and two glasses, brought to the table we've chosen”,​

Not a problem, sir, but I hope you don't mind, that all of our ice cubes are frozen!​


“Landlord, you must provide free water at all times, just so that you know”,​

Turn up here, in the middle of the night, yes, from a bucket via top window!​

“I want a refund!” “I'll pay you half!” “I'm simply not paying for this!”​

But you've eaten the food, that's not how it works, next time, just give us a miss!​


“I was next, not her! were you a good landlord, you'd know what to do!”​

But, ah yes, were you a good customer, you'd know how to queue, wouldn't you?​


“What can I get you?” “I don't know!” why is this such a hard task?​

Whatever he wants, when he decides, I bet he orders the Guinness last!​


“I'd like a BLT, without tomato and hold the salad garni!”​

Have you any idea, what you've just ordered from me, is nowt but a bacon sarnie!​


“This beer is cloudy, but it tastes all right, is there a way that you can amend?”​

If it tastes OK, just close you're eyes, that way, it won't offend!​


“We want to sit here, no, we want to sit there!” yet they move all the menus on tables​

Give us a break, they all read the same, this is more than my patience enables!​


“I can't drink gin out of a half pint glass, what are you doing? That's sacrilege!”​

There's no glasses left because you don't bring them back! I'm throwing me off a bridge!​


There's dogs on the seats, kids running around with parents giving them chase,​

“There's a hair in my food!” “It's too noisy in here!” My God, get me out of this place!​


“We've always fancied a pub, when we retire, it looks like such a nice pastime!”​

Honestly guys, if that's what you think, here's the keys, you can just have mine!​

Debbie Davies left a two-star review, which praised the food and team members at the Oxton Bar and Restaurant in Birkenhead but hit out at the cost of her meal.

The bar defended its costing and outlined exactly where the money the venues makes from the dish goes.

It replied: “OK Debbie. Where do I begin? Out of that £8, our nasty Government is charging you 20% VAT, which we collect by law on their behalf, so we’re left with £6.66.

“Out of this we need to buy the fresh ingredients, one haddock fillet, get a chef to make everything from scratch, a delicious beer batter, home-made tartare sauce, mushy peas and chunky chips (the whole cost of ingredients for this plate comes to roughly £2.70).

“This leaves us with £3.94 for, which alas our pesky chef expects remuneration!”

The bar then went on to explain how the rest of the money made from the dish goes to paying team members and utilities.

Users gave the Perkin Warbeck in Taunton, Somerset, one-star reviews and criticised various aspects of the pub.

One user – Katrina W – gave the pub a one-star rating, titled her review as “worst Wetherspoon experience ever”.

Another user, Peter G, was unimpressed with the pub’s recent refurbishment and Andrew R left a one-star review, criticising the pub’s dog policy.

JDW spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The Perkin Warbeck is an extremely popular pub and staff work hard at all times to ensure that it is run to the highest of standards.

“It serves thousands of people each week and there will always be cases, as in any business, where some people are not satisfied with their visit.

“However, the fact that it is always packed out shows that the vast majority of people thoroughly enjoy visiting the Perkin Warbeck and enjoy the atmosphere and the food and drink on offer.

“While we take on board some of the criticism on TripAdvisor, it is a minority view.”

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