Operator’s tirade over TripAdvisor reviews

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Right to reply: the Plume of Feathers has hit back at one-star reviews on TripAdvisor (image credit: Google Maps)
Right to reply: the Plume of Feathers has hit back at one-star reviews on TripAdvisor (image credit: Google Maps)
One licensee has responded to a series of one-star TripAdvisor reviews, slamming each one, describing one user as “a little child” and criticising another on their use of exclamation marks.

The owner of the Plume of Feathers in Portscatho, Cornwall, went into great detail when replying to the reviews and ensuring the pub’s voice was heard.

One review written by Kittyminx from Worthing said: “Just popped in for some food, was told they were too busy. Said we’d just have some drinks, they basically suggested we go somewhere else. Rude, arrogant.”

The owner of the pub replied to Kittyminx, giving the pub’s version of events when she came to visit.

The response said: “Now now Kitty, it’s not nice to call people names. But seeing as you’ve decided to go on the world wide web and call me names like a little child who didn’t get what she wanted when she demanded it, let’s talk about your visit.

“Folks, it was a Saturday evening on the bank holiday weekend of the half term, it was between 7pm and 7.30pm.

“This is possibly the most premium time food-wise in any restaurant or pub, especially in a little Cornish pub in the middle of a holiday destination.

“We were at full flow, every table taken, tables had been booked weeks in advance, the kitchen is maxed out.

“However, Kittyminx (such a cute name), she comes to the bar with her children and says ‘chips, I want chips for my children’.

“I responded with an apology and said that was fine but there would probably be about a 40 or 45-minute wait and probably apologised again.

“You seemed stunned by this so I went on to explain that we were absolutely maxed out and there will be a wait if you want to go ahead and order, then we had that awful four or five seconds where you just blinked and stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

“So I then said the Taverna down the road was open and they do takeaway food as well, which might be a better option at this moment in time (seeing as you’ve left it until 7.30 in the evening to suddenly consider feeding your children).

“I actually thought I was being helpful, giving you options but obviously you didn’t see it this way. Someone dared say no to Kittyminx!

“Now, Kittyminx, when you leave ‘reviews’ like this, it actually says more about you than the venue. Because generally, we then go into your profile and read your other reviews and have a little chuckle.

“You use the words ‘rude’ and ‘arrogant’ with gay abandon don’t you? Or we read about when you complain the waitress had asked you to stop your children playing on the stairs four times, the poor girl… or when another venue got slagged off because you weren’t allowed to move the furniture… Kitty, you had probably put it in front of a fire escape or something.

“Trust me Kittyminx, when it comes to rude and arrogant, you might want to look a little closer to home.”

Bad mistake

Another one-star review claimed they received below-par service, especially as other diners in their group were celebrating their birthday.

Maydair from St Austell said: “We had waited all summer to have a meal at the Plume of Feathers… very popular with tourists, no chance for locals!

“We booked for Monday night as it was the actual birthday! Bad mistake! We were squeezed into a passageway! With another table reserved for later making it a very tight squeeze!

“We had three courses – soup, main and dessert. All were warm and the meat was very tough! Chips were undercooked and soggy! The waiter was over the top with compliments, which appeared to put pressure on us!

“No extra attention though given to the birthday men! Ie, a candle in their dessert or an extra biscuit! The waiter was told two of the party had birthdays!

“The bill was expensive to the quality of the meal! Nothing out of the ordinary! So… tourists you are welcome to the Plume of Feathers, we will not be going back!

“A little attention would have been lovely even if it was to sit in a restaurant with a table laid and flowers present! Then the bill wouldn’t have mattered! Very disappointing as we are locals!”

The pub responded by highlighting the punctuation in the review as well as a definition of the word ‘local’.

It added: “I haven’t cringed this much in a long time. 18 exclamation points!! 18!! Folks, here we have the very controversial ‘locals’ scenario.

“This seems to happen in two locations, Cumbria and Cornwall. When someone says they are a ‘local’, this is not to be confused with a ‘regular’.

“When someone enters your premises and keeps dropping ‘we’re locals don’t you know’ into the conversation, generally, they are not really.

“Quite often they will be from outside the county, say somewhere like Peterborough, and they have just moved down very recently and immediately want all the trimmings of being a ‘local’.

“If you don’t treat them as such, even if you have never seen them before in your life, they will scuttle off and go on TripAdvisor.

“If you do, they are full of praise and everything is wonderful. But, we just treat everyone the same. Sorry. I would say that more than 80% of our customers are ‘real locals and regulars’ so I’m not sure what the nasty little jibe about tourists means.”

The reply apologised to Maydair for being busy and pointed out other reviews Maydair had written.

It said: “We apologise we were still busy in November and we had all our tables booked out… bloomin’ locals coming in, booking tables!"

Country pub

It added: “We apologise that the waiter was complimentary towards you. He has been dealt with severely, he won’t be doing that again in a hurry. Oh no!

“I’m sorry we didn’t make more of a fuss of you for your birthday but perhaps you were in the wrong place as you call us a restaurant and we are in fact, just a little country pub.

“Perhaps you thought you were in TGI Fridays or Chiquitos, where I think the staff are made to sing to you when they find out it’s your birthday, you’ll like that.

“Please tell me what did that curry house in Peterborough do so wrong that you had to visit it seven times and slag it off every time.

“Did they not put candles on your naan bread? You should have told them you’re a local!! Hold on, Peterborough? I thought you were a local down here... ?”

This wasn’t where the one-star reviews and replies stopped though as the pub also hit back at one user who criticised the requirement to reserve a table.

Tony M from Manchester said: “Stayed at Trewithian Farm B&B. Decided to dine out and drove to Portscatho.

“Parked outside the Plume and thought I would dine there. Ordered a drink and asked if they had a menu. I was asked if I had reserved a table number, I am sitting outside. Sorry you need to reserve a table.

“Sat outside with my drink, wondering where I could go. Two couples sat outside were brought food while I was having my drink.

“Nobody said my table was reserved and could I move. Decided to try the Royal Standard, which was excellent.”

The response advised the user to “put his big boy pants on” and outlined how even if a venue has empty tables, it doesn’t mean it isn’t busy.

It said: “And here ladies and gentlemen, lies the problem with TripAdvisor. A lot of people don’t quite understand the hospitality trade and if something disappoints them, they give it a review. And they give it one star.

“Sad isn’t it? Like a small child that can’t have a biscuit. Now Tony M, let me give you a little lesson on the catering industry. Just because you can sit at a table and can see other empty tables does not mean we are not fully booked.

“Are you with me? It's about what the kitchen can cope with at any one time, so we stagger the bookings so the kitchen doesn't get overwhelmed. Are you still with me?

“Now, sometimes, when the kitchen is flowing awesomely, and someone walks in for a table without having previously booked, we will check if the kitchen can squeeze them in between the checks they already have on.

“Sometimes it's a yes, sometimes it's a yes but they will have to wait half an hour and sometimes it's a flat no. We don't like saying no Tony, no business likes saying no, treacle. But sometimes instead of making false promises we have to say no. Have we learnt something blossom?

“Now, when it comes to doing a review, giving someone a 1 when disappointed is being a petulant child. It says everything is bad, bad, bad. Was the service bad, was the beer you drank bad? etc. Do you see what I mean, treacle? You were just disappointed, so that's not a review is it?”

“Hopefully you've learnt something today, now you go and put your big boy pants on and get out there and do a proper review. Go on son, you can do it!”

To see other reviews of the Plume of Feathers, see its TripAdvisor page here.

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