Norwich restaurateur hits out at ‘moan advisor’ after bad review

PUBLISHED: 17:17 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:11 11 October 2018

The River Garden pub in Norwich Credit: Google Maps

The River Garden pub in Norwich Credit: Google Maps


The owner of a riverside pub in the city has called TripAdvisor the bane of his life after a customer criticised the food and service.

Stephen Perllman, owner of The River Garden Bar and Restaurant in Yarmouth Road, says the review site is ‘not moderated enough’.

But TripAdvisor insist they ‘fight attempts to post fake reviews very aggressively’ and each entry has to go through a tracking system.

His criticism comes after a user on the site posted a negative review of her daughter’s 18th birthday party.

They wrote: “Very disappointed, expensive experience after all my family spending loads on drink and food what let it down was the unfriendly atmosphere.

“There was 17 of us with three of them young children who got impatient waiting for our food.

“It took an hour to come out after being there an hour and a half already.

The reviewer claimed they had to ask for sauces to be brought over Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe reviewer claimed they had to ask for sauces to be brought over Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Food was average and we had to ask for sauces salt pepper etc.

“Everything seemed too much of an effort and just very poor service.

“The owner seemed like we shouldn’t be there made us feel uncomfortable, kids being kids they run about.”

But Mr Perllman, who has run the pub with his wife Karen since April 2017, wasn’t having any of it.

He responded: “My staff and I are disgusted with your review.

“Firstly, your table was booked for 5pm yet you arrived in drips and drabs up to ten to six and eventually it was an hour before we could start on your food.

READ MORE: Japanese restaurant owner dishes out priceless comeback to TripAdvisor critic

“Then having started cooking the starters you then changed your mind to have them with the mains therefore we had to waste these as already half cooked.

“Most restaurants would have cancelled your table for being an hour late but instead we had to go to the effort and trouble of rearranging other booked tables that should have been in but now couldn’t because of your inconsideration for others.

“With regards condiments, once all the meals were out I then asked if anyone wanted any sauces and even went out of the way to ensure the lady who had the curry got two different options to help cool the hotness of it for her.

“You felt uncomfortable about other customers not being happy with noisy children in a restaurant.

“I have five children and eight grandchildren so speaking from experience of being a customer, a parent, and a business owner, I am always aware of others and choose where and when to eat out with all my family.

“People do not expect to go out to a nice restaurant on a Saturday night and be confronted with a noisy children.”

The customer complained about the food and service on her daughter's 18th birthday Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe customer complained about the food and service on her daughter's 18th birthday Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

READ MORE: Good on restaurant owner for hitting back at online critics

Speaking to this paper, Mr Perllman has labelled the site ‘moan advisor’ and he claims that unfair reviews aren’t taken down by the site.

He said: “Trip Advisor is the bane of my life and when people post I think ‘what food and kitchen training have you had?’ Food is a matter of personal taste.

“We had someone once complaining the salmon was pink in the middle but of course it is, it’s salmon.

“We are only human so occasionally get things wrong but if you talk to us and tell us we will sort it out.

“If 90 per cent of people have a good meal it is the 10 per cent with a negative experience who will put it on TripAdvisor.

“I call it moan advisor because it is so much in the extreme and it’s not good for business.

READ MORE: ‘It’s destroying lives’ - Norfolk chef opens up about dark side of TripAdvisor

“If you come into my establishment and slag me off for no reason at all then it’s my right to slate you back.

“It’s not moderated enough and I’ve complained a couple of times and they’ve taken down some but not others.”

A spokesman for Trip Advisor said: “It is a myth that the majority of people who come to the site do so to moan.

“In our experience over the last decade and a half, people genuinely want to share their good experiences with the world.

READ MORE: Trattoria Rustica owner speaks out after diner criticised lack of kids menu

“In fact, the average review rating of properties on TripAdvisor stands at over 4 out of 5.

“We fight attempts to post fake reviews very aggressively and have sophisticated systems and teams in place to detect fraudsters, as well as strong penalties in place to deter them.

A customer once complained that their salmon was pink  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoA customer once complained that their salmon was pink Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Every single TripAdvisor review must first go through our tracking system, which maps the how, what, where and when of each review before it is published.”

Mr Perllman isn’t the first restaurateur in the county to hit out at the site and Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson recently spoke out about how TripAdvisor has negatively impacted his mental health.

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