How NOT to Handle a Negative Review

It’s never easy to receive criticism.  In fact, it can make us downright cringe. When I was a journalist, producers used to edit my scripts so much, I could no longer recognize my own story!  Sometimes, a news manager would return it and tell me to scrap it and start over.


In my own head, I envisioned giving that low-down, dirty critic a piece of my mind.  But then, you drink a big cup of “suck it up” and get over it.

Well, one Memphis restaurant owner is having a really hard time sucking it up.

You may have heard about a customer’s review of the restaurant Imagine Vegan Cafe.  You can read the review below.



In response to this review, the restaurant owner had some options:

A.  Apologize to the customer, and acknowledge that a terrible mistake had been made.  Reiterate that health, safety and customer service were your top priorities, and offer her a free meal.

B. Ignore it.

C.  Lose your mind and publicly trash the customer.  

The restaurant owner chose option C, and she wasn’t backing down.


It didn’t stop there.



Now, the story has gone viral.  Hundreds have posted their own Google reviews, blasting the restaurant and referring to the incident as #ButtholeGate.


Can you imagine having your restaurant associated with that type of body part?



We can all learn a few PR lessons from #ButtholeGate.  If your brand is publicly criticized, give it some meaningful thought.  Is the criticism valid?  Does the person make good points?  If so, address it with careful consideration.  Take ownership of the wrongdoing, and find ways to make it right.  Let’s be honest.  Chelsea was no “troll” or “hater.”  Her comment was 100 percent valid.  The restaurant owner’s response was shameful, and a terrible PR move.  As a professional communicator, I will continue to follow the Imagine Vegan Cafe Facebook page.  Can they turn things around?  What advice would you give them?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: