Five Awesome Ways To Get Terrible Yelp Reviews

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No good deed goes unpunished.

Every restaurateur knows that Yelp is an entity that they ignore at their own peril. It may be a flawed, biased and greedy…but it can take money out of a business’ pocket. How much money is always a bit questionable, but there is a cost to be paid for bad reviews.

Now, having a terrible person running a bad restaurant is always an excellent generator of colorful, negative reviews. Unfortunately, there are also things that good people running good restaurants can do to find themselves the targets of some not-so-nice comments on Yelp.

1. Reopen your kitchen


Nothing leads to a bad Yelp review like a five-top of unknowns rolling in at 10:04pm and asking if they can get dinner. The manager might be thinking “We can make $200+”, but oddly enough, it’s probably going to end in tears. We’re not entirely sure why. Perhaps it’s just strange for people travelling in such a large pack to not have eaten.

Now, most of the time, nightwalkers will have a devil-may-care attitude. After all, if they were crazed foodies, they’d have set up reservations weeks ago for a dinner hours earlier. Unfortunately for you, the one group you let in are a team of sociopaths who will immediately start to wonder what what other limits they can push.

Meanwhile, in the back of the house, ten minutes into breakdown, they’re told to come to a full stop. Nothing increases performance and morale more than taking a bunch of people whose minds are already out the back door and saying the word “Actually…”

Now, while the kitchen takes the opportunity to sharpen their knives and plot murder, the server is getting a five-minute lecture on gluten-intolerance. This is the kind of synergy required to generate a 1-star “Won’t be going back” review.

2. Unlock your door for someone who’s never seen your restaurant before


A closed kitchen is one thing, but restaurant that is a closed for the night has a whole different level of “Don’t judge us on this”. That’s because a closed restaurant isn’t doing anything a restaurant is supposed to do. There is no atmosphere. The lights are either way too on or way too off. The beverage selection is probably limited to one open bottle and whatever is on the gun. The registers are all done, so making money is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Any staff left in the building are doing their best to get out of the building.

It would probably do as much good as inviting people aboard the Titanic an hour after it hit the iceberg.

If you’re closed, be closed. Otherwise you’ll be puzzled the next morning when Yelp sends you an alert that someone reviewed your restaurant, despite never having eaten, spent a dime, seen a menu or done anything but enjoy a free shot of Fireball in the establishment.


3. Have a hat policy

Bryson H Yelp Review


We live in an amazing time where technology has democratized the written word. There was a time when there were gatekeepers of journalism. Then they went away, allowing for individuals like ourselves and the guys who gets his ass kicked outside Via-Via to just spout off whatever comes into our minds.

If you’re thinking about instituting a hat policy in your dress code, you’re probably haven’t asked yourself these two questions:

  1. Will people complain about hat rules to my staff? (Answer: Yes)
  2. Will people complain about hat rules on Yelp reviews? (Answer: Also yes)

Now we look at people walking down the street and think to ourselves “That looks like the kind of guy who would complain about a hat rule in a Yelp review”…and then we punch them in the face like a true stuck-up local.

4. Reach out to unsatisfied customers

There’s a certain beauty in the absolute determination of some individuals to make sure their review stays one star. They’ll be griping about a seafood restaurant’s inability to cater around their seafood allergy, then will mention how they were contacted afterwards by an extremely professional and courteous manager who did everything in their power to rectify the unfortunate situation.

That employee’s reward for a job well done? 1-star.

Because anything else would renew our faith in humanity.

5. Valuing your products and employees

If someone sits down at a nice restaurant and starts griping about the complimentary bread and butter, that person is sending a signal that everyone should receive loud and clear:

I’m not paying full price for my meal. (Also, I’m a lousy tipper)

With today’s vast array of review sites, they know that even a two-star review with an extensive write-up can potentially cost a restaurant thousands of dollars in business. If they order $75 worth of stuff, surely they can intimidate the management down to $40, right?

Of course, restaurateurs also face some other challenges. They have to pay for all the raw material they use to cook with, the beer, wine and liquor at the bar, the employees, the electricity, the gas, advertising, limes, the liquor license…and so on. Now, if they don’t value those things above their reputation…they’re going to be known as a great person who lost their restaurant.

Nothing steels one’s backbone like having their livelihood (and those of the people who work for them) on the line.


It’s always important to realize that no one in the whole online review experience is bound to tell the truth about anything. The courts have declared that Yelp has no obligation to be honest brokers of business information.

They are, however, in the business of trying to get paid…by the businesses that are getting reviewed, which puts a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Yelp Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?