I take blogging and this site very seriously. It is just a hobby and I don’t make a cent from doing it. However, I am well aware that yelp, chowhound, citysearch and those with personal blog sites can significantly hurt a restaurant business. I am all for free speech, but I think our comments and reactions should be written responsibly. A friend of mine wrote the following:
Rules of the Plate.
Thoughts for Bloggers Who Write about Restaurants
1. Understand that a restaurant is a serious business for the owners,
It is not fun, it is not a hobby…chefs, and everyone from the front of the house to the back of the house have their lives on the line. Negative comments on the web especially hurt when they are from people who don’t know anything about the business, or worse, have an ax to grind.
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge: For example, your first time tasting sweetbreads does not make you an expert on sweetbread preparation. Experience, knowledge, and awareness are vital.
If you personally don’t care for a dish, you have a responsibility to say that it wasn’t to your liking, but not that it was executed poorly. If you don’t know proper execution of a dish, you can’t comment that it was executed poorly. If you don’t like something, is it because the preparation is “wrong” or is it an ingredient, group of ingredients or combination of ingredients or cooking technique that doesn’t work for you? If you know enough to make a professional assessment of the chef as a professional fine, but otherwise think before you write and edit so you can defend your position intelligently.
4. Understand service in a restaurant.
Don’t ever go to a quality restaurant without a reservation. Always arrive on time. Understand the process of seating and the difficulties a restaurant can have getting you seated at your exact time because someone else is holding over at the table that is assigned to you. Never “no show”…don’t make three or more reservations around town and then decide at the last minute where you are going and leave the other restaurants hanging. This really hurts the restaurant’s business.
5. The Chef’s Goal and Your Reactions:
Cuisine is both an art as well as science. Understanding the goal of a chef will help you appreciate his cuisine and give perspective to your reactions.
6. Quality restaurants are fragile beings–if you like dining in nice places being well served, take the time to write intelligently and considerately about the places and people who are trying to serve you. You will be the real beneficiary.