"Online reviews about an establishment or service need to be fair and genuine."
Much loved Indian restaurant Rasam have clapped back at "fake" one-star reviews being left on Google.
The Glasthule establishment have been open for 20 years, and in that time have become a firm favourite amongst Dubliners for Indian cuisine, often finding themselves the setting for an occasion meal. Rasam has even featured on the Michelin Guide multiple times, and is described as such on their website:
"The scent of roses greets you as you head up to the surprisingly plush lounge and contemporary restaurant. Fresh, authentic dishes come in original combinations and they dry roast and blend their own spices. You must order the breads; the peshwari naan is delicious!"
In a lengthy Instagram post, Rasam acknowledged the issue of fake reviews on their page, and that there needs to be more done on Google to validate them before they are posted for everyone to see.
Need for more validation when it comes to online reviews
Rasam's Instagram statement reads as such:
"Online reviews about an establishment or service need to be fair and genuine, and never should it come from a place of malice and spite.
"Unfortunately Rasam has been at the receiving end from a group of keyboard warriors who, over a period of four days, have left six 1-star reviews (one of them did it twice) on Google, without ever having set foot in Rasam.
"They rated Food, Service and Atmosphere 1/5 even though they’ve never dined in Rasam, nor had any dealings with any of the waiting staff, or experienced the ambience of the restaurant.
"If they fail to do that, their own credibility will go down the drain with consumers not trusting the reviews they read."
The impact of poor reviews
In conversation with Rasam, we learned that the "fake" reviews came in after someone tried to book over the phone but seemingly took issue when the €30 minimum spend per person was brought up.
Rasam believes the reviews were a result of this call, and that those giving the bad ratings for food, service, and atmosphere had not dined there at all.
We reached out to Rasam to gain more insight into the reason behind their minimum spend, and the owner Nisheeth said this of the situation:
"I think what we are dealing with here is probably a lack of understanding of rising costs and profit margin ratios that restaurants face.
"Quite a few guests make online bookings and reconfirm also and then at the last minute decide to either cancel (say 15 minutes before their booked time ) or in some instances don’t even bother with this courtesy. These no shows are especially painful at the weekends when many guests are refused a table because we are expecting the people who had booked, to turn up.
"We also have a minimum €30 per head spend as a necessity because we are a dinner only restaurant, serving quality produce with all 5-star hotel trained Chefs."
Marianne of Rasam emphasised how difficult it is to battle against poor reviews, which she believes are far too easy to make on online platforms such as Google and Tripadvisor.
"We really feel, and without a doubt the majority of reputable establishments would concur, that it should be more difficult for someone to leave a review that is malicious, skewed and not reflective of a true experience. Google and Tripadvisor both make it quite easy for anyone to leave a one star review when they have an axe to grind but as a restaurateur, it is extremely difficult and often impossible to have these vindictive reviews removed.
"So many people rely on reviews to choose or avoid an establishment and having a spate of one star reviews most definitely would impact negatively on the business."
Header images via Instagram / Rasam