The 21st Century Comment Card

This is a blog written by regular people about our own regular-person opinions.  We pump money into the local economy every day by eating lunch out.  For those dollars, we have certain expectations.  We write about whether or not those expectations were met.

Are we going to like EVERYTHING at EVERY restaurant?  Of course not.  If we did, we’d be the Gazz and it would ruin the whole point of our blog:  write about dining experiences as an ordinary diner.   We aren’t trying to earn advertising revenue by producing a glowing article about a restaurant.  We don’t want to come in a place, declare we are going to write a review of it and then have folks roll out the red carpet.  We want what everyone else gets.  Think of it as the Secret Shopper of restaurants…an unannounced audit, the Saturday Night Live of restaurant reviews.  Ok, we’re not at all that funny but you get what we’re shooting for.

Someone recently asked:  “are you people serious?”  Well, yes……and no.  Yes, we are serious about eating and we write our honest opinions, but we try to do it with humor, exaggeration and satire.  We mean for our reviews to be “over the top”.   If you are new to the blog, read some of the older posts and you’ll see the tone of our writing and the different styles of the reviewers.

Are we trying to make or break a place with our reviews?  No!  We love eating out and we want to have as many choices as possible.  But we also expect to receive a certain level of quality, quantity and service for our dollars.  What we say won’t decide an eatery’s fate anyway (that would be giving us way too much credit for the small readership we have)…but if we had a bad experience, chances are that others have, too. 

And if we have a bad experience, we will do our best to go back (maybe different reviewers, even) to give it another chance.   Sometimes one of us will diss a place that someone else in the group really likes.  Or maybe we visit on an off day and readers will comment about their own positive experiences.  We try to remain objective and independent.  But our goal is to do that in our own silly way.

As owners, chefs and servers you should read the reviews for what they’re worth – ignore all the sarcasm and silliness, pat yourself on the back for the things you’re doing well and try to improve upon any valid points we may bring to light.  And just like we state our opinions, feel free to comment and state yours.  Yes, we have the control to block or delete comments, but we will publish it as long as you keep it pretty clean. 

In the olden days, to let your thoughts be known about a meal you could fill out a comment card.  We leave our own version of that at places we visit, directing people to our 21st Century comment card called the “Fork You blog”.

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12 responses to “The 21st Century Comment Card

  1. And as a fellow foodie, I definitely appreciate the forum for all the different perspectives. You keep eating and writing, we’ll keep talking about it…

  2. Have people complained the reviews are too harsh? I haven’t read them all or maybe even a majority of them but I find them pretty generous even when the reviewer doesn’t like a place or dish and almost all of the criticism has been constructive and never personal.

    The only suggestion I would have is that you sample more dishes at each place.

  3. Read back through the comments.

    What we do to try more dishes is dine as a group. This fails when a place is review by only one of us.

    I do like using fork you as an excuse to order more food, though!

  4. OK, I now have seen the Tricky fish comments and understand the reason for this post. I think the Steeles are too thin-skinned. I diddn’t see anything in the review that was out of line in my opinion.

    Even the comment on the kindergarten art was not personally directed at the kid but merely an opinion about not liking the idea of decorating a restaurant with any kiindergarten art. Personally, I couldn’t care less about what’s on the wall if the the food and service is good, but I would hardly consider that an attack n a child. (BTW, I really like the art in the BK but it has no bearing on whether i eat there.)

    I’ve not been to the TF because it was closed the only time I tried but most of the criticsims seem based on taste, portion size, price and service. I would suggest to the Steele’s that those are legitimate things to consider when reviewing a restaurant and that they would likely have served their own interests much better by calmly explaining the reasons for the problems and the correction that have been or are being made. Whining and acting as if you are different than any other business and deserve immunity from criticism simply because you run a small business with a narrow margin suggests detachment from reality. Good luck, but running a business is tough and we all have challenges. succeeding requires meeting the challenges not complaining that people should not complain. you should also realize tht more people are probably put off by the attitude in your comments than by the original reviews.

  5. I love Phil’s idea to sample more dishes. Dan and I are going broke and gaining weight already – lol!

    If we could figure out a way to raise some revenues…we could order more items.

    To that end, we have a shop on Cafe Press with Fork You merchandise. It might make us enough money to order an appetizer. Once.

    http://www.cafepress.com/forkyoublog

  6. Fat and broke would make you fit in better around here.

  7. 21st Century Soap Box

    i disagree with Susan’s post.

    I’m totally all for free beer… I can be bought. Plus I want a seat at the judges table at the Taste Of Charleston, treated like a celebrity, I want Manchin to give me a free flat screen TV.

    I want it all and I want it now.

    See Susan’s even out promoting merchandise ~ she got mad at me when I told her I wouldn’t waste my money on it. (that night I had to eat at McDonalds because I wasn’t welcome at Tricky Fish, and then she wouldn’t even allow me to post my McDonalds review ~ damned if I do, damned if I don’t)

    God I love free speech.

  8. demosthenes.or.locke

    This blog is a service to the community of Charleston. Ignore thin skinned restauranteurs who try to pressure you into not criticizing their food. You all do a very good job and you provide information that is in high demand in Charleston, WV.

    Wait for the readers to complain… you can expect complaints from the culprits if you tell the truth about a 3 shrimp taco.

  9. I am in a service industry and I rely on feedback from my customers to improve my products, train my staff, and MAKE MORE MONEY. I can’t fix it if I don’t know you’re not satisfied! No, you can’t work with the public and take their criticism personally. Its your job to listen and learn. Is the customer always right? No…but they must always win!

    I love this blog and follow it religiously. I think you provide a great service for the “everyman/woman” out to have a nice meal. I appreciate your opinions, but I also know that I’m free to form my own.

    Keep it up, Fork You’s…I’m with ya on this one.

  10. I have to say that I think you’re doing a public service. We were going to have to eat dinner in Hurricane, so I went to this blog to see that Taste of Asia was the only restaurant listed and had good reviews. Score!! Also was able to get directions from Susan (I believe). So it’s a valuable service.

    When I read a good review, I usually make it a point to check it out. When the review is not as good, I figure it’s just one person’s opinion. And when the bad review echoes my own experience (see Murad’s), I comment and am just glad that it’s not just me.

    If I owned a restaurant, I’d be loving this site. I’d much rather this site, that I can read, than an email list that can be forwarded without my knowledge. That way I couldn’t fix problems.

  11. It is so nice to hear that what we write is useful and worth your time to read! It would be great if you had also mentioned how hilarious we are, but you can’t have everything ; )

    On as serious a note as I can stand, please comment or email us with suggestions for other topics you’d like to see us write about – maybe something other than actual reviews.

    We have some new ideas “in the hopper” but your feedback is invaluable.

    Thanks to all the readers!

  12. demosthenes.or.locke

    I would love to see a review or article discussing interesting places to shop for food in the area. I know there is an asian food store near the mound somewhere.

    I’d like to see some bar food reviews too…

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