Honest Review or Link Bait?

A very snarky and entertaining restaurant review made the rounds yesterday. It was composed entirely of questions for the restaurant owner, and contained gems like the following:

Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?

And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?”

The review was written by award-winning restaurant critic for the New York Times, Pete Wells, and the target of Mr. Wells’ questions was Food Network celebrity chef, Guy Fieri.  I use the word target because this review of Fieri’s new restaurant — Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square — was so full of snark that it could only be read as blatant take-down attempt aimed at generating some laughs and A LOT of page views. Mission accomplished.

While entertaining for the average reader, I knew this review would send Fieri’s PR team into full crisis management mode. This story represents a major hit to the future success of the restaurant, as well as to the Guy Fieri brand on the whole. When I checked the news this morning, I was impressed with their response.

Guy Fieri appeared on NBC’s ‘Today’ show this morning with his personal response to the review. In his typical casual style, he effectively seeded the idea that the reporter had an agenda with writing this article. This message, which is tough to argue after reading the article, took the lead in today’s follow-up round of coverage. Guy also acknowledged that his team can make mistakes and that they are still working out the kinks of the two-month old operation. After saying that, he emphasized that they are committed to providing the highest quality product and service.

Overall, it was a well-delivered and timely response that helped to discredit the poor review, and helped to rebuild perceptions of the restaurant.

You can watch Fieri’s response here:

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