Some ruthless reviews can be found among the millions that are left on Tripadvisor for restaurants, tourist attractions, and hotels.
Trawling through the comments and whether one can believe them or not is another task, with almost one million reviews submitted in 2020 for inclusion on the travel guidance platform found to be fraudulent. That is equivalent to 3.6 per cent of the total.
Some fake reviews are purposefully done to help boost an establishment’s ranking, while the negative end of the scale can have a damaging impact on a business.
However, some restaurants bite back at the harsh critics.
Described as “a quality and relaxing rural country pub”, reviewers often comment about the “wonderful staff” and “fabulous food”. Yet not even Berkshire’s finest can escape the criticism.
Among the 1,480 reviews, seven ranked The Fox as “terrible”. But management at the pub are not ones to take criticism lying down and have responded to those that take aim at their establishment.
Here is a selection of our favourites.
‘This is an angry ex-employee’
Ryan J’s criticism in 2019 slammed the pub as an “absolute joke” rating everything as poor. However, The Fox was quick to recognise this review may not be as genuine as it might appear.
They wrote: “If this is a genuine review then please contact us and let us know why everything was so poor. However, we can tell by the tone and lack of content, that this is a certain angry ex-employee we had to dismiss. Shame on Tripadvisor for letting such an obvious fake review get posted when they claim they do otherwise.”
‘You thanked me for your lunch’
Being on the brink of a new year did not heighten Gladys C’s spirits in December 2017 when she called The Fox a “rip-off” while taking aim at the pub’s “stale bread”.
The Fox had a different recollection of events, and wrote: “Dear Gladys, I was really shocked at your review as I remember you well and can not forget you thanking me for your lunch and telling me how much you enjoyed it. You also told me that we had looked after you all so kindly, especially the young boy on your table.
“I spoke to your daughter-in- law this morning who made the booking and she is rather angry that you have lied about her not enjoying her steak. She promised me that everyone had enjoyed their meals as your husband did when paying.
“I know that you asked to move to another table and that we were unable to accommodate this because we were fully booked but to go away and write such a nasty untruth is most unfair. Perhaps you do not realise how hurtful such a review can be. I hope that on reflection you may consider this.”
‘I’m amazed you ate your terrible food’
Another supposed unhappy diner in 2017, Bertybign, visited the pub for business and chose the pub because of its rave reviews. Yet was left upset about being “short served on the pint by about 1/2 cm” while also criticising the food.
The review left a nasty taste in The Fox’s mouths, too.
“We were very upset to read your harsh review and wonder how did we get it so very wrong for you that day?” they wrote.
“I am amazed that you did not say anything to us and that you ate all your terrible food. The picture you put up even shows a nearly empty bowl.
“I can see from your many reviews that a high percentage get terrible or poor ratings. I am sorry that yet again, your expectations were not met.”
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