If You Can’t Take the Heat ..

September 25, 2007

I noticed that somebody (probably the owner or manager) at the Bird Cow Fish restaurant in Surry Hills took exception to my review on the Thursday Club site.

At first read I felt bad for caning them. On reflection though, I think it’s they who are missing the point. I do accept that the way we review on the Thursday Club can be somewhat flippant at times. It’s always tempting to go for the cheap laughs, and it’s easy at someone else’s expense.

But here’s what they are missing. For whatever the reason, I had a bad experience there. Happened to be noisy kids, which they couldn’t do a lot about short of ejecting them, and grumpy service – which they could easily fix. It doesn’t really matter why I didn’t like it, the point is, I chose to tell people about it. I didn’t just tell my friends, I told a bunch of strangers. In fact, I told multiple thousands of strangers (going by our web stats).

And that’s the price of entry of doing good business nowadays. Whether buying a car, taking a vacation, picking up a book or choosing a restaurant, you can read the views of potentially millions of other people prior to making your choice. There’s a huge oversupply of everything for those with the means right now. Even in the microcosm of Surry Hills, you can walk down the street and pick at least twenty or thirty alternative venues to eat. If I’d read about someone who had a similar experience to me, where do you think I wouldn’t have eaten?

I’m with Peter Sheahan on this one: if you want a seat at the business table you need to be timely, on quality and perceived good value – *pick three from three*. And then something else…

Bird Cow Fish could have said (should have said): ‘oops, sorry you had a bad experience. We pride ourselves on being a family friendly restaurant [the something else], but why don’t you come back on a xxxday night when things are a little quieter, we have some jazz and it’s a bit more grown up. We’d love to show you our bistro menu’. You get the idea.

I’m not angling for freebies, and I’m sure they really don’t give a stuff if I never darken their door again. But those hundred, thousand, ten thousand other strangers? That’s a whole different story.

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