Thumbs Down!

Is it okay to write a negative review online?

Click here if you are unable to view this video.
See More

Comments (54)

(48) Anonymous, June 19, 2013 12:49 AM

Diplomacy at best

Having similar experiences in the past on numerous occasions, I totally identify myself with your experience. If this happens to me again, I think I would write a letter to the management in the restaurant explaining in detail, and would send a copy of the bill. In the past, I have addressed the issue in a respectful manner, right at the moment it had happened, and the results have been satisfying because the restaurant would either not charge me at the end for the entire bill or, did not include the charge for the item in question. But then when they had done that, it made me feel embarrassed. So, after last time it happened I decided that should this happen again, then I will rather write a letter to the restaurant to address the issue, as I am not looking for them to not charge me or my family, but rather for the restaurant to stop the wrong practice. As to the noise, I have been offered to move to another table or to a more quiet location within the establishment. Normally the switch had alleviate the situation for my family and I. Thanks Rabbi Salomon for sharing your experience with us, as by listening to other readers, we tend to learn a lot as well. Another thing I don't appreciate is the restaurant including the tip on the check, and what percentage the customer should give. That is something that it should be up to the customer to give based on good service. The restaurant should be responsible for their employees fair salaries, not based on the customer tip. May Hashem bless you and your family.

(47) Shaine, June 13, 2013 3:26 AM

What then is a review?

I recently wrote a negative review, providing photos which depicted horrible quality. As it goes, I had brought back from NY meat for sandwiches and my Husband, that day had brought back some from the one kosher place in this state. I was aghast at the difference of quality...and the same price, though if you took off the inedible meat, the NY meat was less expensive. The presentation/slicing, the quajlity... just horrible. In these days when you can order overnight, I do not feel that this was out of place, this place ought to step up their game to compete with the world..and the world ought to know there are options.

(46) Eugenia, June 12, 2013 12:20 AM

I believe that the L-rd would require us to state the facts and let each person decide !!

Doesn't the L-rd require that we help each other thereby telling the facts allows each one to decide objectively to go or not to go !! Double tipping is not what the L-rd would approve !! Doesn't it fall under stealing ? Correct me if I am wrong !!

(45) Shoshana - Jerusalem, June 9, 2013 5:10 PM

Jewish law (Halacha)

Your question is: since there is constructive purpose in telling this loshon harah online, are you allowed to do so? The Chafetz Chiam, who is the final word and utmost authority on the laws of loshon harah, clearly states that even if you have a constructive purpose, called in Hebrew "to'eles" there are seven conditions that have to be met and one of them is that you must first try to bring the constructive purpose about in a different manner before speaking the loshen harah. In this case, it would mean speaking to the manager. Maybe he'll say, "you're right, I shouldn't charge for the sushi sauce, and I'll stop including the tip." In which case there is no need to publicize this. Or maybe he'll say, " I think everything is perfect" in which case , you can tell him that you plan to complain online and see what he answers. ( see Orah, comment 42).

To comment 43: It is from our religious texts that we learn morality, and also teach it to the world. Maybe Google into "World Perfect" (R' Ken Spiro) on this website.

At any rate, Jewish law in never a matter of opinion, whether it's Shabbos laws or kashrus or any other legal matter. A competent rabbi always has to be consulted.

The sin of loshen harah is one of the most serious ones in the Torah, and it is punished very severely, It is therefore worthwhile for all of us to learn these laws and review them daily. And may we see the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash speedily in our days, Amen.

Anonymous, June 11, 2013 6:44 PM

Very impressed with this. To always let my words be constructive and my opinions few.

(44) rachel, June 9, 2013 3:16 AM

Did you talk to the manager?

If there were specific problems that the manager could fix, I would have talked to the manager first.
HOWEVER: I assume you got a menu (complete with prices) when you first arrived. If the prices were the same as those on the menu, then you got what you ordered. Similarly, if you sat there for a few minutes (as is usually the case), then you could have evaluated the noise level prior to ordering, or at least after ordering only beverages.
I'm not sure what the local government's laws/regs are where you live. But it's been my experience that most restaurants will note that they automatically add a tip for large parties (6-8 ). Many restaurants are realizing that more and more people don't want or need a huge plate of food. Japanese restaurants have always been equally concerned with quality and presentation as with taste. It seems to me that you didn't know what to expect at this restaurant.
Where I live, there aren't enough kosher restaurants, and certainly not enough to warrant knocking a bad experience unless it was truly unfair (i.e. the menu said the entrée was $12 and they charged you $20) or dangerous (dirty, people in your party got sick, etc.) Furthermore, I'd trust a professional restaurant review in a local (unbiased) newspaper more than the reviews of customers, because -- let's face it -- most people only provide reviews when they're upset.
Finally, re noise -- if you brought along your own young grandchildren, and others were there with young children, it's kind of expected that it will be noisy. Even before I had children but got together with (non-observant) friends who wanted to bring their kids, I always assured them that kids are generally welcome in kosher restaurants, even the "high end" ones.

(43) Charles, June 8, 2013 5:52 PM

Tell it like it is!

Doing what is morally right is more important than what is found in religious text. If there are positives from your dining experience, then mention them. On the other hand, if you feel there were things that were not acceptable, by all means mention them too.
A letter to the owner or manager would also be appropriate. I have done that on occasion with both negative and positive results.
Personally, I would like to be forewarned in a review.

(42) orah, June 8, 2013 8:38 AM

Give the restaurant owner a chance to change

You should take your video and show it to the restaurant owner before posting a negative review. Perhaps your criticisms would prompt him to change his policies and you would have no need to write anything negative. Think how wonderful you would feel if you inspired a Kosher restaurant to improve.

(41) Melissa, June 7, 2013 11:09 PM

Tell it like it is

Is it loshen hara to report facts without giving a subjective opinion? Why not list the items ordered, the price, what was included/not included, a heads up regarding the "error" in double tipping? If one wants to put in their opinion that it was noisier than expected, that's ok too. Perhaps before writing the review, one could try to find some positive aspects of the restaurant as well. People look at reviews because they want to know what they are buying beforehand. Perhaps the restaurant owner could even look over the reviews and make changes as necessary, in order to boost business. It is a win-win situation.

I do not see this as a personal attack on anyone. It can be presented as objectively as possible, without making judgement. If it is done respectfully and without malice, I do not think it would fall under the category of loshen hara. If I were to go to a store and buy a skirt for $200, while I might have overpaid in some people's estimate, to report the price is a fact. It is not a judgement. I paid $200. That's it. Then the consumer can decide if she wants to go out and buy that skirt.

Objective reporting, taking into consideration both the positive and the negatives, is appreciated by all.

(40) Anonymous, June 7, 2013 1:55 PM

going out to eat

Everyone has from time to time has had a bad restaurant experience. Should they let people know or post on line? Definitely! The restaurant business is a very difficult business, and everyone wants to see a kosher one succeed. But very often, the place is not clean, is noisy, and the service not good. For me, the tell tale is if the bathroom is clean. Yes folks, the bathroom. If it is, that means that the kitchen is most probably clean, and that the staff has washed their hands upon leaving the w.c. Nothing turns me off more than a dirty restaurant bathroom. The point of any negative feedback is for the restaurant to clean up it's act. That's why NYC enacted the grade system, and many restaurants did just that. If things are not right with this restaurant, perhaps a better idea is to speak to management. No one wants to lose a customer, or have a customer bad mouth the restaurant, and maybe they will take the criticism seriously.

(39) Anonymous, June 7, 2013 1:10 PM

I think it is perfectly acceptable to write a review online. However, you need to stick to the facts. Don't throw in adjectives which would make the restaurant sound like a house of horrors, but do warn others of the unfair practices you mentioned. I also agree with the idea of speaking with a manager privately. By offering constructive (NOT DESTRUCTIVE) criticism, you may well be helping the manager improve his/her business practices. After all, getting and listening to feedback is how we make self improvements.

(38) Anonymous, June 7, 2013 11:01 AM

The restaurant is the one that should be embarrassed. They are ripping off Jewish people. I believe there is an obligation to worn other Jewish people of an obvious unsatisfactory, expensive experience. The consumer can use their money more wisely and go to a restaurant more deserving. Saying nothing is benefiting no one, not the restaurant because they will believe everything is fine and continue their ways, certainly not the prospective customers because their money will be wasted and they will be been disappointed. Write the review. If you tell the truth, it is not wrong.

(37) Israeli Mother, June 7, 2013 9:58 AM

This question is really not as complex as it seems. There are halachot of lashon hara that teach us how to behave in this situation. You may write a review as long as (i) you say that this is only your experience and other's experience may vary, and (ii) you write only the plain truth about what happened, without embellishment.

Example.: We paid $65 for a two-ounce portion of carp and the restaurant added a $2 charge for sushi sauce as well as adding a 20% tip onto the bill. I could not hear the person seated next to me when they spoke because there was noise coming from a private party of 40 people seated in the center of the dining area. etc. These are my experiences on the Tuesday night that we went there.

One is definitely allowed to [and absolutely must] warn someone else who is interested in going to the restaurant, but not to make general announcements to everyone in the city, whether they were interested in going there or not.

And if one reads a review such as this they are not allowed to take it as absolute fact, but may be warned and take the information into consideration.

(36) Anonymous, June 7, 2013 3:59 AM

Talk to the owner

I would let the owner to know how unsatisfied my experience in his restaurant was; I would recommend him changes for the own good of his business

(35) Yossie, June 7, 2013 3:52 AM

I would like to be warned

I am not completely familiar with the halachas regarding Loshon Horah. But here are some points to keep in mind.
One person commented that there was NO problem with Kashrut. I believe that this point should NOT be considered a favor on the restaurant's part, since it is expected, if they put out a sign that it is Kosher. As far as prices are concerned, we all know that Kosher is expensive. But many restaurants want to get rich on a few meals, and that is the reason most of them do not last. People do not go back to places where they feel gypped by overpriced, undersized meals. I figure, that is you inform people of these conditions, it should not be a problem, because the restaurant is obviously not ashamed to rip people off. I understand that rent and other expenses are high in many places. However, if they charge, for example, $38.00 for a piece of Salmon where the fish itself could be purchased for $3-$4, the very least they can do is give you enough of it so you don't go hungry. Treat me right, and I will give a glowing review. Treat me wrong, and you only have yourself to blame.
As far as the tip being included in the bill, and then leaving a line for additional tip, that is terrible. I have been to places where the service was so bad that I would not leave any tip at all, let alone extra beyond the 18%. In addition, there are some places where the waiters do not even get that 18%, and the owners use that tip to pay the waiters.
By the way, I am just curious. If you ask a Shaila from your local Orthodox Rabbi, and he agrees with your assessment of the restaurant, would he talk to the owner and set him straight. I doubt it.
Bottom line, while it may be Loshon Horah to write a bad review, there are also Halachas about how NOT to treat people, so I think we should all follow the halachas, and that would solve a lot of our problems.

Alan, June 7, 2013 11:11 AM

Gypped? Really?

Gypped is an offensive racist term. Words hurt.

(34) Rose, June 7, 2013 3:20 AM

Not an Opinion

I enjoyed the thought-provoking video but this issue is really not a matter of personal opinion; it very obviously belongs to halachic authority and is not is something we can decide ourselves. So what is the halacha in this case?

(33) Joe Yavitch, June 7, 2013 2:34 AM

Yes... write that review!!!

This does not seem hard at all. You write how you felt about the restaurant...if people want noisy they can go...if they want a quieter place...the can avoid it. If they don't care about cost they can go, if they do, they can avoid it...why is writing your own opinion a difficult thing to do. You write, we decide.

Besides, after commenting on noise, price, surcharges ( I know I would be glad to hear all this before I wasted my money)...you could also comment on the food. It might have been expensive..but good...or maybe it wasn't.

I don't think a Jewish businessman/restaurateur has the right to be exempt from comments. And a bad experience, Kosher or not, should be made public....

Also I see people say because you are a Rabbi you can't comment, that does not make any sense. You don't give up being a person with views. This is not (to me) a religious question. I'm not even sure the two issues you mentioned fit here....you can comment on movies, plays, music and restaurants...to name a few.

You are not attacking the owner on a private matter, but rather on his very public business.

(32) jools, June 7, 2013 2:27 AM

give a balanced review

Find some redeeming qualities to match the negative ones. This is helpful to everyone, including the restaurant itself.
"This restaurant is situated in a great location, and is clearly popular with the locals. The waiter who seated us was super-friendly. Too bad about the noisy environment. The portions could have been larger, and offered more value for money." Etc.

Nancy, June 7, 2013 9:02 PM

Teacher's advice

As a former teacher of 35 years, that is exactly how I used to evaluate students with problems. Always start with something positive and then add the negative....ex.John has beautiful handwrting, but needs to work on his spelling. In this manner you get your point across without too much negativity. This method works well with any type of critique.

(31) shana rabinowitz, June 7, 2013 2:24 AM

is it ok to give a negative review online?

I think you should privately have said something first to the restaurant manager and see his/her reaction and if anything will change. I also think it's ok to say it's noisy and portions are small.

(30) Daniel, June 7, 2013 2:10 AM

Yes but with caveats

I asked my Rav and he said as follows:You have no obligation to write a review from the standpoint of 'don't stand by the blood of your brothers." However, if you want to go beyond the letter of the law and prevent others from a loss, you may write a review online. Before you do, the following criteria must be met:1) You must check your intentions. If you had a bad experience and want revenge or have anger towards the store/restaurant/product then you may not write the review. Your intention must really be that you want to save others from getting into the same situation, NOT get back at the owner of the thing you are writing a review on.2) You may not exaggerate. Stick to the objective facts. You may NOT say "It took too long for the food to come." You MAY say "I waited over 45 minutes from the time I placed the order for the waiter to bring my main course." Be specific as to what happened. Just tell the story, make no judgments. Don't say "Don't patronize this restaurant!", that's you giving your opinion. Just say "this is what happened to me" and stick to the facts of the story. Let people make their own decisions. If you must use subjective things, make sure to qualify it... "Based on what I am used to, I felt that the portions were too small." Do not make generalizations... "They make you wait a long time for your food here.", as mentioned you have to be specific and talk about what happened.You do not need to talk to the owner first... Since your review is on a site that will get a lot of reviews and your review does not make or break whether he gets business it is fine to just post it as long as you conform to the above. Everyone knows that no business will have 100% of people liking it and so your review does not mean he is going to lose money.

(29) Wendy Haber, June 7, 2013 1:59 AM

Re: Is it okay to write a negative review or criticise?

I don't believe that you should be critical just for the sake of being critical but you must stand up for yourself and for what is right and for safety issues, etc. I feel strongly that when you are silent, you allow and condone bad things. I look for the good in every day but you can't let bullies run over you and sometimes you must speak out. It's hard because I don't like conflict and I like to see the good in everyone but sometimes you must speak up, sometimes you have courage to say "this isn't okay." Is it a friend who allows another friend to walk into a bad situation blindly? I think not.

(28) Mike, June 7, 2013 1:33 AM

Talk to manager

I would "cool off" and talk to manager. Down the road go back with a small group and retry it. If not improved then forget it. Don't try to hurt their business.

(27) lorna, June 7, 2013 12:47 AM

I think I would discuss my thoughts in a polite way not so much to complain but how me as a customer preceives the service and that I might be able by discussing with the owner with concern about his business and the effect it may have on his future business. I would not write an article about anyones restuarant or any matter without first speaking to the person that the matter might be about. I would point out to the owner all the positive things about his resuarant and thank him and then mention where inprovement might be warranted, I believe in leaving people in tack and with their dignity supported.

(26) Anonymous, June 7, 2013 12:33 AM

How fortunate

How fortunate that you have married children who live nearby and you can take them to a restaurant to celebrate a birthday. You are truly blessed.
Sorry, I'm not sure about the bad review, but it seems you should first talk to the manager about the tip issue. Then noise might have been that one night. Small portions, as others said, come with the territory at high-end restaurants.

Kol tuv,
YCY

(25) Terry, June 7, 2013 12:15 AM

The good and the bad...

No problem with posting a negative review online, so long as you take the time to post a positive review when it is warranted. Most people don't hesitate to gripe, but rarely give kudos. Remember this the next time you search for information about a vendor: For every "thumbs down" there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who had a very positive experience but didn't take tome to report it.

(24) Chaim Zalmon, June 6, 2013 11:55 PM

Isn't there an answer (not one general answer for every possible situation)

I am reminded of the story of the Chazon Ish where there was an established teacher in the community, and a younger teacher who brought new methods that attracted people came, and risked the person who had been established career. There was a fight on both sides, and the younger rabbi was driven out.

The Chazon Ish was asked later who was right, and he said "look in the Shulcan Aruch and that will tell you who is right, and who is wrong (meaning that there was no need to have any fighting)".

(23) Melvyn S. Berger, June 6, 2013 9:53 PM

stumbling block before the blind

I think your review should be posted on line. You are describing a restaurant, not the owners. It is a separate legal entity. If you don't comment, it is like placing a stumbling block before the blind - others who might unknowingly have the same bad experience you and your family had.

(22) Irving Resnick, June 6, 2013 8:49 PM

Are you implying that it is ok to commit la shan hora toward a non Jew? Just because he is a Jew,does,this restaurant owner deserve preferential treatment for his unconscionable behavior? I think not.

(21) David, June 6, 2013 8:01 PM

Yes!!!

There is no good reason not to post a fair review of the restaurant. If you don't post a review, you are allowing other people to be mistreated and cheated-- your silence costs them money. In addition, it may be that the owner would benefit from knowing the problems and being able to fix them (which he will have no incentive to do if he can hide behind a law forbidding honest criticism). Finally, I find the idea of applying this rule exclusively to Jews to be unreasonable and even a chilul Ha-Shem. We are saying, in effect, that it's OK to say what you want about gentiles, but that, when a Jew does something dishonest or bad, we should, in effect, be complicit through our silence (thus spreading further the bad impact of his deeds, instead of rejecting them). This entire rule needs a great deal of rethinking!

(20) Susan, June 6, 2013 7:55 PM

Comment cards

Most restaurants have comment cards, or "how are we doing?"
cards, if that is available, then by all means. Comment away! I think everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes. And I look at it as a matter of opinion. But if one is not feeling quite right about it, it would be best to take it up with the manager in private. I agree with # 2-Lisa. State the black and white on line, but take the rest up with the manager. I myself used to work in a gourmet restaurant. They do like to work out problems and keep you coming back!

(19) Ian G, June 6, 2013 7:54 PM

Truth and Lies

A negative opinion, if it is truthful, does not cause a loss of income. Bad service, overcharging etc, these, quite rightly cause a loss of income. Sometimes it is better to go to a restaurant on a quieter day. However, you must take pains to be accurate. On this day, this was my experience, this is my opinion etc. If lots of other people agree then the restaurant is in trouble.

Deliberately writing bad reviews as trolls, rivals and the peevish sometimes do is wrong because it's a lie and because it hurts without cause. This latter is to start down the road to murder. It's not complicated.

(18) Yehudit, June 6, 2013 7:49 PM

Interesting issue

What a great topic!!! It could go either way. You yourself could have been forewarned by an online comment, and would have appreciated it. Would you have seen it as lashon hara and ignored the comment? Unlikely. The question is also about how much competition there is. If this is the only kosher restaurant around, then they should not be taking advantage. If there are plenty of restaurants, then they should want to better themselves. I think that halachically you would be required to first voice your concerns to the management. If you then saw that there was no intent to change or improve, no apology, then you would be obliged to warn others. But I'm certainly no expert!!! Are you going to give us the answer??

(17) zvi, June 6, 2013 7:26 PM

Objective review is fine as information

You could write that the food was tasty though the portions were small - both true and not lashon hara IMO. You could also mention that the restaurant could be considered "lively", although that could be an issue for those interested in conversation or a generally quiet setting (personal I loathe eating in loud places so it would be a great help to me to be informed) - again, the aforementioned is not vengeful, rather informative.
Regarding the price, you could write that the place is priced for upscale guests and some of the items, such as the sauces accompanying the food, are "a al carte". And, you could fairly mention that the tip is included in the bill (I have not lived in the US for a long time and have no idea if that is legal). In The Land, the tip used to be included, 10%-12% (and the service poor - perhaps no incentive), However for the past 8 years or so tips are voluntary and the custom is to leave about 12%. In Europe, I recall the tip as being in the bill usually. The service is a bit better in Israel since the change in the law, but not as good as the typical service in the US (e.g., seldom would a waiter come to check up on the diner).

(16) W. Lawrence Lipton, June 6, 2013 7:26 PM

Lawyer Proper

I would say it is permissible to write a 'Lawyer proper' review. This is, in many way, the concept of Jewish Humor associated with the backhanded compliment.

there are clearly many ways to phrase a 'Lawyer proper' review. In many ways, short of naming the place, you've already done so with your question -- but now ALL Kosher sushi places are under a cloud. So does the failure to be specific amount to a broader negative?

Was there anything positive you could say, before bemoaning the fact that you wished there were something positive about the acoustics (which were so goo that let you hear the whispers, on the other side of the room, as if they were shouting in your ear); the prices, which were disproportionately greater than the portions; or that you didn't have to calculate the tip -- as they added it for you, be allowed a place for you to increase it (What so the waiter can think you're richer than you are, or to assure him that the service was not as poor as he was trying for).

There is a problem: You should not hurt a fellow Jew, but does that prevent you from letting him know how he can improve his business? Or is silence with regard to the latter a way of hurting him?

(15) ross, June 6, 2013 7:24 PM

DON'T DO IT!

It's totally subjective, other people might like it there. Don't you dare! You have NO idea what you might be responsible for in this world and beyond! Just let it go...it's not so hard. And in your tefillah, bless the owner. Yes, bless the owner that he should be an ehlich person and make lots of parnassa.

(14) Anonymous, June 6, 2013 7:21 PM

No debate at all

What good are reviews if they're all glowing? Then, reviews have absolutely no credibility at all.

However, in writing a review, you should keep it factual. Just because it was very loud on your visit does not mean it would be every time.

Here's a question for you, Rabbi: would you have liked to know about the small portions, the extra charge for sauce, and the furtive way the bill was presented (to receive extra tips)? I certainly would.

If there are no negative reviews, then you must have been pleased with the food and service, which, of course, does not seem to be the case.

The best reviews, negative or positive, leave emotions out of the equation and concentrate on facts.

(13) Richard (Reuven), June 6, 2013 6:57 PM

Restaurant Schmestaurant

Never. Whether Jewish, Italian, Chinese or whatever. If the food and/or service is miserable, express it in the review. And I would make sure that there is NO TIP, not even the one the management shoved in there. But that's what people in NY accept. Not here in southern California.

(12) Brahm Zuckerman, June 6, 2013 6:55 PM

Yes!

You should warn people if you are not satisfied. Why should they take advantage of people. I once had a roof replaced on my car. And the garage was totally dishonest with me. I payed extra for original parts and in the end got cheap jobber parts installed on my car for more money than the original should have cost. Should I excuse the garage and say it's OK to steal from me because he was Jewish like me? Absolutely not. Yes write a bad review and warn everybody. Small portions of food for a big price is a rip off. It should not be excused. I believe people should be treated fairly. That's my opinion.

(11) Reuven Frank, June 6, 2013 6:54 PM

As needed

This is definitely an "on the one hand..." type of problem.
I agree with a number of the above opinions in that it would certainly have been better to contact the management in person, at the time.
The one hand/other hand dilemma comes in when the line must be drawn between Loshon Hora and Warning a Fellow Jew.
If I recall my Loshon Hora halachot properly, the facts may be presented, without comment, or with a preceding/subsequent disclaimer, something on the order of “just my opinion,” or “these were the things that bothered Me. You, perhaps, might feel differently, as well as having a different experience.
Tough call, all the same.
Personally, I might do a ‘copout’-type thing, like, “I cannot review this restaurant. Things occurred that might have been isolated incidents. If you are planning on going, and seeking information beforehand, contact me at…
This removes one prohibition of Loshon Hora, in that people who are already planning to go are in a need-to-know situation (sort of like the truth about one party in a Shidduch).
I just hope I don’t have such a dilemma. No telling how I might handle it at the time.

(10) Kathee, June 6, 2013 5:35 PM

Sharing information is good

You could simply present the facts as they were, including how you hadn't researched anything about the place and so you were surprised by certain things. None of it needs to be stated harshly, including offering advice to look at your bill closely. Do your best to take the emotions out of it, explaining what happened. A concluding statement along the lines of 'because of our experience there, we are not planning to go back' can suffice.

Most online boards don't require a first and last name to show on their post. Many people use a login name or nickname. It should be fine to post your opinion without announcing that you are a Rabbi. Describing what happened is sharing your experience. If you're still concerned about negativity, you could leave out the statement and let the reader draw their own conclusions as to whether or not you may go back. Sharing the information, though, can be helpful to others who’ve never been there. .A bad experience with a waitperson could be a one-time unpleasant event and the restaurant could deserve another chance in that case, but noise level, hidden costs and having the bill set-up for double-tipping are not likely to be one-time-visit factors.

(9) Ann, June 6, 2013 12:48 PM

I agree Leave it alone

Of course your entitled to your opinion. However, what is wrong with talking to a manage in a private conversation about "your experience"? And then clak it up to a wonderful family outing.

(8) Inbar, June 3, 2013 9:33 PM

very difficult question as it can never be undone

The restaurant visit was disappointing in some aspects, but a negative review may cause others to consider this acceptable, as you are a rabbi. They may become prejudiced against the restaurant and write accordingly, following your example.

Such a review may never be lived down by the restaurant, and may help the business fail. It may even harm following enterprises by the owner. Would you consider that acceptable consequences?

It seems to me - and I am certainly no halachic authority - that your goal would be better served by making your disappointment clear during your visit, as you certainly saw the portion size in time to decide to finish the evening elsewhere. And you would then let the restaurant know they were not living up to your expectations, and give the manager a chance to provide an experience closer to your expectations for the evening.

Only if they deliberately misled you by promising ample portions and low prices, such a negative review seems warranted. 'Upscale' often enough means haute cuisine, where portion size definitely is limited....

I hope your future visits to restaurants will be more enjoyable!

(7) Yehudith Shraga, June 3, 2013 7:00 PM

It depends on the damage the public may get if you don't write it.

It seems that neither the noise, nor the small portions may be the reason for writing the negative review, because both are the question of like and dislike, some places serve salad without bread, which costs in addition much more than 2 extra $ and it is a good practice to ask what the serving includes, so here is no reason for negative review either, as for the tip included and the place for the extra tip in case..., there should be a law in a country which states if it is legal practice or not and you have to check, if the included tip is against the law, a general review with the advice to pay attention to this very specific point may be mentioned, as for the extra tip which is given according to the wish of the customer, it may not be prohibited.
Very important point is that you have no complaints on Kashrut and it's worth all the rest of the faults of the place, so think over writing the positive review anyway, because the Kashrut is not a question of like or dislike, but of the very high value even in Israel.
As for your feeling that you have paid too much for too little, you have to have more experience and visit some other places and then you may make more or less objective judgment of the place, make the "tour" with your family for you to be able to have their opinion too.
Negative review after the one visit to a place may be written if you have surely found something wrong with Kashrut or have been treaded in a way no any reasonable person may expect, but in your case, writing a negative review after the one and the only visit to the place seems to be difficult to be objective.

(6) Robert, June 2, 2013 9:11 PM

Yeah, LOR is needed, then rid anger and vengeance from your attitude!

Yeah, I agree...you need a Rav to answer this question!

In my opinion, the review should probably write a disclaimer that this is meant to warn people about the hidden prices and small portions.

The review should be written in a very refined way, and no attitude should ever show the slightest smidgen of anger or vengeance! Kind of like Pinchas...he did his zealous deed to save Klal Yisrael, not because he was religiously offended! The feeling that the reader should get is "Wow, this dude is a real mentch and wants to protect me from suffering a similar fate! I understand that he could be upset personally from this, but I dont see that in the way this review is so professionally written!


But that's my weak, and opinionated take on this, I would run to my L.O.R (Local Orthodox Rabbi) and ask him before I send my review online!

(5) Marsha, June 2, 2013 7:46 PM

It is not proper

One cannot write a negative review, if I am understanding the laws of loshon hara correctly. One may recommend where to go, but not where to go for we do not have the right to cause a business to lose money.

(4) SusanE, June 2, 2013 7:39 PM

Leave it Alone.

It was your son's birthday celebration. It was good food. It was a family dinner. Let it go. The important thing about the evening was the celebration. - - - - - - - 1, - If the restaurant is known for being upscale, then many people like it and continue to go there. 2. - Lots of places add a tip into the total bill for a party of more than 8 people, so they weren't double tipping. 3. - Most restaurants I go to always charge extra for sauces and creme cheese.... or for tomato and lettuce on a burger. That isn't uncommon, and surely this can't be the first time you have seen that extra charge. And writing a public warning to others about paying extra for sushi sauce isn't what the Torah had in mind.

(3) M. Hillson, June 2, 2013 2:00 PM

This is a Question For a Rabbi!

This is a Question For a Rabbi!

Sidney, June 2, 2013 10:59 PM

Exactly BUT

of course ask a Rav but I am sure before any Rav would give permission to post a review he would tell you that you have to warn the manager (better yet the owner) and give them a few weeks to shape up.

(2) Lisa, June 2, 2013 11:36 AM

Let the buyer beware!

Yes...write a negative review by just stating what was black & white....xtra $$$ for the sushi sauce....small portions & the double tipping. Then the consumer can draw their own conclusions!! We have an obligation to not say lashon hara, albeit a restaurant also has an obligation to be fare & honest! Bon appetite !

Alan, June 6, 2013 6:02 PM

Just the Facts!

I agree with Lisa and some of the previous comments. It's important to be fair in one's assessment, as the restaurant probably has no way to "defend" itself. If your intent is to "warn" others, this is noble. If your intent is to "punish" the restaurant, well, that's not so noble. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism as long as one is truthful.

(1) Anonymous, June 2, 2013 10:34 AM

Don't think it's proper

Actually, I was hoping to get an answer...Sometimes, I feel like saying something like, ''oh I don't like the falafel at such and such place''...And then I stop myself, to avoid lashon hara. And I reason that, at the end of the day, the judgement is based on my personal taste and I have no right to potentially harm the business.

Falafel Lover, June 4, 2013 11:11 AM

It may just be ok

If you restrict your comments to YOUR own preferences - or likes and dislikes - then you are in the clear as far as the laws of slander. You are not obligated to hem and haw to avoid admitting a perfectly reasonable objection. What you should avoid is making definitive statements or judgment calls. You can say you didn't like it - you shouldn't say it was bad.

 

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub

Receive the Aish.com Weekly Email

Sign up to our Aish Weekly Update Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy