Celebrity Irish chef puts moaning customer in his place

It seems there are so many moaning customers these days who just want to complain and pick fault…and review sites gives them the perfect opportunity to air their views.

Treyvaud's Restaurant, Killarney

Of course, it’s right that people should be able to have their say, but at the same time they may sometimes forget that there is a real person on the receiving end of their jibes…a person whose livelihood could be destroyed by unfair criticism.

The hospitality industry is a typical example. Review websites like Trip Adviser give everyone and anyone an easy opportunity to vent their anger and leave scathing reviews. What they don’t perhaps realise is that the way they rate restaurants and hotels can have a huge impact, resulting in loss of business.

Ireland Calling has featured many business owners who’ve hit back at what they consider unfair criticism. The latest to decide enough is enough is Irish celebrity chef Paul Treyvaud who owns Treyvaud’s restaurant in Killarney.

He found himself coming under fire from a reviewer who complained he’d been ripped off after being charged €7.95 for a takeaway cornish pastie and €7.95 for a beef sandwich.

Mr Treyvaud thought this was very unfair and decided he’d suffered in silence for too long. He wrote a reply saying: “Ah yes, I remember dragging you in off the street and making you buy these!

“Don’t worry, no need to mention that they were in homemade sundried tomato focaccia bread, roasted the beef ourselves which was prime irish sirloin of beef, coleslaw with the pastie, in the middle of a pandemic, doing our best to stay in business, keep our staff in jobs for this winter.

“I am so sorry for forcing you to buy them.”

Mr Treyvaud is well known in Ireland for his work with Virgin Media.

He told the Irish Mirror that bad reviews had become a major problem, especially during the current pandemic.

He said: “It’s so frustrating, running a restaurant is hard enough at the best of times and at the moment now we are bending over backwards trying to make people feel comfortable.

“There are just some ridiculous reviews of places around Killarney at the moment, you’d see a one-star review and the person says they couldn’t get in because it was too busy.

“Or that they were having good craic but were asked to leave after 105 minutes and they give one star. We didn’t make the time limit rules we just have to abide by them.

“If you think there’s something wrong just say it and we can try to help, people come in say everything is great, clean the plate say everything was fine and then go home and leave a bad review.

“We can’t do anything for you afterwards. I think it’s a certain type of mentality to be leaving bad reviews on Tripadvisor.”

Mr Treyvaud believes the reviews are particularly damaging because visitors from abroad often use them if they don’t know the local area very well. He said: “For foreign tourists I think your rating really makes a difference, one bad review could drop you from 6th in Kerry’s list to maybe 10th.
“They usually only look at 1-10 and if you are any lower than that they’re not looking at you at all.”

Mr Treyvaud accepts there is no way to stop bad reviews, nor does he think people should be stopped from expressing their opinion, he just asks that reviewers are fair and take into account the difficult circumstances facing all restaurants and hotels at the moment.

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