August 26, 2009

Yeeelp!

Hey all. I don’t have a picture for this post. Sorry.

I don’t talk much here about reviews/ exposure. Our general attitude (mentioned previously) is that we’d like to limit exposure, and let others do the talking. And I just don’t manage that stuff very carefully.

But last night we had a funky review. It was all focused on eggs, and how the reviewer doesn’t like Clover because we don’t offer eggs at Brunch (and we ran out of OJ when she was there). And she thinks Brunch means eggs (it really means “late breakfast, typically on weekend”). (how a sleepy Ayr accidentally started a Yelp flame war after the break)

So anyway, as you all know, Brunch is our latest work in process. We’re working hard to make it rock, but it’s still in a very early stage. Last night I responded to a review (below). Now this morning I get another review from the first reviewers boyfriend (?) pissed about my response. Folks, step back for a minute. Why are you Yelping in the first place?

ORIGINAL POST:

Alright.

To me, Sunday brunch = EGGS.
EGGS= brunch.

Breakfast= waffles, pancakes, and other quick mixes.

So, I was very 🙁 when there was no egg option when I came for Sunday brunch.

There was only one option, the option of pancakes with sides of X, Y, or Z.
So why not E- for eggssss??

Is it too much to fry up an egg than to fry up seitan?
Yes, I’m whining.  But I’d like a side of eggs, if not a delicious egg sandwich.

Please?

And you were out of OJ too, during mid brunching hour?? 🙁

MY RESPONSE

Hana — sorry you had a bad experience. how did you find out about us?

our brunch has always been simple. our vision is to bring the community atmosphere of a New England sugar shack to Cambridge on Sundays. we’re working on it. I don’t think the pancakes are as good as they need to be yet, part of that is because they have to travel which makes it hard to do yeasted batters or folded egg whites. but they are getting better and better every weekend.  the star of the show for us is the maple syrup. I can’t think of anything better to bring folks together, and that’s what we’re hard at work to achieve. and by hard at work I mean I gave up my Sunday with my kids, Rolando did as well, and we got started at 6am to get everything together for that Sunday you were there.

It happened to be busier than we were expecting, so yeah, we ran out of OJ. but you know what that means? when you do get it it’s super fresh. we run out of stuff because we refuse to over-order and carry food from one day to the next. think about the reverse, the place that never runs out of everything. that only happens when you’re satisfied to carry large inventory and sit on food. do you know how 99% of the places in the Boston area make that work for OJ? They buy OJ that has been “squeezed” in Florida, it’s called Orchard Island orange juice. It has a 26 day shelf life. I know of only 2 places in Boston that actually squeeze their fresh OJ instead of using Orchard Island: Tocasnnini’s, and Hi Rise.

On your main complaint: I think eggs are very very hard to cook well. I actually think they are one of the hardest things there is to cook. Rolando, our chef agrees. And we’re not going to serve up eggs that are just OK. Very good eggs are just not compatible with mass production. So we’ll keep laboring until we get the perfect pancake. Something that we believe can be delivered perfect, repeatedly, by folks of varying skill levels.

And for the record, we don’t fry our seitan.

ANGRY 2ND “REVIEW”

Oh Clover.

Why did you have to ruin a good thing?

So, trip 1: Crowded lunch-time trip for the ‘famous’ falafel. Good, tasty stuff, but then again, not quite as good as Rami’s in Brookline. But a tasty lunch edition to the area, nonetheless.

Trip 2: Weekend brunch. Light crowd and average pancakes. Yes, they did sell us an OJ but then give it to someone else and run out, but it’s a small shop, and you can easily look that over.

And then the 3rd ‘visit’: My girlfriend, after posting her review, gets a note from the owner riddled with more excuses than a man with ED. First issue was the OJ running out, which the owner noted that this is primarily due to the challenge of squeezing oranges and nobody else really does it. Okay, yes, freshly squeezed OJ can be a bit of work, but some restaurants do it successfully, and if you’re not up for the challenge, don’t have it on the menu.

As for spending your Sunday with us instead of the kids; whilst, we do appreciate your genuine effort in getting there and setting up shop, it is your business and you do have a choice on whether you would like to show up and open shop and charge money for your goods; I would think it would be poor to write to a customer suggesting that you are doing it as a favor to them.

And really, here’s what it comes down to. I genuinely liked Clover first time round and excitedly took my girlfriend first chance I had. So we had a mediocre experience and she wrote a review about it on Yelp. And the owner decided to respond in a private message. Which is good. However, how he did it, unfortunately, not as much.

So I write back to the dear owner of Clover,

I have no doubt you will grow, and people will probably post poor or mediocre reviews, but how you deal with them is really, really important. Again, writing back is great. But here are a couple of ways you can approach it:

1) I’m sorry you had a bad experience first time around a Clover, but we do really appreciate your suggestions and invite you back to try our new ____.

or, more akin to what the girlfriend got:
2) Left my kids to cook for you. Ran out of OJ, tough. Eggs can’t be cooked in mass. Tough.

We want you to survive, we really do. But we beg of you to revisit the way you talk to the people who ultimately will keep you flourishing.

Best luck.

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