We’re seeing a lot of new restaurants opening up, which is great. Here are a few ways to get a good first review from us.
1. Don’t Open Without Your Chef
If your chef is out of town or something, just don’t open. If your kitchen is a headless chicken, people will notice. This seems obvious, but it happens.
When a restaurant opens, it’s best to have your head chef preparing or at least overseeing everything. Over time restaurants are able to train their staff, but at the beginning the chef needs to be there. It’s also good if the owners of the place are at the front of house or serving. Basically, people need to show up.
2. Mo Money Mo Problems
It’s fine to charge more, just know that you’ll be held to a higher standard. This doesn’t mean that you have to give huge portions, but people either want to be full or amazed.
As a rule of thumb, if a dish costs more than Rs. 1,500, it needs to be extra special. Good ingredients are just the minimum, they need to be cooked perfectly (get a meat thermometer), the presentation needs to be beautiful, and it needs to taste really good.
A lot of places label themselves fine dining without understanding the attention to detail that’s actually required. If you’re going for that price point, you have to be on point.
3. Feed Your Staff
Your staff should know the menu. So let them try the food. The best case is where management serves the waiters for a day. That way they know what the food is and what service levels are expected. At the least, gather the staff in the kitchen a few times and let them sample.
At the extreme you have Wijeyapala at Min Han who orders for you, but there is a happy medium where your staff can at least answer questions. When we review we often ask the waiter to recommend something and go with that. If they can’t recommend anything at all, then it’s an immediate red flag.
Whenever we see a menu with more than 50 dishes we shudder. How can all of those ingredients possibly be fresh? We’re also terrified when we see multiple cuisines. How can your cooks be good at all of them?
You have a much better chance of getting a good review if you do a few things well. That means focusing on what you’re good at and cutting out the rest. Your menu should be what you’re good at, not everything a human could possibly desire.
5. Be Nice To Brown People
We’re looking at you Mirissa. Colonial days are over, and it’s a minimum to treat everyone equally. It is simply not cool to treat white people or people you consider important better.
6. Don’t Threaten To Kill Us
Bad reviews can become good, but we’ll probably never come back if you threaten to kill us, which happens. In general, this is not a sign of a good establishment.
You don’t have to accept a review and we may be wrong. We’re quite happy to give a place a re-review and things do change. It is, however, not cool to threaten to kill people, and you can’t really sue us for an opinion.
If you disagree please call us and talk, but no hitting.
Bonus: Have An Accurate Menu
Very often we’ll be given a menu where nothing is available. This makes us sad. Please don’t make us hungry for things we can’t eat.
If you only have a few items, just print them on an A4 and hand that out, it’s fine. Just don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Sometimes we end up really wanting something that just isn’t there.
As a second note, if you’re a bar, don’t open without a liquor license. Just why.