Since we've been opened, we've had a handful of Yelp reviews. For the most part, we've had a lot of 5 star reviews, and all but two are from people we've never met before. The people we know who did leave reviews, didn't leave them because we asked them to. They left them because they genuinely liked the food and their experience. They have been full paying, repeat customers, who live in the area and deserve to voice their opinions like everyone else.
The most mind-boggling thing to me is why other people who didn't enjoy the food feel the need in their reviews to accuse the other reviewers of being fake. Is there no room for different opinions anymore in today's society? Does everyone have to announce that they know best? The truth is, when we receive a review from a customer outlining a negative experience they had or witnessed, we take it seriously. We want to deal with every problem head on and fix it. When a customer has an issue at the restaurant and tells us, we always do what we can to turn their experience into a positive one. Because we always make sure to take care of customer complaints, I find it incredibly upsetting to see a customer bash our restaurant on Yelp without letting us address the complaint while they're at the restaurant.
We're a new restaurant, and like every new business there are always going to be a few hiccups. Unlike a lot of other businesses though, we want to see the hiccups. We want to deal with the problems and make everything as perfect as possible. However, without constructive criticism, it's impossible to truly know what is an issue and what isn't.
For example, if someone complains in a review that everything they ate was bland and not seasoned to their liking, while more than 95% of our 930 customers are all satisfied, does that mean that this individual's food wasn't done right in the kitchen that night, or does it mean they just prefer spicy food and all purpose seasoning? The truth is, without being told the complaint at the restaurant, we have no way of deciphering the root of the problem. Had this complaint been heard, we would've comped the meal, returned it to the kitchen, and the kitchen would've checked the food to see if there was something they did wrong. If they did it wrong, they'd know for next time. On the other hand, if it tasted as it should, that may just mean our food isn't this customer's cup of tea. We would still comp them the meal. People aren't meant to like all of the same things. If everyone was supposed to like the same thing, then every restaurant's menu, according to my tastebuds, would only offer salmon and shrimp sushi, a half rack of ribs with french fries, duck, and gluten-free pineapple-coconut fried shrimp. For some odd reason, I've accepted the fact that, lets say, the Cheesecake Factory hasn't added these food items in replacement of their 20 page menu that I can't actually eat anything from.
Some complaints are easier to deal with then others. On one hand, certain complaints about portion size we want to deal with, to satisfy our customers. However, it can certainly be confusing when 60% of your clientele tells you they're happy to finally go to a restaurant and not get an oversized portion they can't finish, and the other 40% tells you they're still hungry and need more. We're working on finding that happy medium for these customers but I'm sure it will take a little time to figure out. Because these comments are constructive and customers have suggested different things they'd like from more vegetables to giving amuse bouches, etc., we're actually able to look into the issue and work on solving it. We're not just given a string of complaints with no solution. I really appreciate the customers who have taken the time to give us these constructive critiques and help us try to improve our business.
At the end of the day, I have to remember to just listen, breathe, and understand that not everything is for everyone. I'm not going to lie. At 23 years old, I may recognize that that's the way the world works but it's still definitely not easy to hear someone bash a business you've put your heart and soul into. It makes it hard to sleep at night and because of my health issues, it can also make it hard to eat somedays. It's a lesson that I'm still learning and something I have to come to terms with. In the end though, I appreciate every single customer whether they have loved our restaurant or they haven't and still have constructively told us what positive changes they'd like us to make.
To those who have dined at our restaurant already, thank you! We love seeing your smiling faces and it's a pleasure to serve you. And for those who haven't, we hope to see you there and hope to make your experience a positive one. Remember, if you do have a critique, let us know. We want to hear from you and we want to make your experience just as magical as we have for our other guests!
30990 Russell Ranch Rd Unit C, Westlake Village, CA 91362
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.