Yes, yes we know Orla, you were once a lawyer... Yet 17 years, studying/ practicing law and I still felt uncomfortable with the title “legal advisor".
The term advisor infers such an air of importance and knowledge, that it still makes me feel a little anxious. As a legal advisor I tended not to think too hard about the outcomes of the advise I gave, to do so would have only ended up with more sleepless nights with the words "Orla said it would be ok" ringing in my ears and there were enough of them already.
However, it would appear that perhaps I attach an air of importance to the term advisor which isn't actually reflected in other areas where it is bandied about with no qualifications to back it up.
And yes, I am taking about trip advisor. And no , this isn't going to be a blog ranting about trip advisor, but merely my observations as someone very new to the hospitality industry that has been exposed to this for the first time- so ok, a little bit of ranting...
First of all, I am so unbelievably grateful that no such a thing existed for lawyers. I mean were there times, I missed deadlines, was a little too sharp with a client, and hid in my office as there was so much crap going on in my real life that I couldn't face socialising with the masses, 100% yes. I think I was a good lawyer 99% of the time, but there is always a 1%- I was human.
Thankfully in one of those 1% days there wasn't someone lurking in the distance waiting to pounce and pronounce to the world all my minor or major faults.
Those who work in the hospitality industry are afforded no such grace and neither are they afforded a lawyers salary. Yet, wannabe food writers, reviewers, journos, bloggers are waiting to pounce with a desire to share their views with the world. Now don't get me wrong- freedom of speech is sacred and should be upheld at every possible opportunity, but with it too comes responsibility and accountability- neither of which I see on this so called advisor platform.
To be clear- we genuinely value negative feedback and have we had some complaints in the last year- absolutely! We have had personal conversations, emails and private messages where people have aired their concerns and guess what we did...tried to resolve them. So the batch of stale muffins were binned, the off almond milk thrown out, the people whom we forgot your order or your soup was a bit cold , we apologised and probably gave you some freebies.
So before you become trigger happy in the hope that the Guardian may just be trawling the net for some untapped talent...ask yourself this;
Have you ever had one of those days where life is just a little crap, you didn't get a wink of sleep, you have a really horrible piece of work on your to do list, a dead line you know you're not going to make and an event to go to after work which you want to go to as much as the dentist for a root canal and well you are just not your normal sweetness and light self with one of your clients/customers. Would you prefer that someone mentioned this to your boss personally who could deal with it there and then, or posted it on line for them to pick up out of the blue on another day when the sweetness and light has returned?
I made a newbie mistake of responding at the start to a couple of reviews, asking for them to contact me so I could help rectify the situation and guess what neither did, which tells me they actually care less about their issue being resolved than telling the world- so in one fail swoop...
1- to the gentleman who had too much mayo on his sandwich- here’s a tip. Tell your server, as you know what they might just do....make you another one.
2- to the non fan of the cheap looking modern decor- I will be sure to pass on your comments to Hay, Fransden, Broste Copenhagen and Excel.
3- to the lady whose coffee order was forgotten, was apologised to umpteen times, got a coffee free and who doubts she will be back- please don't, I am not sure there is a surgeon in the country who could sew together the hole bitten through my tongue.
4- Finally, to the gentleman who thinks we are a little pretentious for the Ormeau Road- we will of course start planing to relocate to a more “salubrious” part of the city. Suggestions welcome.