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Grain Alley, a café at Orchard Central, appears to have missed the memo on business ethics and has gone viral for its comebacks / responses to negative feedback & reviews.

The café has received multiple complaints about its “no laptop, no tablet policy”, which customers deemed a “Turn off”especially for a “Half-filled café”.

‘No laptop, no tablet policy, but cafe is totally empty’

Photo: Google screengrab

When the customer advised the café to put up house rules signs, the café responded, “It doesn’t matter even if we’re devoid of people. We’re a work-free space, and this is stated on every table, and at both entrances, we really don’t know how else to make this more visible. “

“Often wondered about people who write reviews that reflect their objectionable nature and reveal their questionable character,” the business continued.

‘Too expensive’

Photo: Google screengrab

‘1-Star = Die-die won’t come back here again!’

Photo: Google screengrab

‘Overpriced? Price clearly on the menu, we don’t pressure buying ‘

It appears that the café also doesn’t let things pass and would include the original posts of the reviewers who later lowered their ratings to prove their point.

Photo: Google screengrab

More brutal comebacks!

“Hope this isn’t your modus operandi as your review contains inaccurate information, half-truths and outright lies,” said the Google Business profile moderator on one occasion.

“You’re such an insolent kid. Btw, take a shower; you smell, “ it said in another response.

It seems that netizens have caught wind of the savage comebacks and are now leaving reviews focusing on the café’s “Foul mouth” and giving them even more 1-star ratings.

Photo: Google screengrab

Power of social media

“If there’s one thing you didn’t learn in this day and age. It’s how quickly bad ethics get blown off in social media, “ said Google local reviewer Song Kwong Wee on Apr 28.

Grain Alley posted its “Full and final statement to put everything into context” on Instagram on Thursday (Apr 28), addressing the backlash.

“The main reason we not only survived the pandemic and thrived despite it with its related difficulties is because of them (its staff),” said the 28-month-old café, noting it would always choose its staff over “unreasonable” customers.

“On a final note. While no damage was done as staff morale is higher than usual, and sales have risen dramatically due to the ongoing publicity, “ it added.

A quick Google search shows that the café has 944 reviews, with an average 4.7-star rating. This isn’t half bad, given that Google Business profile owners can’t simply delete negative reviews.

The café has numerous 5-star reviews, with customers saying that it offers “One of the best Americano coffees in Singapore.”

For such ratings, the business would urge the customer to show their review on their next visit for a complimentary item.

Photo: Google screengrab

However, a potential customer looking for a place to eat recently stumbled on the reviews, noting the high ratings appeared to be “Incentivized,” which goes against Google’s policies.

The individual then saw how negative reviews were handled, reported Mothership.

Sustaining business image & operation

Those who work in the food and beverage industry know that customer service and taste are crucial to the business’s success. They also know that some customers can indeed transform into unreasonable critics when leaving reviews, even though they were otherwise pleasant to serve when they dined in, while the rest are more reasonable in their reviews than others.

Even so, when a food business can fully justify that a customer is being ignorant and borderline ridiculous with their statements online, there are better and civil ways the management could approach and address the issue.

Slapping back in frustration along with personal attacks on such customers will only portray a poor business image and lack of professionalism in the public eye, and will certainly not help sustain its operation in the long run. / TISG

After rude customer lectures hawker, Kf Seetoh argues, ‘Eateries & hawkers should review customers … they have a right too’

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