Toronto cafe gives two-star review incredibly polite and detailed response
When Toronto businesses get critical reviews that are only one or two stars, owners sometimes fire back with passionate responses that aim to dispel the negative impact of such reviews.
One cafe owner who responded to a two-star review recently took the opposite approach, politely and carefully responding to each point the reviewer made in great detail.
"We have been too spoiled by your 5 star reviews," Another Land posted to their Instagram story with a screenshot of the two-star review. "I know we are not perfect in many ways. But I'm pretty confident in our coffee quality and service."
Another Land is a dreamy upper-floor coffee shop in North York that curates artisanal beans and makes cute drinks and snacks: think scones with clotted cream and various toasts.
"Service was nice although making the coffee was slow," the review reads. "Although they advertise latte art there wasn't any effort made in our drinks. Coffee wasn't that fragrant and tasted a little diluted. I'd probably save my money to go to the other cafes in the city."
The business replied to the review online saying they were sorry to hear the reviewer didn't enjoy their visit.
They then went on to detail how they weigh all dry grounds and liquid coffee, how having to re-pull espresso shots can sometimes cause delays, and how all baristas are trained in milk steaming skills but that not all of them are latte artists yet.
They also responded saying their default espresso is a medium roast that's more chocolatey and nutty, and not as bold as the dark roasts some cafes use. Lastly, they say they're more than happy to make another drink if the one someone gets isn't to their taste.
"I actually can't recall this customer, this review was left four weeks ago, for some reason I didn't see it until two days ago. I asked my other staff Ben about this, he said he couldn't remember either," Another Land founder Hong Dai tells blogTO.
"Cortado and flat white are the most popular drinks people order with us and we are confident in our coffee quality and service. I guess this person most likely order take away coffee, usually we check with customers when they leave."
The cafe's policy is to always check in to see if people like their drinks, especially if it seems they may not have enjoyed them.
"As a very small business we don't have much budget to run a marketing campaign or even to make proper street signage," says Dai.
"But when it comes to equipment, coffee beans and other ingredients that go into our coffee and food, anything that can directly impact people's experience, we splurge."
Sometimes only one barista is working because Dai can't afford to hire more staff. She tries to be there as much as she can, but sometimes leaves to run errands when it's slow and then the cafe gets unexpectedly slammed.
"Ben only started his coffee journey as a barista recently," says Dai. "I can see his improvement but it might not be good enough for some people's expectation. I know that we can't make everyone happy but we try."
So far Dai has not heard back from the customer, but rarely gets responses to any replies to reviews. Dai is also involved with running Woodhouse BBQ, and has a one-year-old baby.
"We just don't have the money and man power to run marketing campaigns like large restaurant corporations, and also we are on the second floor," says Dai.
"We don't get as much foot traffic either, so online reviews like Google reviews can really make or break a small business. We are very blessed with a lot of our customers writing us really good reviews and that's how many people find us."
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