Everybody uses Yelp to pick out restaurants, favoring the places that have the highest ratings from the most people. It must be frustrating for restaurant owners to have their standing sullied with a negative review. Typically they respond to their critics on Yelp, but one manager was so upset he went full stalker, showing up at one reviewer's front door.
Yesha Callahan lives in Sterling, Virginia, and is the deputy managing editor of the online magazine The Root. One night she decided to get dinner from a new restaurant, the pizzeria La Porchetta. She placed an order for a burger and zeppoles, and when it arrived, the delivery worker encouraged her to leave a Yelp review.
She complied, rating the experience, three stars, criticizing the cheeseburger, which was "very dry & unseasoned," and the zeppoles, which "barely had an powdered sugar on them & were soggy from the styrofoam container."
It's not a glowing review, but three stars out of five isn't that bad, either. Yesha even offers to give the restaurant another chance, writing "maybe next time I'll try the pizza." However, La Porchetta's owner and manager massively overreacted to the innocuous rating, showing up at her apartment. On The Root, Yesha described the experience, which sounds like something out of a horror movie:
"At 10:05 p.m., I was in bed on the verge of falling asleep when I heard someone knocking on my door. I live alone. People rarely visit without warning me first. So needless to say, I was startled [and didn't answer the door]...
"Then the phone rang. I didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the phone number... A few seconds later, the same call came in. I sent it to voicemail again. This time, they actually left a message. 'Hello, this is [inaudible name], the manager of La Porchetta. I am outside your door. I want to speak to you about your Yelp review,” the heavily accented Middle Eastern voice said."
After this terrifying incident, Yesha tweeted "WTF" to Yelp and wisely called the police. An officer showed up at her door to take a police report and patrol the area, to make sure nobody was snooping around. When he left, he commented, "Guess you won't be ordering from there again," which is the understatement of the century.
Yesha updated her review, lowering the rating to an abysmal one star. She also described her nightmarish experience, slamming the creepy restaurant owner. "I do not answer my door late at night for anyone," wrote Yesha. "How dare you show up at my house! What kind of business are you running. And yes, the police have been notified."
On Twitter, Yelp posted a response, saying they were conducting an investigation, and had terminated La Porchetta's contract with their delivery partner, Grubhub.
After sharing her strange story online, other Yelp users flooded La Porchetta's page with negative reviews.
La Torchetta's owner responded to some of the bad reviews, trying to spin the late night stalking as an innocent attempt to make another delivery. "It is very Unfortunate that we sent the wrong message by attempting the second delivery to correct the first mistake," wrote the owner. "We have just started and we really wanted to impress our customers." (Well, mission accomplished! Except they're impressed by how crazy you are.)
Several Yelpers noticed the restaurant owner, who is a man, changed his avatar to a young black woman. Which, uh, seems a bit weird.
In the comment section, Yesha responded to the owner's bizarre avatar change, writing, "Yup..dude is a special kind of crazy." Well said.
Hopefully La Porchetta's manager quits the hospitality industry. With this kind of behavior, the only orders he's going to get are restraining orders. But if I were to rank his reaction in terms of craziness, I'd give it five stars, easy.