February 10, 2013

New “Reviewer Card” Touts Better Restaurant Service For Owners

If you want better service at a restaurant, just buy this card, and flash it to your server before eating. Supposedly, you’ll get better service.

What a crock. Prepare yourself for a rant.

Reviewer Card is a sort of “cool-kids club” for grown folks who enjoy dining out. Basically, you pay $100 (USD) and they send you a card for you to show upon being seated.

The card reads boldly on the front of it “I Write Reviews”, so the hostesses should probably trip over themselves trying to wait on you hand and foot while the rest of the non-review-writing chumps slurp at the ice in the bottom of their glasses waiting for a refill. It looks like a fancy credit card, and seems to me like a way to intimidate your servers into getting good service.  If you go to a good restaurant, that intimidation wouldn’t be necessary.

Brad Newman, founder of ReviewerCard, told the Los Angeles Times, (in an attempt to shut critics like me up), “It’s not a threat. It’s a way to get the service you deserve.”

Again, I have to stress if you go to a good place, you won’t need a card to get the service you deserve.

I am not a restaurant review writer or even a reader for that matter. I know what I like, and I go to those places. My wife, on the other hand, is a big fan of reading online reviews, and our experiences based on her research have almost always yielded good experiences.

Here’s the catch. (Aside from the $100 (USD) fee to be a cardholder.) Reviewer Card will scan the Internet before approving your card to see if you regularly write reviews. If you’re just a casual complainer, you’ll be denied. If you write reviews regularly, you’re more apt to become a member, so it does kind of make sense in that aspect.

I’m no waiter, and the closest I’ve ever been is boxing up fried chicken for the drive thru window as a kid, but I’m under the impression that this may have the opposite effect, especially if your server is a cynic or is simply having a bad day and doesn’t feel like catering to a snotty customer.

I just can’t see a waiter going to the back of the restaurant with wide eyes and raised brows whispering eagerly to the cooks “He’s got that card! He writes reviews! We better treat ‘em right or we’re screwed!” You’re probably more likely to get boogers in your burger or spit in your salad.

To add insult to injury, this card sort of takes away the prestige and professionalism that comes from actually being a career food writer or restaurant reviewer. I can only imagine how real heavy-duty foodies feel about this card. What an offence. Any clown with a hundred bucks can claim to be a big shot foodie. That doesn’t seem right.

In Brad Newman’s defense, I did read this on CNN Tech and laughingly agree, “Bottom line, Brad Newman is an opportunist who seems to have found a mildly clever way to get stupid people to give him money. Which is completely fair.”

I have to say, while I think the card is a load of crap, the guy’s onto something, and I bet he’s eating well. (Because he’s got enough money to go to a nice restaurant with good service, not because he flashes some black card wannabe.)

Image Credit: Robyn Mackenzie / Shutterstock

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