Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food Bloggers = Guerillas?

What do you think? Am I dangerous? Are we all dangerous?....

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Mini language lesson (English):
GUERILLA

A person who engages in irregular warfare especially as a member of an independent unit carrying out harassment and sabotage.

(Source: Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.

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Recent comments got me thinking:
Like many Malaysians, I love food, and I want to share my experiences with everyone.... but is it fair for me (and other food bloggers) to launch (kinda) guerilla styled* reviews on restaurants?
(*Where I/we do not inform the restaurant ppl of our presence)
*PIEW-PIEW*
Food Bloggers = Snipers? (Hidden in the surroundings and shooting restauranteers from afar)...

I really value my anonymity, because (I think) it means that I get the normal everyday dining experience, like everyone else - no special treatment**....
(**Besides, it's not like I am a superstar, right?)

Also, yes. Most of my reviews are based on my untrained taste buds, and one dining experience... so maybe restauranteers will say, "Hey, not fair - You're not professionally trained... And we were just having one bad day..!"

Here is an extreme example though:
People at factories work hard, right? (The whole team, whether production line or QA team)... but if I get into a car accident because they put together the brakes/ engine/ etc wrongly, can they just say "*shrug* It happens lah. You have to be understanding because we were having a bad day..."
Are my words like random bullets?....

*sigh*

Like I said, it's an extreme example.
(Most of the time, the worst that can happen after a really bad meal is food poisoning....)

The reality is:
I, as do most of the population, work hard for my money,... so while that doesn't give me the right to talk badly about restaurants (without responsible self censorship), it also doesn't mean that I won't feel cheated to some extent if the food or service is not up to my personal taste.

Anyway, how many people would go back to a restaurant to keep experimenting whether it was just one bad day or not? It isn't completely fair but when it comes to the F&B world especially, consistency*** is the key to success - every day is unique, every day is a new test.
(***Look at McDonalds - a big part of their success is based on convenience and the fact that everyone knows exactly what to expect from them....)
Maybe I should be a silent monkey? Say no evil? ....

Hmmmm...
I don't rant very often on my blog so I hope you don't mind this episode.
:)

And actually, what do you think? Am curious what your opinions are on this.....


Pensive,
J

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12 comments:

sc said...

same here, i like to walk in like any other customers and have a 'normal' dining experience. i started posting on food as a log for myself- to remember places to go and places to avoid. as for makan places, yes, consistency is very important and if they cant maintain that, even if we dont blog about it, word of mouth (on bad food) spreads like wild fire. on the flip side, i've seen some food places business improved because of blogs, so there's a positive note to it too:)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

it depends on whether u like the restaurant in other senses like ambience and the feeling it gives you.. something like a gut feel. BUT if food is crap after 2 or 3 times max, then its a nice cross from the list.

J said...

to sc:
It's great when the food places can take the comments constructively! :)

So far, in these years I have kena-ed a few kinda disgruntled sounding comments from ppl... :(

to "Joe" who is constantly craving:
Yup yup - money doesn't grow on trees, and consumed calories are hard to get rid of. :)

thule a.k.a leo said...

I never expect any food reviews (not that I'm famous anyway) but I certainly don't mind going for one if given the opportunity :)

For me, it's just walk-in, eat (opps.. take pic first), pay and go.. simple as that. If the food is good, they don't have to worry right? Coz they certainly will put more effort to cook the dishes should they know that food bloggers are coming!

thenomadGourmand said...

Food reviews to me now are more of enjoying the company of those who are coming as well.
Perfect time to catch up ;).
but I alws dread writing the review after, for i'm aware(& this has been proven to be true)tht the food I just had was MORE painstakingly prep than on any otr usual day.

However, if I have been to the outlet b4 as a regular customer & had a good experience,I do not mind
joinin a food review session to try out the rest of the menu.
You get what I mean?

J said...

to thule aka leo:
I like the anonymous way much more too! Altho it's more painful for the wallet... Haha....
(Hey, don't forget to take photos before eating - it's very important! :P)

to thenomadGourmand:
Yeah, I get what you mean completely! :) :) :)

(Love it when a restaurant can dish up good food/ great service whether normally or during an invited review - feels like it's not a rule but more like an exception though, unfortunately...)

babe_kl said...

nowadays when i get invites, i will ask them to agree to my caveats :p

J said...

to babe_kl:
Oh ok...
Hey, but what are your caveats? *curious*

boo_licious said...

*wave hand* - totally support you on the annoymity bit, as yes, you get a different treatment when you wave a camera in the restaurant and announce you're a food blogger esp in this tech savvy world now.

I don't think we're guerillas though, more like tasters who express our personal views in our own blogs. Everyone is bound to have a difference in tastebuds. Of course, if you eat out often, you slowly gain a knowledge and know better but it still boils down to personal preferences.

Hope that helps you get over your rant! Big hugs! Keep true to your beliefs.

J said...

to boo_licious:
Awww thanks... *BIG HUGS back* :)
(And yes, it definitely help!)

Jun said...

Agreed with you. Given a choice I rather go there as a "sniper", lol meaning unbiased production. I mean it's a bit fake right if I were to go there and have food that is prepared and served with different efforts.

Anyway, my way of capturing photos is that I would first order, capture food and eat. Then I would capture the surroundings but by asking the permission from the owner (sometimes though, you know how busy some owners are). Hehe =)

J said...

to Jun:
Well, free food is nice too...
(Muahaha...)

... (not that I get free invites that much anyway) but I feel so bad if I find out that the quality is too far from the normal... So far, there have been some restaurants that are actually consistent though! :)

Anyway, keep up the good work fellow sniper! :)

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