Deciding to be Positive

If you’ve ever left a comment on my blog, you’ve probably noticed that Chattavore is a “positive-only” blog.  A couple of people have left negative comments about some of the restaurants I’ve blogged, and those comments were promptly deleted (don’t worry, I didn’t know any of the comment-leavers).  My thought is that this is my blog, I have chosen to keep it positive, and if you want to say ugly things (and the things that I have deleted have not been “on-the-fence” but instead have been horrible, scathing comments about the restaurants) then you can either start you own blog or you can leave your remarks on Urbanspoon or Yelp.

Sometimes it feels a little burdensome only writing positive reviews.  Not that I want to write negative reviews….but it can be very frustrating when I visit a restaurant and am terribly disappointed, or when I haven’t done a review in a while and really need to post one.  Today, I ate at a restaurant that wasn’t terrible, but I also didn’t have anything good to say about it.  It was food, and I didn’t hate it, but there was not a single great thing about what Philip or I had to eat.  It really upset me, because I really wanted to do another review….it’s been several days.

I have considered going ahead and writing reviews for restaurants I don’t like.  Philip pointed out to me that it could be seen as more “constructive criticism” than just negativity.  I do try to be honest when I write a positive review and point out things that could be changed (for example, my comments about the customer service at Nana’s), but I just don’t think that I can go into the realm of negative reviews.  For one things, even if I don’t like a restaurant, there are probably plenty of people who do like that place, as must be the case for the place where I ate today, which has been in its current location for several years.  Who am I to say that they are wrong?  Second of all, what if my remarks negatively impacted someone’s business?  Since I only review local restaurants, that would be a terrible effect.  I have no illusions that thousands of people in the Chattanooga are are reading my blog and making their dining-out decisions based on what I say, but it is my hope that someday that will be the case.  I don’t want to hurt someone’s business!

Finally, I want to have an honest dining experience.  Let me say it again: I have no illusions that everyone and their brother knows who I am, and restaurant owners don’t know me.  Still, I have read about well-known food writers who got “special treatment” when a restaurant owner or chef figured out that they were in the restaurant.  Again, no one knows who I am…but what if they did?  What if I got some really great food and the place was actually really bad for the average diner?  I realize that this could still happen if I’m only doing positive reviews, but it seems to be most prevalent when a restaurant is trying to avoid a negative review.

So anyway, I didn’t get a restaurant post today.  Instead, I wrote this.  For tomorrow, I guess I better get on my photo editing so I can give you a recipe (Swedish pancakes, anyone?).  Cause Chattavore is keepin’ it light, people!


9 thoughts on “Deciding to be Positive

    • Honestly, if I decided to go that route, I’d probably increase my audience a lot! But….that’s just not my style. Oh well…I’ll just have to lure people in with great recipes and writing, and hopefully, with a little practice, great photos.

  1. I agree with you. Stay positive. A little helpful criticism could be a good thing for some. I always, well maybe usually, give a restaurant 2 chances if the first experience was not up to par or even bad. Maybe they had a bad night or a new staff that they fired the next day. Who knows, but they deserve a second chance. Sometimes the second chance paid off and the place was actually good. Sometimes, not so much and I stay away. Keep those posts coming! They’re wonderful!

    • Yes, that’s pretty much the stance I take….like recently, Philip and I tried a new restaurant that was a complete bust, but we ordered one of the entrees. We have heard from multiple people that their pizzas and calzones are good, so we’ll eventually go back and try that. Sometimes restaurants just need to shift their focus to those things that they do really well! 🙂

  2. I think it is a hood idea to take off negative comments, because your blog is not a public forum for people to rate restaurants . However to seriously consider you blog a real review you need to add the good bad and ugly. You can do it in a professional constructive way, and share it with with the restaurants so they can better themselves. If you truly want this to take off you can’t omit data for all positive outcomes, makes for bad results for you.

    • I agree to a point, but if it’s all “bad and ugly” I’m not going to do it. To be overtly negative you have to try lots of things….food critics have a budget to do that, and sadly, I do not. Like I said, if there’s a problem but I like it overall, I will point it out.

  3. Just read this one and I agree with you, Mary Nelle. A negative review may be warranted, but impacting someone’s business, and likely their livelihood, is not good for anyone. People talk negatively enough in everyday conversation… reading about it is overkill. I think your site will be just fine without it.

Thanks for leaving a comment....but remember that Chattavore is a positive site. Keep your comments nice! Negativity will be deleted.

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