Should bloggers write a negative review?

It is a question that I see asked regularly in blogging forums.  “I have been sent this to review but I hate it, should I write a negative review?”.

My answer is always yes.

As bloggers we value the trust our readers have in us to be honest when reviewing something and if never write bad stuff then the internet is just awash with praise.    The fact that there is only one good review for something is pointless if fifty people are biting their tongue, too afraid to comment or not sure how to word it.  Or even worse “I got it for free so I really can’t say anything negative”.

Hogwash I say.

As long as the post is not libelous then I think we should voice our opinions.    Thankfully so far the things I have been sent to review I have liked and I have never had to write a negative review.  Admittedly I have loved somethings more that others, but even if I didn’t like something I would still write about it.

Why am I asking you this today?

Well last night we went out for dinner, eight of us to see a friend we hadn’t seen for a while.  It should have been a bigger group but illness and work commitments meant some couldn’t make it at the last minute.    We went to Zizzi’s in Camberley as it is a restaurant all know well, reasonably priced and fairly central for people coming from Horsham / Windsor and us in Fleet.

First of all, with only seven of us there the waitress only took six drinks orders.  Didn’t bother asking Mr B what he wanted.   And then we had to wait a good 20 minutes to half an hour for them to arrive.

The starters came out one at a time.   Why the waitress couldn’t carry two, we couldn’t quite work out.  And then one sharing platter for two people didn’t turn up.  We were assured it was on it’s way.  But by the time the rest of us had finished our starters (which were all warm so we didn’t want to wait) the friend who was waiting went to enquire where it was.  “It is on it’s way” she was told.   Our friend queried this, asking why was it that six starters can appear (including one that was ordered ten minutes after all the others as that friend had arrived late) yet this one was nowhere to be seen.  She was told again “it will be with you in a couple of minutes” came the reply.

“But you haven’t apologised for the delay”.

Bingo.  No apology.  No explanation.  Just “it is coming”.    is that what we want to hear?   Christmas is coming.  My impending doom is coming.   What we want to know is where is the mixed seafood platter and why isn’t here?

An apology was then issued and a “well I will take it off the bill”.    Kind but not really the object of the exercise.

The rest of the service was, quite frankly, a disaster.   It was an hour and a half before our main courses arrived.   Dessert menus were just put on the table.    It was a struggle to get more drinks.    I hate to think how bad it would have been if we had been 15 and not 8.

Interestingly the usual “Is everything okay with your meal?” question was never asked.

In short it was dreadful.  And eight of us will be in no hurry to return to Zizzi’s I am afraid.

Yet another example of restaurants and shops getting customer service so very wrong.    And chains wonder why they struggle?  Why some go out of business.

Lack of customer service.   If they had got it right last night that £30 a head bill would have doubled on more drinks.

And an opportunity for me to say that you should write a negative review if you think you need to



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  • What a shame – Zizzi Guildford is still one of our fave restaurants to go as a family…maybe they have better staff…I’m sure Zizzi HQ would be upset to find that branch giving them a bad name!

  • I used to love Zizzi’s but the last time we went as a group we had a similar experience. It’s ok as a couple but seems they can’t cope with tables of more than two !

  • I agree with you. And this is the reason I stopped going to Zizzi when I was in London. Always poor service. They just don’t fire the right people…

  • I last went to Zizzis in Twickenham about a week ago. The service couldn’t have been any more different. I had a great time and the service exemplary.
    Shame that its not consistent across the brand!

  • After being left to study the table cloth (Nothing but the best, you’ll observe!) without a waiter in sight you are asked by the Manager: “Is everthing in order, sir?”

    I offer either – “Did our waitress leave any children?” , OR
    – “No. We are desperately anxious to become customers!”

    Only been thrown out once – so far.

    • Love that!

      I was tempted to phone Pizza Express and ask if they could deliver to table 10 at Zizzis and when they ask what is going on, say “well you clearly can’t deliver a pizza to us”

  • Bad customer service is honestly one of my biggest gripes !!! There is no need for it!!! Granted I once worked for Waitrose whom has a fabulous customer service training but companies nowadays have the knowledge … It really should be top priority !!! Sorry to hear of horrible experience …I hope you and your friends receive a proper apology !!! Xxx

  • There really is no excuse for bad customer service, it really gets my goat. Without customers these people wouldn’t have their jobs also they deserve to be treated well.

    i like your idea about Pizza express i will remember that one!! 😀

  • I’ve never actually been to a Zizzis but I certainly won’t be going our of my way to go to one any time soon. Such a shame how bad service can absolutely ruin an evening.

  • Well before yesterday I would have been someone saying Zizzi lovely restaurant never had a bad meal however we then we went to Uxbridge post cinema trip and wow, it was shocking !!

    Two attempts to seat us, one by a rather inept waitress and then by the manager. Thirty mins for drinks orders to be taken. An hour to get the first course. Two main meals bought out ten mins before the other two. Rude service. Used two O2 promo vouchers and were then told we couldn’t have one of the free glasses of prosseco as we had only ordered three mains, we had in fact ordered three mains and a sharing platter as a main. Once the manager was made aware and had given a small amount of the bill we swiftly left over two hours after we first arrived and on departure we said goodnight to the staff and were blanked (and I mean dirty look and turn your back blanked) by the two waitresses. Left my daughter so upset as this was her fathers day treat to Daddy.

    Appalled !!

    I won’t be going there again, next time it will be Ask or Pizza Express

  • You would think in these tough economic times that companies would really be honing in on good service and customer service – makes a huge difference to people and doesn’t cost much!

  • I’m so glad we all feel this way, I know too many bloggers who are ‘soft’ and if it was going to be a bad review they’d contact the PR or the company instead to see if ‘anything could be fixed’. Usually not printing the review. Makes me sick.

    The other trick I’ve seen happen is they’ll tell you to your face the event/meal wasn’t great but then when it comes to writing the review, all their criticism magically disappears.

    Freebie or not, you’re being asked to give an honest review, not a glowing recommendation. That’s different!

  • We have tried Zizzi several times, in various places, and have always had shocking service, lukewarm food, and basically waiting staff ineptitude. I generally always try to leave a good tip, when I eat out, because I am aware that waiting on tables and serving people is HARD work, and not really that well paid, but I am afraid they have never had a tip from me. The last time, we went, we specifically asked if a meal LSH wanted to choose had any cream or milk in it, and the waitress went, asked, came back and assured us it was dairy free. It arrived, LSH took one bite and knew it wasn’t (he gets a reaction almost instantly) and I tasted it and could taste cream. We asked the waitress, and she told us “oh yes, there is no cream in the meal, just in the sauce…” Needless to say, the lecture she got from me, on what could have happened if she had served this to someone who was badly allergic to dairy, and then the subsequent stinking mail I sent to the manager, got us a voucher, which I doubt I will ever use. We avoid them, if we can!
    I think one should always be honest, with poor service or a poor product, whether on a blog, or in “real” life!