Scottsdale restaurant fights back against Yelpers

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Jay Hoff, owner of Lush Burger, has responded to critics on Yelp. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jay Hoff, owner of Lush Burger, has responded to critics on Yelp. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Hoff said if his customers don't like the food, they should go to McDonald's. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Hoff said if his customers don't like the food, they should go to McDonald's. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Hoff decided to respond to Yelp reviewers, which has led to more bad Yelp reviews. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Hoff decided to respond to Yelp reviewers, which has led to more bad Yelp reviews. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Yelp has become a powerful tool that people use to voice their opinions or become a critic.  A bad rating for something like a restaurant can actually hurt the business if others view it and decide not to try it for themselves.

Sometimes you can click on the profile of a reviewer and find that they are simply out to be a Negative Nancy or just like to be a keyboard commando. Well, one Scottsdale restaurant is taking some of those people to task and fighting back.

Jay Hoff owns a burger joint called Lush. It's been around for years but Hoff just bought it last year.

"Its family friend going out of our way to makes sure we're putting out some awesome burgers," Hoff said. 

Hoff and his family own four restaurants. Most are on the East Coast. Hoff is from Rhode Island and if you know anything about folks on the East Coast, there is no such thing as filter or being passive-aggressive. Hoff believes in honesty.  

"If a customer has an issue and tells us in a constructive manner, we take care of them. But if somebody is going to be abusive, hide behind a pen name, being rude, ill-wishing, I'm going to call them out on it," Hoff said.

So after being around for a year, Hoff decided to send out a survey to customers to get a sense of what people like or if they have any issues. He showed us dozens of positive responses including updating the menu and improving service.

Out of more than 80 reviews, a handful of them were negative. Some customers who had been going to the restaurant before Hoff bought it loved a coupon program run by the previous owner. Hoff decided to get rid of the program when he took over.  

So, in come the keyboard commandos.

"It's infuriating. In most cases, a lot of unuseful information from a review, sometimes abusive and ill-wishing," Hoff said. 

Hoff decided to respond to his critics. As I mentioned before, Hoff is from the East Coast and doesn't really have a filter. He doesn't get nasty in his response to the reviewers but takes them to task over a coupon program that wasn't even his to begin with.

"If you don't like the fact that we don't have coupons and the only reason you chose a place to eat is that I invite you to go to McDonald's. They have a Dollar Menu board," Hoff said.

Hoff worries that review sites like Yelp are really having a negative impact on restaurant owners.  

"We all agree, Yelp is not a place you should go to make a decision on what restaurant you go to. It has gone off the cliff," Hoff said. 

Hoff wants you to think for yourself and if you feel like trying a place, do it.

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