Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Floriditas "scandal": a storm in a latte bowl

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The Floriditas "scandal" has been generating a lot of interest, and a huge amount of support for a great little café that I suspect has been smeared without justification.

The email snowball has shown the dark side of the Internet's use of personal networks. A bit of badmouthing might have got around a few friends and slowly spread, but in this case a venomous email has probably spread to tens of thousands of Wellingtonians, mostly forwarded by people who have never met the original complainer and thus have no way of assessing her reliability. At what stage does forwarding an email cease to be gossip and become publication, thus potentially opening up the forwarder to legal responsibility?

Floriditas have now taken the step of sending an email response to thank those who have supported them, so I'll post it here to give their side of the story.
To all those who have received email re; Restaurant review - must read (re. Floriditas on Cuba St)

We would personally like to thank the huge number of Wellingtonians who have given us incredible support, over the last few days, in particular those people that have contacted us by phone or email with voices of concern and support.

We thank you very much.

With every story like this, there are always two sides!

We can say that swearing is not our way or that of loyal hardworking staff.

It is worth noting that the two remaining guests from this table of 5 apologized for the incident, and the behaviour of their fellow guests, which was greatly appreciated.

Thank you once again for your support,

Marc, Julie, James and the Floridita's Team


At 3:07 pm, August 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the need for Floridita's to defend themselves, but why prevent people from placing reviews on dining out? If they are so proud of their service, they should have no worries about people expressing their opinions.

Word of mouth advertising is very powerful, and email adds to that power. Since seeing the email I have heard both positive and negative comments about Floridita's.

My own feeling is that the review seems reflective of Wellington's restaurants and cafes at the moment... but that's merely my opinion...

At 5:13 pm, August 30, 2005, Blogger Tom said...

In a way I agree with you about dineout, but there are some other restaurants (like Zibibbo) that have done the same, and which also would seem to have nothing to fear. Perhaps they're afraid that it could allow someone with a grudge (an ex-employee or a competitor) to sabotage them.

There are some places (which shall remain nameless) about which I could have believed these allegations, but Floriditas is not one of them. The only less-than-positive comment I've ever heard is that once the pork could have been a little more tender. And I've never, ever heard any complaints about rudeness.

In my experience (and I eat out at least 16 times a week, plus drinks and coffee) discourtesy of the level claimed is extremely rare in Wellington (mind you, I rarely get so drunk that I can't count to four...). There are a couple of places where the staff are slow and have a bit of a "we're too cool to serve you" attitude, and there's a lot of inexperience (someone at a so-called cocktail bar who thought "Lagavulin" was a beer; the odd 18-year-old who's never used a corkscrew). But on the whole, I've experienced service that ranges from competent and friendly to the truly superb (Boulot, Floriditas, Neat, Matterhorn).


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