Eure. The rebellion of restaurateurs against Tripadvisor

Owner of the Marco Polo in Les Andelys, Cédric Lechevallier (on the right in the photo), here alongside the boss of the Mistral, denounces online comments and their management after sites like Tripadvisor.
Owner of the Marco Polo in Andelys, Cédric Lechevallier (on the right in the photo), here alongside the boss of the Mistral, denounces online comments and their management by sites like Tripadvisor. ©Aurélie Hébert

These are a few words on a website well known to travelers that have triggered the anger of Cédric Lechevallier, restaurateur at Andelys (Eure).

The owner of Marco Poloand his wife, have since been living in a totally grotesque situation, which could have turned into a nightmare if they had not reacted quickly.

On August 3, 2022, the restaurateur discovered a comment about his establishment on the platform Tripadvisor. A comment far from being laudatory since it denounces a prohibited practice, namely the price difference between the display and the invoice, but also breaches. Behind this comment, an anonymous person who attacks the Marco Polo… located at amsterdamto Netherlandsor more than 540 km.

“It makes me look like a thief”

Neither one nor two, the restaurateur from Les Andelys points out to the American website which offers opinions and tourist advice from consumers, his location error.

And at lunchtime, in full service, it was one of his loyal customers who told him that she had seen the same message, with a few different words, about the Amsterdam establishment.

“I immediately reported the message that made me pass for a thief. »

Cédric Lechevallier, owner of the Marco Polo restaurant in Les Andelys

He will have an answer by email that he still can’t digest.

“I was told that the message met all the criteria put in place by the site. They didn’t even want to hear that this user was talking about the restaurant in Amsterdam. »

Videos: currently on Actu

The email states: “We found no reason to move it. [ndlr : le commentaire] on another establishment or delete it, since it meets our publication criteria. “And to add:” In case you would like to answer it, we invite you to use the ‘to the management’ option in your owner space in order to be able to share your version of the facts, your response will appear below the commented review, allowing travelers to read both of your perspectives. »

A counter-offensive

Failing to be heard by Tripadvisor, Cédric Lechevallier decides to launch a counter-offensive. “Since apparently anyone can leave a review even if they did not come to eat, I asked all my contacts to leave one on our establishment. »

In a few hours, the Marco Polo des Andelys, whose reputation is second to none, sees the positive messages accumulateeffectively pushing the poorly localized comment far behind.

“In fact, these sites accept any comment without verification. »

Cedric Lechevallier

Finally, a few days later, the anonymous withdraws his message while leaving the one for the establishment of the Netherlands. But on the Tripadvisor side, nothing. “I received a satisfaction survey from them. Suffice to say that I put zero to everything. »

Afraid to comment

However, the restorer of Andelys is ldo not refuse comments. “If something goes wrong, let the customers tell us about it immediately. Because ultimately, good or bad message, this story shows that we should not rely on it to decide. »

However, the restaurateur, like his colleagues, must now deal with the Internet.

“It’s the same with Google and others. People don’t even need to prove they’ve been anywhere, but can drop any comments. Now we are also afraid to make a remark to a customer. »

Cedric Lechevallier

“It’s a hostage taking”

A situation that his colleague Yann Juhel, owner of the Mistral located in Petit-Andely, also denounces.

“It’s a hostage taking for us restaurateurs, hoteliers… Especially since we cannot withdraw from these platforms. For that, you would have to close the restaurant or pay. Now everyone has opinions for everything. »

Yann Juhel, owner of the Mistral in Les Andelys

But sometimes, a few words can have real destructive power, as confirmed by Yann Juhel.

“It weighs on the reputation of the establishments. And that can be problematic when we want to grow. It’s demoralizing for us, the staff. This has immediate repercussions. »

Fortunately, Cédric Lechevallier was able to count on his loyal clientele in this misadventure which could have penalized his establishment.

The profession is stepping up

President of the Union of Trades and Industries of the Hotel Industry (Umih) of the Eure Michaël Schmitt, and Olivier Bicot, president of the hoteliers of the Eure denounces an absurd situation.
President of the Union of Trades and Industries of the Hotel Industry (Umih) of the Eure Michaël Schmitt, and Olivier Bicot, president of the hoteliers of the Eure denounce an absurd situation. ©Aurélie Hébert

Eure professionals ask lifting of anonymity on these sites and a proof “to have honest comments”.

Contacted by Cédric Lechevallier, the Union of Trades and Industries of the Hotel Industry (Umih) of Eure took up the file, as explained by its president Michaël Schmitt.

“I called our lawyer in Paris. We are waiting for parts from the restorer. We were aware of this problem with comments on platforms and websites. It’s not the first time this has happened. What is all the more absurd in this case is that the comment is not even aimed at the right restaurant. »

Michaël Schmitt, President of the Union of Trades and Hospitality Industries (Umih) of Eure

After having had to manage the emergencies linked to the health crisis, and the lack of manpower, the Umih will work to make itself heard from these sites. With the mobilization of the municipalities, rules have been enacted concerning the Airbnb private rental site or the reservation site. Booking.

“Until recently, Booking almost imposed the mode of operation of the establishment on its owner. We managed to turn the tide. »

A long drawn out battle

But Michaël Schmitt knows it, it will still be a long-term battle. “The federation requests the lifting of anonymity for the comments, as well as the justification of the presence, by the photo of the receipt for example. The opinion whether good or bad would thus be honest. »

For Olivier Bicot, owner of the Chaîne d’Or in Andelys and president of the hoteliers of the Eure, the grotesque situation of his colleague, Cédric Lechevallier, is symptomatic of today’s society.

“For me, these platforms like Tripadvisor, offer popular justice in which anyone can consider themselves a judge, and who, under cover of anonymity, can have hurtful words or come to defamation. Every word has a meaning. A hurtful phrase becomes destructive like a stab. »

Olivier Bicot, president of the hoteliers of Eure

“Under cover of anonymity, everyone does what they want”

And to the restaurateur to underline: “It is absurd that each party can use maneuvers, sometimes dishonest, to reverse the fate of mob justice. Under cover of anonymity, everyone does what they want. “Far from being a fervent supporter of social networks, Olivier Bicot admits to paying the price. “But too bad, I live with it. For me it’s a bit like an illness, you have to deal with it. »

The restaurateur from Les Andelys denounces the fact that everyone can consider themselves a judge. “Before the networks, it was a network of trained professionals from our professions who judged. We were judged by our peers. The, anyone considers themselves a Michelin inspector. I think some people should come and spend a week in our establishments to understand. »

Measure and honesty

So the two representatives of restaurateurs and hoteliers have only one piece of advice for professionals who would be faced with this situation: “we have a civil liability with a juridic protection. Do not hesitate to call your council”.

As for the public, Michaël Schmitt and Olivier Bicot call for moderation. “Be in proportion and be honest. And especially, do not hesitate to go directly to the restaurant to express your reproaches to him. Give him a chance to explain. ”

Was this article helpful to you? Note that you can follow L’Impartial in the My News space. In one click, after registration, you will find all the news of your favorite cities and brands.

Leave a Comment