QLD restaurateur hits back at TripAdvisor users following Christmas Day blunder

04 January, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Grant Madgwick, owner of Artichoke restaurant on Paradise Point’s Ephraim Island in Queensland has hit back at angry TripAdvisor users following a disastrous lunch service on Christmas Day.

A number of disgruntled diners used the review platform to vent their frustrations about the Christmas Day lunch service, where guests had lengthy waits for their meals and were disappointed with the service and quality of the food.

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Mtodd5 wrote, “Really sorry to say that this place managed to ruin our Christmas Day. I'm not sure what went wrong but on this day we waited over an hour for each course (which were minuscule) and almost two hours for the first course with no water or snacks or even the Christmas crackers.”

Others complained that the staff were unsure of the location of the restaurant’s toilets and of confusion regarding drinks orders.

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Madgwick said the Christmas Day service was a “one-off” and the restaurant that he launched in 2014 had enjoyed positive reviews for the majority of its tenure. He said bad weather on the day forced the restaurant to move the 110 diners who were supposed to be dining outside to the indoor area, putting the whole team behind and preventing him from conducting a briefing with staff – five of who were new to the restaurant.

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Two tables – one with a bill of $2,400 and another owing $1,900 – left the lunch service without paying, and when Madgwick was asked by news.com.au if he’d refund another diner who’d been in touch with the Gold Coast media, he said he wouldn’t because the diner in question hadn’t complained directly to him but instead vented his spleen on TripAdvisor.

““If they had ducked over and said ‘Grant, far out, what a shemozzles’ … but they didn’t, they waited until they could get behind a keyboard’,” he said.

“If you do six courses on Christmas Day for 200 and it rains, are you not going to give me some leeway? There is something wrong with them, not me.”

Late last year another restaurateur, this time located in Adelaide, threatened legal action over a negative TripAdvisor review.

Federico Pisanelli, owner of Etica Ethical Pizzeria e Mozzarella, said he’d consider suing for defamation if a comment made by an unhappy diner wasn’t taken off the site.

The patron, Julian Tully, said he and a group of his friends dined at the pizzeria in early October and were served an inadequate amount of food over an unreasonably long amount of time.

He wrote on TripAdvisor, and also on the restaurant’s Facebook page:

"Stay away from this place. I went there with some friends tonight who are all seasoned foodies and were treated in a fashion that i didn't think was possible. For 7 people we got a tiny amount of food (waiting more than 50 minutes in between the portions) and when we tried to complain in reasonable way we literally got told "we have had our fill" and "we shouldn't go out for dinner if we cant afford it". Then they called the cops on us because we walked out. Avoid like the plague! (Unless you liked to be judged by a bunch of people who can't run a business in an 'ethical' way)."