Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, is vying for the worst Yelp rating in the Bay Area by offering customers 25 percent off for their 1-star reviews. Owner David Cerretini, who tells SFGate that the promotion is "the best business move I have made in years," says the whole thing started when Yelp blackmailed him.
Cerretini claims Yelp called him 20 times a week asking him to advertise. He did, to the tune of $270 for six months. But when he stopped advertising, he claims his reviews turned negative and one of his best reviews even vanished. That, according to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, is something Yelp is legally entitled to do.
So, Cerretini hatched his 1-star plan. Next to a sassy sign explaining how much it charges for extra marinara sauce ($3 for just a splash, $4 if you want some to smell), Botto Bistro lists its various offenses—from charging for bread to lacking ranch dressing—and suggests patrons give it a 1-star Yelp review in return for 25 percent off a pizza.
Beyond press, it has generated some of the best Amazon-esque reviews on Yelp. The site sent Botto Bistro a threatening little letter, but Cerretini refuses to back down, claiming he's attracting higher-paying customers who are quite loyal. Not to mention, damn funny.
Photo via Yelp.