One of Edinburgh’s most popular Indian restaurants is being targeted by fake restaurant reviewers intent on destroying their business, a restaurateur has claimed.
Noonu Miah, who runs Pataka on Causewayside, a favoured restaurant of both Ian Rankin who has featured it in his novels and The Proclaimers’ Charlie Reid, has said the attacks on his business are “heartbreaking”.
He told the Evening News that the reviews on Tripadvisor, which he insists are fake, began in November last year and have restarted again following their reopening after the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.
The restaurant has run successfully for three decades and is listed as the top Indian restaurant in Edinburgh according to Tripadvisor, an achievement the team at Pataka is “so proud of”.
However, the fake reviews posted on the site are causing the restaurant owner distress with Mr Miah convinced whoever is writing them is intent on destroying the reputation of his business.
Among the ‘fake’ reviews include one entitled “would have been better off going to Asda”, another accusing the restaurant of forcing them to wait two hours for a delivery, and another accusing Pataka for removing a negative review.
Mr Miah said the restaurant prides itself on quality food and service and said that was the major factor for the restaurant’s 30 years of success.
He added that he was convinced “someone is going out of their way to make fake accounts specifically to leave bad reviews” and that there was no way the people leaving the review were real.
Mr Miah said: “We are a small business so we remember every order that has been made that day, from the reviews it is evident that we have never served these customers.
"It’s heartbreaking that there are people out there that will go out of their way to ruin someone’s livelihood.”
The restaurateur added that while everyone was struggling following Covid-19, he was especially concerned that the fake reviews would lead to his business struggling in the future.
Labelling the reviews “blatantly fake”, he added: "In times like this where Covid-19 has taken a hard toll on all businesses when someone is going out of their way to further knock your business down it makes you really start to worry about your business being able to stand strong.
"We are proud of our service and our quality and we hope that the future customers can see that the reviews that are being left are blatantly fake.
“We wholeheartedly understand there may be someone who doesn’t enjoy their meal or found the service to be slow and we address these issues and we appreciate the feedback in such cases to improve.”
A spokesman for Tripadvisor said: “Following an investigation by our team of fraud detection specialists, we have identified a pattern of suspicious negative reviews for Pataka.
"As a result, those reviews have been removed. We invest significant resources in our sophisticated fraud detection technology and our team of experts to maintain the accuracy of reviews on Tripadvisor. No other major review platform does more than Tripadvisor to stop fake reviews.”
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