In the case of popular restaurants, the odd grumble on the Internet doesn't sway a customer base. In the case of fledgling eateries though, a few brutal Yelp reviews can lead to shutters and a wretched gastropub setting up shop. Undaunted by the risk involved, one local restaurant — its name remains unknown, though we are hot on the trail — has decided to wear its harshest criticism on its sleeve. A wooden sign graces the sidewalk outside its doors, and on it, a Yelp diss is emblazoned like a badge of honor:
“Come in and try the worst meatball sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life.”
The move is bold. Will potential customers want to spend $10 to see if they agree with the Yelper? Will customers assume that the sandwich must not be anything short of spectacular if the restaurant is willing to sell it on the basis of that harshest of slams? Is the restaurant following the “freak show” business model, wagering that customers will care less about the sandwich being good than it being novel? Sort of like the six-pound burgers customers scarf to the point of rupture so that they may receive coupons and be immortalized in photos on the walls of dodgy roadhouses. Only the cash register's clangs will tell the tale: Is the joke on the sandwich, or the Yelper?
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