Botto Bistro: How A Restaurant in California Declared War On Yelp

December 4, 2015 Jay Skowron
2 min read

Botto Bistro in Richmond, California is fighting Yelp in an unusual way. We spoke with chef & owner Davide Cerretini earlier this year, and he explained exactly why and how. We read about Botto Bistro on several news sites and contacted them for an interview. We were curious how their unique approach to fighting reviewers was working out for them since it goes against our own advice and best practices we recommend to our clients.

“In Italy, if you don’t like a restaurant, you simply don’t go back. Here in America, people now Yelp about it. Yelp tried to get us to advertise with them and when we refused, we saw our positive reviews go away and negative ones pop up like mushrooms. I call that harassment. Now we have won. We are following our own rules.”

So Chef Davide and Botto Bistro have been offering 50% off pizzas if people leave a one-star review.

While we don’t recommend that most businesses do this, it seems to be working for Botto Bistro. Business is up and they’ve gained national exposure. They even have an email newsletter they send out every month to highlight their food, cooking classes, and their “hall of shame.”

From their website: “We notice that more aggressive and stupid the reviews are, the more we can laugh about it, and of course make fun of it. Thousands of our repeating loyal customers learned about us from our funny FAQ, our Village Idiot page and our Hall of shame.

In Italy we don’t have Yelp. Italians spend most of their time eating, getting laid and talking to real friends (not the ones on Facebook). So we don’t fully understand why people spend so much time writing on the internet to imaginary friends or imaginary followers.

Here we show you the most embarrassing and idiotic reviews we found about us, with our replies and comments. We can’t believe that some people are stupid enough to make fools of themselves. It is not about how the food is or their experience in general…usually they get mad about the owner or the toilet or whatever other thing has being bothering them.

Our suggestion? Do it the Italian way, eat well, find yourself a girlfriend or a boyfriend,turn off the computer and go out with friends. In other words get a life!”

Watch the video below to get the full story!

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Jay Skowron

Jay Skowron is the Founder and Principal of Hospitality Defender, specializing in social media marketing, online review management, websites, and process consulting. Jay has worked in the hospitality industry for almost 25 years and is passionate about helping restaurants and other hospitality businesses with guest satisfaction. He can be reached at


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