The Good, the bad and the Ugly or should I say the tweet, the regram and the like by @TomCenci

Social media is now a part of our everyday lives and there is no escaping it, it can be a great tool to reach a vast audience very quickly but it can also become your worst nightmare if not managed correctly.

You will find most restaurants or bars will have a social networking page of some kind, as do their staff – especially chefs who are becoming the new rock and roll stars of social. They tweet, post and tag pictures of specials, meals, reviews and almost anything that can help promote their establishment, even if they don’t have their own there are plenty of review sites that give people the chance to rip you a new one.

But it’s not all gravy when it comes to just retweeting a compliment, nearly all the people or places I follow will retweet the good stuff, it’s all too easy to like or favourite some praise but they all seem to go quiet when a bad review or tweet comes in. Now I’m not saying everyone should be telling the world every time someone dislikes what you do, but I do wonder how many places actually take the time to get back to someone who generally has a fair point and is unhappy?

All of this can be very hard to control though with people leaving hundreds of remarks each day on multiple sites. Take something like Tripadvisor for example, it’s a haven for the average Joe to comment and score what they actually think about your restaurant and is now the number one site to go to for checking reviews on almost any place of interest so if your not up to scratch they will soon tell you about it.

But Tripadvisor is not all that it’s made out to be, I was once told by chef Mikael Jonsson of Michelin starred Hedone:

“If your popular on Tripadvisor then you’re doing something wrong as your too mainstream”

And I think he’s right, isn’t it good to be different from everyone else? If doing so means you’re going to upset a lot of the Nandoers and Pizza Expressites that just won’t get what you’re doing, then so be it. Should you really have to reply every time one of these leaves a bad remark on a site?

Use social media sites to your advantage, see what people are saying about you, if 90 out of 100 people tell you something is shit then it probably is but it’s good to listen to the tweets and reviews that come in, it can be a great tool to get real time feedback of what people actually think of you.

That said in all my years of cooking I have been the receiver of good and bad reviews, mostly good mind you as I’ve worked hard and been very lucky. When I was younger I was given a speech by a mentor of mine. It’s by Theodore Roosevelt and puts everything into perspective, no matter how good or bad the criticism, as long as you try your best then that’s all that matters.

I live by this speech, so much so I got it tattooed on my arms:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” ­- Theodore Roosevelt.


Tom Cenci is Head Chef @duckandwaffle who can be found tweeting from @TomCenci, blogging from