The owner of a Byron Bay restaurant was shocked to find reviewers giving the venue a bad wrap before it had even opened its doors.
Saphia Smereka, the owner of Kiki on Byron, told ABC News she was upset to find the restaurant’s first review on Google labelling the spot “disappointing”, “unprofessional” and “disorganised”.
The review was obviously fake, as it was posted two days before Kiki’s was set to open.
“This was an expensive disappointment. Very unprofessional staff who were very disorganised and obviously lacked communication skills,” the review said.
“The opening was a reflection of the way in a which a poorly constructed business should run.”
In fact, Smereka was so upset she postponed Kiki’s launch, which was set to take place on 9 January.
“It was very upsetting to get this negative review, but heartbreaking considering we aren’t even open yet – it was a clear attack,” she told ABC News.
“I had a really bad sleep thinking, ‘Who is this person trying to take my business down and why would they do such a horrible thing?’.
“Especially being the first review, it’s definitely left me very anxious.”
Three more reviews were added the following week, despite the restaurant still not having opened, claiming reviewers were “disappointed” and that the venue was “not worth my time”.
Smereka contacted Google Australia about the reviews and was encouraged to report them while the company looked into the matter.
The reviews no longer appear on Google’s information about Smereka. However, ABC News said it had looked into the reviewers and they did not have profiles, leading them to believe those who made the comments were either bots or using pseudonyms.
Featured image source: Instagram/kikionbyron