Bad reviews and high rents caused Cadillac Diner owners Karl and Debbie Randall's 1950s American-style dream to come crashing down.
The Wellington restaurant known for serving burgers and cheap booze in an Americana setting, with an Elvis impersonator entertaining guests, shut on Saturday with an overdue rent bill of $4000.
The Wainuiomata husband and wife duo moved Cadillac Diner to Willis St in February after trading in Lower Hutt for more than two years. The diner featured on the hospitality makeover show The Kitchen Job.
"The first several months were fantastic, then we started seeing holes appear on the internet with bad customer feedback . . . We're exhausted now. We have come to the end of our tether with people who are just totally ungrateful," Mr Randall said.
"Word of mouth has just been so damaging to us."
Menumania.co.nz and Dineout. co.nz feature mixed reviews for the restaurant. A diner named Michael reported he "was terribly disappointed. It was in fact a horrible experience and I will never go back", while Sefty said: "I would only recommend this place if you want a cheap watering hole other than that stay away!"
Hannah, who had a staff party there, wrote that it had "friendly, enthusiastic staff and extremely yummy food" and Jesse, who celebrated her 21st at Cadillac Diner, said "the food was cheap but very substantial".
Restaurant Association vice-president Steve Logan said review websites were just another way of getting feedback out there.
"If people are not happy they are going to tell everyone. It can be bad for the morale of restaurateurs but it's not really something that's going to break you, I don't think, just like a bad review from a journalist," Logan said.
Most operators accepted they had to live with the websites, and he recommended operating in a way that did not bring negative feedback.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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