You would think that following debacles like Amy’s Baking Company, any restaurant that gets a bad Yelp review or poor public attention would tread lightly in how they deal with the situation. Ninja City in Cleveland, Ohio did not follow this advice.
Ruchu Tan left a one star review for Ninja City on Yelp after a poor visit with some friends. The review doesn’t come off as rude, but it certainly wasn’t flattering for the restaurant. Here’s a sample:
Came here with a few friends to try their ramen and was extremely disappointed.
I ordered the bacon & egg ramen. I expected a lot more from the broth. It is miso base but it shouldn’t taste like miso soup! It was extremely bland and there were bits of bacon in the broth that made it too oily. The pork belly was not very flavorful either. And what’s with the kimchi!? Saltiness and sourness doesn’t really mix well… But the biggest disappointment are the f*cking noodles! It’s ramen so use ramen noodles! Why bother with soba (buckwheat) noodles. Soba noodles are straight and smooth (think angel hair/spaghetti) and are not salted. Ramen noodles on other hand are wavy and is salted with hints of egg flavor. They need to rename this to “miso soup with soba noodles w/ etc”. So to recap, if you want to make this dish at home… take a packet of instant miso paste and mix in with boiling water, add some bacon fat, angel hair pasta and serve it with kimchi, eggs and bacon. and you are basically 99% there…
This is the point where things take a turn towards the extreme. Ninja City owner and chef Bac Nguyen managed to track Tan down through some mutual Facebook connections, leading to an exchange that won’t be forgotten any time soon:
The ramen eating cat is the true edge of this entire message, and probably the tipping point that sent Tan and others to take more steps against Ninja City. A Facebook group has sprouted to boycott the restaurant, currently sitting at 314 members. Bac Nguyen did issue a video apology for his actions, but has allegedly continued the harassment according to the boycott page and Ruchu Tan:
1. I have no affiliation with any competing businesses. I am not involved in any local businesses of any kind. I had zero intention of damaging Bac’s businesses or himself. In fact, I gave him multiple opportunities to make things right, instead he continued to retaliate.
2. Yes, we do have some mutual friends, but we live in a community with a small Asian population. This is just six degrees of separation at work, nor has any of my friends and I mentioned his name before all of this. He makes it seem like we “roll” in the same circle of friends. We don’t.
3. Although we graduated from the same college, I have never met Bac during my years at Case (or outside for that matter). He was years ahead and I only came to find out that he was an alum after this ordeal. Before this, I wouldn’t even recognize him in a line up. Hell, I don’t even know 1/4 of the people in my graduating class!
4. This all happened via Facebook messages, due to the similar layout and screen caps taken on the iPhone, people thought I was being communicated through text/iMessage. We did not contact each other over phone/text; only through FB and a few emails.
5. The online harassment continue after the video apology, in which all parties witnessed (Bac, Bac’s friend, mutual FB friend, Yelp CM, and myself) my acceptance. Also included our short email exchange after the apology. I even gave him advice on how he can respond to my review or any other Yelper’s review (He has just recently been doing this)
If you check the boycott out, you’ll see the cat returns in the apology. There haven’t been any updates since October 24th, so we’ll keep you updated if anything new sprouts up. If anything, I’d say that restaurants should probably stop trying to personally attack customers and focus on always improving the business.