Bay Area eateries have been plagued by a recent onslaught of piss-poor reviews on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor — not related to food, mind you... but in regards to enforcing mandated COVID-19 safety measures and issues with third-party delivery drivers. And a new tongue-in-cheek billboard in SoMa is helping bring attention to the matter, and help save local restaurants in the process.
Karens, Kens, and covidiots have altogether made 2020 even worse than it already is. The OG SF Karen yelled at a minority for chalking "Black Lives Matter" outside their own property; one local Ken blocked an individual from entering the parking garage to their own apartment complexes; a slew of regional covidiots continue to leave scathing online restaurant reviews — berating those establishments for enforcing face mask-wearing policies and delayed delivery times conducted through third-party apps. (And as we learned some three or so years ago: Yelp reviews have the ability to either catalyze or hobble a restaurant's success.)
Join the movement! We're taking a stance against the Karens of the world leaving unfair reviews to hardworking restaurants! Join our petition, share your unfair review, & join us to help restaurants grow & thrive. https://t.co/cgmDPjkc2B#onlinereviews #restaurantreview pic.twitter.com/PctnXVpMW8— Raydiant Screen Signage (@TryRaydiant) September 21, 2020
But SF-based digital signage startup Raydiant says enough is enough, calling out these misguided, malicious reviews via a series of "Karen-inspired" billboards as part of its Karen’s Killer Reviews petition.
"Dear Yelp, stop letting Karen's kill restaurants because of third party delivery app issues," reads on the company's Karen-themed signs, located just three blocks from Yelp's SF headquarters, per ABC7. "It's not the restaurant's fault."
In addition to the huge sign near Yelp's San Francisco headquarters, another one is can be found in New York City; the local news outlet also notes that "similar, smaller signs" are being displayed on "pedicabs and taxis."
Raydiant says that many of these small business owners are too afraid to publicly complain about the reviews. But, because they're a startup and operating outside the realm, Radiant doesn't "have to worry about the impact that can come from receiving negative Yelp reviews" — which is exactly why they decided to do something about this.
According to ABC7, Raydiant will keep up the campaign for the next several months to not only encourage the conversation around the problem — but to help thwart further Karen-ness.
“Despite the hard hit small businesses have certainly taken, we’ve seen that home, local, professional and automotive services have been able to withstand the effects of the pandemic better than other industries.” - @JustinJDN, VP of Data Science at Yelp. https://t.co/yhFPqZNtSv— Yelp (@Yelp) September 16, 2020
In early August, a report published by Yelp showed that some 5,000 businesses have closed — with over 2,000 of them now permanently shut down — since the global health crisis grabbed society by the loins. A separate finding from Yelp also found some 370 restaurants in the San Francisco metro area have now permanently closed during this shaky time... and that report was dated back in July, so odds are that figure is substantially larger now.
So, in a nutshell: Don't be that person (who publicly shames a struggling local eatery for enforcing safety measures and blames them for getting cold food, ordered from Uber Eats).
For more information on Karen’s Killer Reviews, and to see how you can upload a Karen-infused review you come across to the campaign, visit karenskillerreviews.com.
Image: Twitter via @TryRaydiant