Review website branded ‘unfair’

Licensee calls for introduction of pubs and bars section

By Gillian McKenzie

A GLASGOW licensee is calling on TripAdvisor to introduce a ‘pubs’ category on its website, after his wet-led whisky bar jumped to the top spot in its ‘restaurants’ listing.

Frank Murphy, who runs the Pot Still on Hope Street, said the absence of a separate category for bars on the review site means his pub, which offers a menu of homemade soup, toasted sandwiches and pies, is “unfairly skewing the results” for restaurants in the city.
Murphy said the site, which ranks hotels and restaurants based on customer reviews and currently lists the Pot Still as number one of 1135 ‘restaurants’ in Glasgow, has also led to confusion amongst some visitors to the city, who have attempted to book a table.
The licensee said he wants TripAdvisor to alter the categories on its website to include one for pubs, claiming the current set-up is “unfair”.
“We have received some good reviews on TripAdvisor but no one has waxed lyrical about our food; we’re a pub, not a restaurant,” Murphy told SLTN.
“We offer good food but we’ve got a tiny kitchen so it’s limited to toasties, soup and pies at the moment.
“And yet we’ve knocked a very good restaurant off the top spot because we’re also in the restaurant section because there isn’t one for pubs.
“We’ve also had tourists in asking for a menu and then they’re handed our whisky menu and realise we don’t have a big food offer and so we recommend one of the restaurants nearby.
“I think TripAdvisor should introduce a pubs and bars section and then everyone is in the right place.”
SLTA chief Paul Waterson also backed the introduction of new categories on the TripAdvisor site.
“From a personal point of view I’m against the TripAdvisor site for a number of reasons,” he said.
“There’s no way of verifying that reviews are written by people who have stayed in or visited your premises and there are very different types of business lumped together – B&Bs in with hotels, for example.
“Frank is to be commended for speaking out about this.
“I personally think TripAdvisor needs to introduce separate categories as there are definite differences, even between pubs.”
Ryan James, chair of the Glasgow Restaurant Association, said: “For wet-led bars it makes perfect sense to have its own category and I would support wholeheartedly any move to achieve this as they are as much part of the tourist experience in a city as restaurants.”
TripAdvisor spokesman James Kay said: “We list any establishment that offers a food menu as a sit-down service, with the listing showing the type of cuisine and price range available. Travellers can then filter any search on the site by the type of dining they are looking for in a given location.
“Nothing is more important to us than ensuring travellers gain an accurate and useful picture of the businesses and destinations they research on TripAdvisor.”