Special information for restaurateurs and proprietors
First of all thanks to you for all the great meals out we've had over the years - and all the fun it has been. We recognise that we've got the easy job, and it's pretty hard work running a restaurant, pub or cafe. Our website is set up so that you too can have your say: we strongly encourage you and your staff to contribute by leaving a comment - whether or not you agree with us. You don't even have to use your real name - we only ask that if you do comment, please mention in your review that you are connected with the establishment. It's also probably worth mentioning that our comments system is not the place for adverts or promotions - anything like that will be deleted. And if you're thinking of adding lots of favourable reviews, OK within reason, but please make sure that they come from real customers with real email addresses - we do verify these by emailing the people in question, and we have deleted comments we suspect are bogus, and will continue to do so.
Q. How can I get Matt and Cat to come - or return - to my restaurant/pub/cafe?
A. You can't really. We will either turn up, or not. You could try putting a big banner in the window, or advertising in the County Press (we read it all, every week) with our names prominently displayed. Or by all means leave comments on the 'suggest a venue' page. That does help, especially if your customers do the same.
We do make return visits, especially if we think something's changed significantly, or if there's clearly a difference between what we experienced and what everyone else thinks. But we just can't get around to every place that deserves a revisit. There are even more we've never even tried once. Bear in mind that with well over 300 reviews on the website you'll understand that just to revisit all of them would take us five years, if we did one a week - and that's not allowing for any new reviews. So if we've visited you once or more in five years you're already beating the odds!
Q. Can I publicise the review?
A. Yes, if you follow our copyright guidelines. You can make hard copies of it and use some or all of the review to display in the establishment concerned. We like that as it gives us publicity as well. In fact, if you've been reviewed you are entitled to display our prestigious Review Certificate (see below) which is free for you to print out and use. Recommended establishments will be sent one of our 'Matt and Cat recommended' stickers to display too.
Of course, if you've got your own website we hope you will link directly to the review. The only thing we ask is that if you do make hard copies of the review you must always acknowledge where it came from and give the web URL mattandcat.co.uk. If you want to use the review in any other way (for example, to use parts of it in another publication) please ask us first. We're pretty accommodating but we do like to know what's being done with our work.
Q. How do I get a wrong or out-of-date review changed?
A. Our reviews are our own opinions and we recognise that they might not coincide with yours. If you don't like what we've written you have to wait for us to come back. You are welcome to leave your own comment on the blog, too although if you do, it's polite to disclose your interest in the place you are commenting on. We're sure you're not thinking of doing fake reviews under an assumed name - because if you were, you'd need to be warned that it might be illegal! Reviews are regularly updated if we make a return visit - which does happen - and our opinions do change quite regularly. So keep looking. But be warned, if we gave a real stinker of a review, we ain't likely to come back soon.
Q. I really disagree with something you wrote or a comment somebody left. I want to respond!
A. That's fine, you're welcome to leave a comment yourself, as are your staff and customers. In fact we hope you will. You don't even have to use your real name - we only ask that if you do comment, please mention in your comment that you are connected with the establishment, and use a real email address (we do check, and using fake emails risks having your comment deleted). But do be aware of the pitfalls of jumping in with both feet. We strongly recommend you take a deep breath, and whilst you're thinking about what you might want to say read this wise advice before you write anything.
Q. Can I advertise on Matt & Cat's Isle of Wight eating out guide?
A. To preserve our impartiality, at present we have no plans to accept advertisements for individual establishments on this guide. And as you're asking, no, we never have accepted any inducements or freebies prior to a review either. We're not in this for the money.
Q. How do I get my Review Certificate and what can I do with it?
A. Below are links to three different PDF files of certificates which restaurateurs can download and use as they see fit. We hope you will print out and display the certificate to show your customers that Matt and Cat have visited your establishment, and if you got a good rating, you will no doubt want them to see that too! There are three different ones to reflect the ratings (see above) so please choose the correct one - we'll trust you.
Q. How do I get a Matt and Cat Recommended sticker?
A. Recommended establishments (i.e. all those that we rate 'We like' or 'We love!') will be sent a sticker which they can display if they want to do so. The stickers were sent out to all qualifying establishments in August 2009 and as new reviews appear thereafter, new stickers will be sent out. These stickers cannot be bought nor are they issued to anyone who hasn't been reviewed favourably. If you think you should have one and didn't get it, or lost it, or you've already been sent your sticker and you want another one for some reason, please email us. We'll consider each such request on its merits.
Q. How do you make money out of all this?
A. This is actually the number one question that everybody asks. And the answer is simple: we don't. No, we really don't. There's no scam, there's no trick. This costs us money - actually a fair bit of money. But we don't mind. We do it because we love the Isle of Wight and we love eating out. We want to recognise good establishments, and encourage those few that don't make the grade to improve. And yes, we could accept adverts, and all that. But we don't, because then we'd have to be careful what we said about our advertisers.
No, it's our pleasure. Don't mention it. :)