NJ restaurants go viral for threatening workers with ‘5 star’ review policy

Two New Jersey chain restaurants found themselves in hot water after photos went viral of an employee notice that stated workers were required to earn online reviews of “five stars” in order to keep their jobs.

Both Tio Taco and Tequila Bar along with Tommy’s Tavern and Tap — owned by Triple T Hospitality Group — have found themselves at the mercy of the internet since the threatening memo from Tio’s Edison location went viciously viral on Reddit Friday.

“Every service employee for FOH is required to get a minimum of 5 Google reviews per month to remain employed at the Edison location starting February 2022,” the post stated. (FOH refers to those employees who work in the front of the house, such as a waiter or hostess.)

“The review must include your name and five stars in order to count,” it continued, adding that there would be “contests” with prizes for those employees who can rake in the most top marks.

The company quickly backtracked from the policy with Danielle Smith, a director for Tio, telling The Post the employee who posted it has since been fired.

“We made sure it was not enforced at the location, and it was 100% not company policy,” she said.

An employee memo has led to a handful of New Jersey restaurants being ripped online.
Reddit

Triple T CEO Thomas Bonfiglio — who owns three Tio and seven Tommy locations in NJ and on Staten Island — was also fast to say that the Thursday published directive was “not our policy.”

“In the restaurant business, we’re not firing anyone, we’re still trying to hire people. So to think that we will fire people over this is a silly thing,” he told NJ Advance Media, saying that an assistant manager posted the requirements without any approval from higher-ups.

Despite Bonfiglio saying the sheet of paper was only up for a mere 15 minutes, it was too little too late for the reputations of his restaurants — eateries that promptly became public enemy No. 1 online.

The company said that the memo at Tio Taco and Tequila bar in Edison, NJ was quickly taken down, and that the employee who put it up has since been fired.
The company said that the memo at Tio Taco and Tequila bar in Edison, NJ, was quickly taken down and that the employee who put it up has since been fired.
Courtesy of @tiotacotequila

“It was scary to read . . . You have 2,000 people saying‚ ‘burn down and die, let’s put them out of business,’ ” he said, adding that the restaurant group has already hired a scrubbing company to neutralize the many horrid reviews to appear since last weekend.

“It’s not enough that we have a pandemic, it’s not enough that we have a labor shortage, it is not enough that we have food inflation, it’s not enough that people are insecure going in restaurants,” Bonfiglio added about the now nationally known miscommunication.

Although the CEO did admit that his team eyes online reviews closely, he said he would never nix a worker over the matter.

“It would be an impossible policy,” he said. “I’d have to fire the whole crew.”

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