French Man Fined $11,000 for Negative Review of a Restaurant That Hadn’t Even Opened Yet

Online restaurant reviews are a fine line.

Review aggregators are a generally a terrific service, but there’s always the potential for disingenuous and spiteful feedback. Prime example: an anonymous Yellow Pages commenter in France who called a restaurant “very overrated, all for show and with very little on the plate” five days before it opened back in 2013.

The restaurant, Loiseau des Ducs in Dijon, has since been awarded a Michelin star and ranks sixth-best in the city according to 456 reviews on TripAdvisor.

“I was devastated,” said Dominique Loiseau, the owner of the Bernard Loiseau group, which runs Loiseau des Ducs. “We do not understand how people can do that.”

For Dominique, restaurant reviews are an especially delicate matter. She’s the widow of renowned French chef Bernard Loiseau, who committed suicide in 2003 after his restaurant, Cote d’Or, was downgraded from 19/20 to 17/20 in the prominent restaurant guide GaultMillau.

As for the reviewer, he’s been fined almost $11,000 by Dijon’s high court for damages to the Bernard Loiseau group and to cover the restaurant’s cost of finding them.

You know what they say, revenge is a dish best served cold…as in, cold hard cash.