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Bay Area restaurant campaigns to be worst-rated on Yelp

A screenshot of Botto Bistro's Yelp page.

A screenshot of Botto Bistro's Yelp page. Credit:

You can’t believe everything you read on Yelp.

That’s especially the case for one California restaurant, which is actively campaigning to be the worst-rated restaurant on the consumer review website.

“HATE US ON YELP!” says Botto Bistro on its website. “Hate us and we'll love you!”

The restaurant, located in Richmond, in the Bay Area, explains that they will reward one-star reviews with a 25 percent discount off pizzas, with the snarkiest review winning a free cooking class.

“Why? We want to prove that low score [sic] and bad reviews don't impact us and any other successful restaurants,” they explain.

The discount campaign is Botto Bistro’s response to Yelp’s alleged practices of threatening businesses and forcing them to advertise on the site.

The restaurant, as of Sept. 20, is down to a 1.5-star rating on Yelp.

“The hostess was like, NO YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR CATS [sic] BIRTHDAY HERE. And I was like, HE'S MORE HUMAN THEN [sic] YOU'LL EVER BE!” reads one humorous review submitted by a user named Liza A.

“No room for yoga mats,” reads another by Michael J.

“Because of how bad this restaurant is, I am going to have to cancel my plans to visit the Bay Area,” wrote Laura F.

To Botto Bistro’s credit, it appears even active campaigning for poor reviews can’t stop diners who are enthusiastic about its food.

“I WILL BE back for a second visit,” writes Mikel Z., who complimented the restaurant with his five-star review punctuated by “yum” and “bravo.”

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