Restaurant Podcasts

Table Touch Podcast 004 — Crazy Yelp News & Dar Vasseghi, CEO of Yoshinoya


Holy smokes is Yelp in the headlines. Love them or hate them, Yelp has an impact on whether people visit your restaurant(s). So, what should you do about it?

We discuss that and more…and enjoy a great interview with Yoshinoya CEO Dar Vasseghi on this latest episode of Table Touch.

Show Notes

In this episode of The Table Touch Show, we kick around the recent news about a Bay-area indie restaurant called Botto Bistro and its counter-measures against purported strong-arm sales tactics by Yelp.

If you missed the article about this, you can read the Botto Bistro story at Yelp was obviously in the news for a recent court ruling suggesting that they can manipulate reviews at their discretion, although they’ve recently reiterated they don’t.

Botto Bistro’s counter-measures entail:

  • A frequently-asked questions (FAQ) page at their website that is the best restaurant FAQ you’ll ever read.
  • A rewards page for customers that details what you get for giving Botto Bistro a 1-star review. Yes, you read that right.
  • A Yelp page that details the email exchange with Yelp regarding rewarding guests for ratings and reviews. The irony of course in this case is Botto Bistro is asking for those 1-star reviews.

As a former operator and chain executive, Randy shares his thoughts on how to grapple with today’s world of anonymous reviews on sites like Yelp.

But wait, there’s more!

Let’s talk about Yoshinoya, shall we?


More About This Episode

  • Dar Vasseghi, CEO of the QSR brand Yoshinoya, lets us get to know him and his brand a bit more. Based in Los Angeles, California, with over 100 US locations, Yoshinoya is a long-standing, authentic brand with its original home in Japan.
  • Dar names Umami and Tender Greens as brands he respects — you’ll have to listen to the episode to hear why!
  • Dar shares his three keys for getting Yoshinoya to rise above the clutter in the restaurant industry.
Read:  Restaurant Marketing News and Ideas 2/25/2014

Dar’s an incredibly quotable CEO. Among his outstanding takeaways in this episode:

  • “There’s a movement away from the old traditional food science and food marketing back to the farm…people want and demand food that’s real…”
  • “The customer today can’t be fooled. You have to be real.”
  • “If you claim to be a good-for-you brand…you’ve got to have a consistent culture internally. Ultimately your employees will do unto your customers as you do unto them.”

And we play a big game of “When I Say ________, You Say ________”, where Brandon asks Dar for his reaction to 5 keywords or phrases. Those keywords were: “Starbucks”, “Millennials,” “Flavors”, “Upcoming,” and “Social Media”. When Brandon says the keyword, Dar gives his very first impression, with only one or two words.

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We’re just getting started with the newest restaurant podcast out there and want to have a ton of fun with this. A long list of outstanding restaurant leaders are lined up for future episodes — so subscribe or hop on board the mailing list (to the right) and we’ll let you know about each episode.

About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.