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Non-existent London eatery beat TripAdvisor to #1

December 8, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

A London journalist propped up a fried egg on his bare foot during a haute cuisine photo-shoot and used fake reviews to propel a non-existent restaurant, based on a garden shed, to the top of TripAdvisor’s rankings.

The story of how writer Oobah Butler accomplished the feat, as published in Vice, makes hilarious reading. The hoax was so successful that an Australian production company apparently got in touch with Butler, saying it wanted to exhibit the restaurant “across the world in an aircraft company’s inflight videos”.

A YouTube video shows Butler turning prospective diners away on the phone, explaining how the restaurant is fully booked for weeks.

The restaurant was listed as “appointment-only” – but the whole thing was a total send-up from the start. Meals which looked delicious in the photos were concocted from shaving foam, parsley, paint and less savoury ingredients.

The restaurant, called The Shed, entered the TripAdvisor list as London’s lowest-ranked restaurant, number 18,149.

The Shed at Dulwich is no longer listed on TripAdvisor. This shows an archived page

Friends and acquaintances, in on the joke, used different computers to write reviews. Emails and calls flooded in and The Shed started climbing the charts. People wanted to work in the kitchens. Hundreds more wanted to eat there.

On 1 November 2017, six months after being listed online, The Shed at Dulwich, a fine dining establishment which never existed, became London’s top-rated restaurant.

Finally, Butler came clean, contacted TripAdvisor and told the company the truth. It was all in fun and TripAdvisor seems to have taken it in good part.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    hahah find this a bit unbelievable because as soon as you get a few reviews trip advisor make contact trying to get you to ‘join ” their marketing program for a $1000 a year

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