Kickass Cupcakes window proclaims, "We're Proud to Say...People Hate Us on Yelp"

Amazing sign posted at Kickass Cupcakes  on Twitpic

This Twitpic by @devon is making the rounds on Twitter today (what some are calling "the Yelp backlash"). It's a fabulous way that Somerville, Massachusetts bakery Kickass Cupcakes is responding to review site Yelp.

This also comes after an East Bay Express article called "Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0," which Yelp responded to.

We checked out Kickass Cupcakes' page on Yelp and here's some of what's been said:

Bryan M.:

So I decided to go with the super chocolate (being the chocolate fan I am). I got it to go. The employee then bagged it and gave me a subtle thank you and good bye. I thought to myself, how could you be so miserable when you work around cupcakes all day...then I got home and took a bite out of the cup cake and understood. THEY SUCK. I would be miserable too if I had to work around such a horrible product.

The cake itself was dry...almost as it has been sitting there for days. The hard chocolate pieces on top of the cupcake were bland and had barely any taste and the ganache was more like something made with Crisco...let me re-phrase that....EXPIRED Crisco!!! Finally the size of it was very disappointing...though it DID take to much space in my trash can (for those who can't get the very bad joke I just said: I threw it away), it was very small for the price.

I sound bitter (not as bitter as the ganache) and I am. A 50 cent cupcake from Stop and Shop is gourmet heaven compared to this.


Robert M.:

After seeing kickass featured on the Phantom Gourmet we thought it would be a hoot to take our 6 year old niece to Davis Square to pick out a box of cupcakes for dessert. I had the red velvet and the super chocolate and I have to say they were really disappointing. Very dry cupcakes that needed a tall glass of milk to wash them down. The frosting was wonderful. We joked we should have made our own cupcakes from a box and just bought kickass frosting.

Meghan J.:

love me some cupcakes, BUT not these.

They are WAY overpriced and leave you feeling like you ate a brick afterwards. How's that for comfort food? The cupcakes are very small for what they charge, but worse than that, they are dry and not moist at all.

The concept of the shop is fantastic, the the cupcakes do not live up to the expectation.

Change the name or change the cupcakes.


There are also some positive ones, such as Jenna C.:

As a confirmed dessert fiend, I know a good cupcake when I see one, and this is definitely where its at. My cousin split the cupcake parfait with me, and I don't want to eat anything but cupcake parfaits ever again.

I really like the chocolate cupcake, too, and the banana cream is actually heart-stoppingly good, and I usually don't go for banana cream stuff (like pies, or this strange pudding thing they used to serve in our school cafeteria).


You can, of course, read all the reviews for yourself. I highlighted them because I think it's a gusty move for Kickass Cupcakes. I'm curious how it will affect their business, and whether anyone else will follow suit.

I have written 3 reviews on Yelp, of New York City bakeries Butter Lane, Batch and Sweet Revenge, but as a consumer, I tend to mostly use it when out of town (I recommend the Yelp iPhone app.)

What do you think? Do review sites matter to you when choosing a cupcake bakery? Do you use them yourself?

Comments

I prefer to try things out for myself, not go by reviews. Personally, I LOVE Kickass Cupcakes. Vegan cupcakes are delish! Sister-in-law swears by the gluten-free! Husband LOVES them all. And no, I do not work for or own the store, just frequent it on a regular basis.
Saskia said…
i try the store and see for myself if i like it or not...
not once did my opinion fit with others ..but
i work at a bakery and i have to say i do not like the cupcakes / cakes all the time, sometimes it´s good, sometimes not.
i would love to change the recipes because you can only eat the same food for so many years but it is not in power...
Jennifer said…
When I'm trying a new restaurant, I like to check the reviews on Yelp. And, if I were looking for someone to make something important - like a wedding cake - I'd definitely ask around and read reviews.

But, for someplace like a cupcake bakery, I probably wouldn't. I'd just try them out, and see what I thought.

Even when I do read reviews, I tend to look over a few bad reviews anyway, as long as the majority of the reviews are good. There are always some people who have a bad experience, no matter how good yours may end up being.
Miss Kolleen said…
I've never heard of yelp. I don't read reviews, because I don't care for other peoples snooty opinions!
~Dana said…
Can I just say I love Yelp, too! It is such a help in finding great places to eat!
Lara Starr said…
The employees at a pizza place in San Francisco wear t-shirts printed with quotes from bad yelp reviews - love that!
Hayley said…
I don't usually read reviews for restaurants or bakeries, but I have written a few. One thing I always keep in mind is that many people don't write reviews unless their experience was an extreme (not everyone, but many people)...and many times people are more worked up if they've had a bad experience. I usually don't feel the need to write a review unless I had a pretty bad experience. If I was treated horribly (which doesn't happen often, especially at bakeries) or if something I ate was just terrible (it doesn't have to be The Greatest Most Perfect Cupcake Ever for me to eat and enjoy it, but one time I had a cupcake so bad I wouldn't eat anymore after the first bite).

But everyone's opinions and experiences are different, so I while I might consider what other people have said about a place, usually I still like to try it out for myself.
Cupcake Retro said…
I read reviews. I have never used Yelp. I will only use reviews that gush over a particular favorite flavor, not ones that are overly negative. When I visited Kara's Cupcakes and blogged about my visit I tried the cupcake that had been raved about in the reviews and they were right. I loved it.
Jake Vance said…
I can confirm that Yelp is pretty shady with trying to extort you into advertising with them. We've had quite a few 5-star reviews "disappear" after declining their (horrendously expensive) advertising package.

Of course, these reviews were there for months before and while they were trying to woo us into advertising.

Now, while I'm not saying user reviews are a bad thing, I think Yelp, as a company, is horribly corrupt, which lessens the trustworthiness of the reviews that DO end up appearing online.
Greta said…
Frequently, I write reviews on yelp, and my experience at Kickass was kind of mediocre (the salesperson was nice and the mojito cupcake was good, but overall, the cupcakes were not up to par with Sweet or other bakeries I have visited). I think they have a good selection, but yelp is what it is and consumers are going to rate it how they feel. Maybe some people had a bad experience there.

I will say this. The yelp reviews of the Cupcake Cafe in NYC are right on target. The employees are totally rude and the cupcakes were terrible.

Here is my review of Kickass Cupcakes:
I have to say that I was not expecting much after reading many of the reviews on yelp. On the way to Cambridge today, I made a detour to Kickass Cupcakes despite all the negative feedback. The cupcakery was not far from the Davis station and quite easy to find. The staff was very nice and friendly and I've heard unfriendly things about Somerville. The most appealing aspect of Kickass Cupcakes (besides the name!) is the selection of cupcakes they offer. Not a typical vanilla or chocolate girl (although I do order them from time to time), I ordered a sampling of unusual cupcakes-- the chai cupcake, the red velvet, the lucky cupcake (lemon cupcake with white chocolate frosting), the s'mores cupcake, and the mojito cupcake (their most popular, the clerk told me). Also, I ordered a kittycake for the meow meow at home. The cat will not be participating in eating it, but she will certainly get a nice high from the catnip cooked into the cake.

After a lovely dinner at Cuchi Cuchi, my friend and I tried some of the desserts. I had the s'mores cupcake and she and her husband split the red velvet. The s'more cupcake had a gooey, tasty ganache that was perfect. However, the cake (the graham cracker part) tasted more like a muffin and was a little tough and dried out. I think my friend liked the red velvet. My husband had the chai and the cake part of the lucky cake (hehe, I had the frosting). I do think the cake part is a little dry for my taste, but the frosting is quite good.
Krista said…
I don't understand why they don't leave the reviews in the order they were posted? Seems sketchy when they are "random" in the dates posted.
Anonymous said…
I do think the reviews are harsh and some show that the people are childish. There is a way to write a review saying the place was not good like an adult. That being said I love cupcakes and I'm from Boston. I will drive anywhere for good cupcakes even have driven to the cape, ct and ny! I've tried Kickass cupcakes multiple times and while the staff was friendly, the name is cute the cake part of the cupcakes has been dry every single time. If you keep getting reviews saying your cake is dry maybe you should start to listen. I've worked in a bakery before and yes some days things come better than others so you can have an off day but when it happens over and over again its time to listen to your customers and do something about it. There are too many good cupcake places out ther to sell cupcakes that look great but taste horrible.
Yelp came under fire a few months ago for removing negative reviews for a fee. It might be a statement about that. There were also rumors (I can't remember what the final outcome of that was) that they were saying to places, "here is a great review about you! for X amount of dollars, we won't delete it."
Michelle said…
I have made a few reviews on yelp but I don't usually go there to check out the reviews and if I do it's not definitive, it's just to get opinions. Although I think these site are great, they can be damaging. I don't know about this whole representatives calling businesses to erase negative feedback but I have heard of people purposely writing negative feedback to sabotage businesses. My best friend's mom frequents a message board and there are a couple of users who have been there for a while. There have been arguments and animosity but nothing serious. Until one day, one of the users gathered information they had about another user and paid money to find out information about them thru those websites that list people's phone/address/etc. Anyway long story short, they found out the woman's last name, phone number address, business name/address and gathered people who actually went on yelp and wrote negative reviews so they could sabotage her business. This was a couple months ago and it seems like it was really taken a blow on her sales. My point is that these website can damage just as much as they can help and I'm sure there's phony positive feedback just as there is negative...
leslie said…
yelp, what a crock! I am totally pissed about how their site works, I know for a fact that many of my customers have put amazing reviews on the site of my shop and because they do not review lots of places they disappear on my review page but stay active on their site so they do not know they have been removed.

As an example, there was a review posted by someone who can in on Valentines day, did not place a pre order and was pissed we did not have any cupcakes, complained about me being a bad business woman. Someone else responded to this by saying she pre-orderd, was appreciative we had her cupcakes available, was happy we made pre-orders a priority and shamed her for expecting cupcakes available for last minute walkins. Guess what hers disappeared. Another comment was posted by someone who hated my pink shop and the p0rice, someone else responded to this and theirs is now gone. I have had over 30 reviews and only 5 are left and they are all but one negative. I think internet research is great for finding new places but I think the way Yelp removes comments makes their site hurtful and worthless.

Leslie Fiet
Owner of Mini's Cupcakes
Salt Lake City