The cafe owner who controversially referred to a customer as an ‘a**hole’ for leaving a negative review on her business page has defended her unique way of handling complaints.
Naomi Corbett, the owner of Low Road Cafe at Windsor, in Brisbane’s north, lashed out at mother Kylie Lindsay after she left a ‘polite’ review on the business Facebook page urging them to consider offering highchairs.
The one-star review sparked an online war of words, with the women trading insults in the days following the initial feedback.
Ms Corbett has since turned down an opportunity to share her version of events in an opinion piece for the Courier Mail, instead opting to share her thoughts on her business page, crediting the ‘bolstered traffic’ it has received since the furore.
She said while she ‘appreciated the gesture, I’m hesitant to put myself in someone else’s hands again (except for my husband’s – he’s pretty hot).’
Pictured: Cafe owners Ben and Naomi. Naomi said they believe their first answer was appropriate and will continue to address complaints in their unusual way
Instead, she decided to put her half completed journalism degree – to which she is ‘still paying off a HECS debt’ – to good use, and write the opinion piece for her own forum.
She said the ability to leave negative reviews that are almost entirely unregulated is damaging to small businesses and harming the industry.
‘I want to talk about power, and the way it is wielded by people that don’t like what you do and want you to God damn pay for it,’ she said.
‘That kind of power can be so incredibly damaging and hurtful for a small business. It’s unregulated and impossible to remove. You literally wait on the kindness of strangers to rectify your ratings.’
She said while her methods of ‘fighting back against the bullies’ may be unusual, it works for her family and her business, and she has no intentions to change.
‘Sure, it’s unprofessional – but have you MET us?’
Naomi Corbett, the owner of Low Road Cafe at Windsor, in Brisbane’s north, lashed out at mother Kylie Lindsay after she left a ‘polite’ review on the business Facebook page urging them to consider offering highchairs
Kylie Lindsay (right with family), the daughter of a former Liberal MP, said she left a ‘polite’ review on The Low Road Cafe’s Facebook
‘If some folk think we’re damaging our brand, to that I say at least it’s us who gets to do it, not some entitled ding-dong who storms out because we don’t have air-conditioning or stock newspapers.’
Ms Corbett said she has received an enormous amount of support since her response to Ms Lindsay’s complaint went viral.
Families have made the trip out to her cafe to offer support, while other small business owners have phoned telling them to stay strong.
Ms Lindsay said the cafe actually bullied her in comments on social media and not the other way around, as Ms Corbett suggested.
She said the cafe displayed a noticeboard in front of the store which read ‘now with low chairs, love ya Kaz’.
Ms Corbett has since turned down an opportunity to share her version of events in an opinion piece for the Courier Mail, instead opting to share her thoughts on her business page, crediting the ‘bolstered traffic’ it has received since the furore
She visited the cafe on Sunday about 8.30am but left after she learnt they did not have high chairs. Pictured: Ms Lindsay’s first review
The owners of the Low Road Cafe said they appreciate the difficulty of dining with a child as parents of a young family themselves
In the first review, Ms Lindsay, 41, wrote: ‘We would have loved to have tried this this morning, but were very disappointed when we arrived to find you don’t have a highchair’.
‘Appreciate it’s your business and your choice, but it means that young families like ours aren’t able to enjoy your hospitality and support a local business.’
The owners of the cafe responded to the original post saying they appreciate the difficulty of dining with a child as parents of a young family themselves.
‘We don’t have high chairs because our space is small and we’ve had accidents where people trip over them. Also people leave them covered in crap and it hurts our feelings,’ The Low Road Cafe said.
The owners added customers are welcome to bring their prams into the restaurant.
The matter escalated further when Ms Lindsay shared her story in a Brisbane mother’s group on Facebook.
‘I feel I was incredibly polite and to then be attacked and stalked online for offering some feedback and sharing with a local mum’s page that if they need highchairs I wouldn’t go to the Low Road Cafe is appalling,’ Ms Lindsay told Daily Mail Australia.
Ms Lindsay, who said her first review was deleted by the Low Road Cafe, wrote a follow up review on their Facebook page where she became victim to further online abuse.
Ms Lindsay, who said her first review was deleted by the Low Road Cafe, wrote a follow up review on their Facebook page where she became victim to further online abuse
In the comment section, the Low Road Cafe wrote: ‘You are an a**hole, and when questioned you deleted all of your comments.’
‘Keep your one star rating, we don’t need you.’
Ms Lindsay told Daily Mail Australia the verbal altercation may have started over a high chair but escalated to online bullying.
‘I just want to stress this isn’t about the highchair. This is about standing up to bullying and intimidation,’ she said.
‘The cafe might think they are witty and clever but they have done themselves enormous reputational damage and bullying someone is neither witty, nor clever.’
Pictured: the front of The Low Road Cafe in Brisbane’s northern suburbs
Ms Lindsay also said the cafe called her ‘Karen’ instead of Kylie which she claims was written on a noticeboard in front of the cafe.
The noticeboard read: ‘Now with low chairs!!! Love ya, Kaz!’
Ms Lindsay also reviewed The Low Road Cafe on Google Reviews.
‘Hi Karen, thanks for your 4900000th opinion on the matter.. You’ve been kicking off on all sorts of social media trying to discredit us because you didn’t get your way, and now you’re here,’ the cafe responded.
‘We don’t have high chairs. We explained why. We are parents ourselves. Please, for the love of God have a glass of wine and pop some kind of nurturing essential oil in your diffuser and leave us alone.’
The Low Road Cafe has varying reviews on its Facebook page, ranging from support to distaste in customer service.
‘Lovely, non-pretentious place to eat. Friendly staff. Great food. Can’t wait to go back,’ one customer wrote in support.
Ms Lindsay also said the cafe called her ‘Karen’ instead of Kylie which she claims was written on a noticeboard in front of the cafe. The noticeboard read: ‘Now with low chairs!!! Love ya, Kaz!’
‘Absolutely the best cafe I’ve been to. Amazing food, the best coffee and wonderful staff. 5 stars,’ said another.
Ms Corbett previously told The Courier-Mail they believe their first answer was appropriate, before Ms Lindsay shared it with parenting groups.
‘A regular sent us a screen shot and said she’s trying to make us out to be anti-family,’ she told the publication.
‘She’s going to get called an a**hole if she goes rabbiting on.
‘We are a small mum and dad business, we are cheeky and we’re not professional by any stretch.’
Naomi explained she was reduced to deleting the posts after the comments turned into strangers yelling at each other through their keyboards.
She said if Ms Lindsay accepted the cafe’s choice to not have high chairs she would have continued to go about her day and not post in parenting groups.
Ms Lindsay also reviewed The Low Road Cafe on Google Reviews