How to Become TripAdvisor’s #1 Fake Restaurant
You two are down here. The Shed is the number one rated restaurant in London. You’ve got every foodie, celebrity, and blogger in the city trying to get a table. The problem is… until now It didn’t exist. It’s fake website explained that they don’t have a traditional menu per se “Instead of meals our menu is comprised of moods” For seven months, Vice reporter Oobah Butler tricked Trip Advisor. It’s like you blink and you’re in the Groucho. Can you believe that you managed to get to number one? You became the number one restaurant in London. After the Shed news hit the headlines, I spent… 20 hours doing interviews back-to-back. In the Times “Tory-graph,” in the Evening Standard as a cultural reference It’s an extraordinary story, a jaw-dropping story. Susanna Reid told me off on Good Morning Britain. It’s a very naughty thing to do! My first writing job was writing fake reviews for restaurants. I would do that and they’d give me a tenner . Boom! Businesses’ fortunes would genuinely be transformed. That made me see TripAdvisor as like a false reality that everyone took completely seriously Over the years. I just thought the only bit of TripAdvisor that is unfakeable is a restaurant itself And one day I thought Ah, maybe it is actually fakeable I’ve been living here for about a year and a half. I’m paying 800 pounds a month for it Over here. This is the bedroom. This is where I work. This is the kitchen. Two hobs here, got an oven there. This is gonna be the site of the fictitious restaurant ‘The Shed at Dulwich’ I want to get The Shed at Dulwich to number one on TripAdvisor So how am I gonna do this? Over the next few months, I’m gonna get my friends to write fake reviews They’re going to pretend that they’ve been at The Shed at Dulwich and they had an amazing time But what’s important in that is that… You know if one person was to say “Oh the steak and kidney pie was amazing” And then another person said “It’s the best vegan restaurant in South London” Then it would make no sense would it, so you need consistency pointers. 1. You eat outside 2. It’s weird as fuck 3. It’s homely (which means tiny) And 4. It’s an appointment-only place because imagine if people start showing up here To get verified on TripAdvisor you need a phone This is gonna be my trap phone and you know The Shed at Dulwich now has its landline. I needed a website. The Shed at Dulwich dot com. Some photos that did the trick. Okay so today I’ve been doing The photos of the food that we’re gonna serve at the shed For starters we have the pan fried shallots With a side of seafoam seasoned with some parsley Pan-fried toilet blocks power blocks. Really douse that in honey ‘cos you know, it’s a bit sour and you end up with something like this! For the main it is our very own ham hock Ham hock smears of honey… and seasoning People don’t order meals, they order moods instead “Love”: a meal that makes your heart swell I remember this because I was like trying to do a meal that would give you a heart attack “Contemplation” a deconstructed Aberdeen stew served with a warmed beef tea Can I have “Comfort” please? It said it was served in a 600 TC (thread count) Egyptian cotton ball Laughing at my own jokes. Really appealling for my character. All right. “Lust “: Rabbit kidneys on toast seasoned with saffron and an oyster bisque served with a side of the pomegranate souffle. That wasn’t that funny. The Shed at Dulwich was officially verified on TripAdvisor This is one of the reviews that was left on the Shed at Dulwich This is the kind of tone of the review this was like spot on if you enjoy chef’s table, you’ll love it here. As the Sun was setting we were offered blankets We politely declined (one had a stain on) but a nice touch. Adds to the alfresco feel! Well.. we are kind of booked up on weekends up until… for the next sort of six weeks. The more reviews that went up the more buzz developed the higher it climbed and the more people called me. Tonight is fully booked. We are fully booked today. Pretty damn sure that’s gonna be fully booked Worth the wait! There’s a fantastic rustic feel to it. The mood system is revolutionary. I went for horny and was not disappointed You want a table for four on Christmas Day Unfortunately, we are fully booked that day I’ve just had an email from a young results hungry PR agency who want to represent The Shed It’s actually going alright on my own! I mean, I’m rising up the rankings on TripAdvisor But I’m starting to think that maybe we should see what they’ll bring to the table The call starts in ten minutes, so I not only have to look a way that represents the Shed I have to speak a way that represents the Shed and become a man who represents the Shed. I don’t actually know… What’s the best hat for this? They’re just gonna know thats not *unintelligible* No fuck it. I’m wearing this. Steven… Steven Miller The Shed at Dulwich Hello, this is Joshua. Can I see you at all, can you see me? – . Absolutely, I like your hat Ah. Thank you. Tell me about yourself. I want to make the Shed at Dulwich the hottest spot in London the shining shit, you know I want to give them a taste and then go in a dip and go dip in go Into the garden kind of raw rural feeling, but mad so I know it’s a lot to ask of you right now But what would be your instinct here? That would be great. Well, how would you go by inviting people to something like that? We could that would be fantastic Do you think I’m cool? We just run a real restaurant, it’s not hard thing to do. Thank you so much. [Uhhhh] We’re at number 121 It just keeps on getting more ridiculous. TV execs are trying to use their work emails to get tables at the restaurant How many? Instagram followers do you have Sorry do you mind if I just…. How many Instagram followers do you have Okay, great. I can’t see why not ,Wednesday looks great. Hello. Sorry about that. Just had another call through We’re fully booked on Wednesday, sorry Sorry that’s someone that we knew (ewwww) Hundreds of people have tried to get a table here. I’ve not given one of them a table. And that is driving them mad. – It’ll be quite an erotic shoot going on in the restaurant (Lady on phone)Yeah, yeah. Would you be comfortable with that? No, sorry yeah, we are fully booked that night Things like started to get a bit out of hand, people were applying for jobs at my non-existent restaurant People start using Google Maps is an estimated location in my house to send packages to my house If people actually know where I live, does that not become dangerous? like it seems, and that’s like maybe going on the path to like the wrong kind of prank Aah It’s number one At 18,000 restaurants in London. Like any of the Michelin stars are, it’s rated better. It doesn’t even exist It’s a quarter past ten, and my phone literally hasn’t stopped ringing for the past five hours It’s been like this like most nights now. I haven’t I can’t see any other logical end to this now apart from Giving the people what they want and just opening the thing and just making it exactly the restaurant that I’ve created in everyone’s minds Okay, I’m celebrating because after seven months of like lying Constantly to anybody who rings his phone. I’m actually gonna not let somebody down And we do have a table on the 17th if you want to come in Hi there, the Shed at Dulwich.
– You actually exist?
We’re the Banksy of the flower on the restaurants It’s tonight *chuckles* Right so we’re gonna turn my garden into something that can pass for the best restaurant in the whole of London And we’re gonna serve real food to real customers, and I’ve got fuck all money to do it. This is the uhh Electric heater. I just managed to get from people down the road so like you know a fancy restaurant you have like Lobsters and you can pick your own lobster the Wendy house in my garden should be filled with chickens The reviews all describe how All the other food is homely Probably gonna be microwave lasagna now does this look man good I I grew up eating ready meals So why don’t we serve ready meals and dress them up with like micro herbs, edible flowers and stuff like that so that they don’t know the difference The Shed at Dulwich is stocked up, baby
The cost price per dish is one pound But I didn’t wanna get sued so I ended up basically just saying that it was like a pressed night So we just didn’t charge for anything we’re just trying to put the fucking thing together like we’ve got to go and get all the tables and chairs which are in a Cafe up, it’s gonna be up five trips because his car’s tiny T-minus fifty three minutes until the first people get here, and we’re just trying to lay out the place and make it like…warm, this is pretty warm I’m going to be helping Oobah serve food, or the … the moods? You just tell them what we can do they look like they’re in and you one of my sell The fact that the food looks a bit shit Chicken man just got here. Trevor, the chicken man. He’s like the animal handler for the stars what are their names Henrietta and Poks poks. Henrietta and ? Poks poks. You can try that one if you like. Ah fuck They’re brown chickens. Carefully selected. You’re not going to eat them or anything, are you? No, I’m gonna tell people that they count like He was to handle the chickens in a way that no one would realize that he was anything to do with the chickens Ahaha Hello There was DJ Sambience who literally just playing the sound of a restaurant and had a trigger pad for a microwave ding [Ding] Does it – do we want it to be like a real restaurant? So it’s gonna sound like one isn’t it and we’ve got the visual and sound I’d really hate to look stupid. I’m doing this. Feel like seven tables we had over like half of them were like filled with actors loudly expressing our how delicious their food was Ohhh delicious! So I wanted to create that same psychological space as TripAdvisor you guys are up there So we got the ladder here First ever customers for the shed at Dulwich have arrived Do you want to just wait at the intersection of ethros tree and freeIn road and we’ll be with you in about five minutes It’s okay Great, I don’t know what I should use as blindfolds? Shirts I decided to put blindfolds on because people in London seem to absolutely adore Novelties. Put these weird blindfolds on Are you okay with this? and Because the first half of my garden is an absolute dive okay watch out. There’s a quite disgusting mattress on the floor there so Yet step there. This is the longest I’ve ever held someone’s hand Sorry You can hear, it´s getting closer So this, for all our american friends, is the New York eatery Yeah, take your blindfolds off. So this is the shed at Dulwich I sat them down, get them some drinks and stuff, and then like Trevor gets a chicken out [ Woman Screams] Do you want to put… I’m sorry… Trevor are you okay to put that chicken away? Trevor you’re a fucking nutcase You kind of don´t get to choose, no, it’s kind of dependent on your moods, but I sort of work it out and I´ve already worked it out for you guys. Did you enjoy the food? Yeah, really really good. So we’ve got a beautiful vegetable lasagna for you. The chef has foraged these delights. On top of that, just a beautiful little garnish. Quite particular to you guys tonight Namaste – I´ve been trying to like, get hold of them for… Maybe two months and then they said they had a table tonight. So we just came down. And it´s like really unique -It’s in the Shed. It´s quite hard to get a table. Quite cool -We saw a couple of photos online that people had posted, It just looked really interesting and we’re down to try London food [Music] – Was very different, new, something that´s not in the States. – It felt like … Something I had maybe a when I was like a kid. – Soup out of a mug It´s like a wartime classic Yeah, it’s a good experience. I’d definitely recommend. Would you come back? Hi guys can I get you any refills or anything? Okay great, just give me a shout if you need anything alright? – Thank you very much Okay guys You can definitely take the negative perspective here and be like “oh well God if this guy can fool the world that a collection of chairs outside of the shed that he lives in his garden is like London’s top rated restaurant then We’re fucked” And people don’t trust their senses above what they read online anymore But, if I can get my shitty and overpriced shed that I live in in Dulwich to the number one rated restaurant in London Anything is possible – It´s a random place, isn´t it,but it´s kind of cool [laughing] They just tried to book again They tried to book again Four of the six!