On 22nd Feb, Friday, I got FOOD POISONING after eating one of the vegetarian salads from The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe vashi, and I was down with Diarrhoea, Vomiting and Fever for 2 days because of this... but that's NOT the bigger problem... I know these kind of slips can happen to any business... The real problem is this establishment's arrogant attitude, their refusal to acknowledge their mistake or address my issue, and the way they got Zomato to delete my genuine review even though I had uploaded all proofs of the incident.
I subscribed for their Veg Salad Subscription by paying INR 4830 for 20 days and right after consuming the 2nd day's salad, I fell violently sick. Now I would like to stress that I did not immediately rush to blame them or conclude that it was because of the salad. I properly diagnosed the problem, along with my trusted Doctor of 25 years (whose diagnosis / prescription I have added below here as proof) and after ruling out ALL other possibilities, came to a conclusion that it was indeed the Contaminated Salad from The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe in Vashi that caused this violent reaction in my gut.
The salad was either not washed properly or was not handled hygienically, and according to my doctor, it was most likely Contaminated with a virus like E.coli or Salmonella or something similar that gave me food poisoning.
Anyway, so after 3 days when I finally raised this issue with the management of this restaurant on my WhatsApp group (which they had created), I asked for cancellation of my subscription and refund of my amount,
But the person who spoke to me started off with Total Denial, saying that they serve 1000's of salads a day and it was NOT their salad, it might be something else I have eaten or I must be allergic to something (I have clinically certified that I am NOT allergic to anything).
Furthermore, I have been eating salads all my life, and have eaten them all over the world... I KNOW what to eat and what not to eat, and apart from these ALL I ate in the last week was home cooked food.
So when I insisted that I have done a thorough diagnosis with the help of my physician and it was actually their salad that was the reason for my Food Poisoning, he arrogantly told me in a very 'Patronising' and 'Non-committal' manner that he will "Look into it and get back to me".
Imagine your self having suffered for 3 days with Diarrhoea, Vomiting and Fever, having been unable to eat, and then the person responsible for it coming along and telling you that it's actually YOU who doesn't know what to eat and what not to eat or what water to drink... How would YOU feel?
Right, this got me even more upset, having physically suffered for 3 days, with no appetite and having totally destroyed my weekend with my family, I reminded him that he was not doing me any favour by 'looking into it' and if their business has delivered a product that has caused physical harm to a consumer, they NEED to address and resolve the issue ASAP.
Upon this, this self-righteous arrogant person further went ahead and told me that 'As far as refund is concerned, they don't have a refund policy' and that 'he will take his own time to look into this and will not work as per my terms' and that "I am free to take whatever action I want to..."
So i did what anyone would do, I posted this same review on Zomato, also mentioning that in case this review was deleted by Zomato, I would post this in other places too... which is exactly what happened. More about that below...
The restaurant manager replied to my zomato review with some totally baseless and illogical counter-allegations about how hundreds of his other customers did not get sick and only I got sick so it must be my fault and not theirs...
In reply to him, I simply posted the screenshots of my chat with the restaurant manager on zomato for all readers to see and decide on their own... which they promptly deleted the same day... why did they do that? I will venture a guess below...
I am not posting this to vent here because they refused to cancel my subscription and refund my money after poisoning me... I don't want that money as much as I want to warn others who might want to try their salads that if they were to also fall sick after eating the Unhygienic and Contaminated salads from The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe, Vashi, THIS is what they can expect to hear... 'That it's their fault, not the cafe's'.
Predictably, within 2 days, this restaurant managed to pay zomato to get my review deleted and thought it would be business as ususal... But This had Actually Happened and I would like people to know this to form their own opinions
Below I am adding a scanned image of my doctor's prescription, who BTW is an experienced physician since 40+ years in vashi, showing the medication i was under for food poisoning and the screenshots of the whatsapp chat with the manager of this restaurant...
Read On... and decide for yourself.
Here is the prescription by my doctor dated 23rd Feb 2019, where he has prescribed for me the following medicines -
Here are the screenshots of my chat with The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe Vashi manager on 25th Feb. I have nothing to hide. If after reading this, you feel that I was not wronged and my response towards this establishment is unjustified, then like me, you too are free to form your opinion.
Scroll sideways to read the entire chat
Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd like to point out a few plain facts here.
A few years back Zomato introduced a new feature in their app, called 'trustworthy Reviews'. See the screenshot below.
'Trustworthy Reviews' are Zomato's way of telling people that THEY will decide, after reading a user's review, if they think it is genuine or not, and if they find it 'suspicious', they will delete it.
Now consider this,
Officially, Zomato does not charges restaurants for just registering on their app. Their primary source of revenue is the 'Ads' or the 'Promotions' they do that they charge restaurants for, which includes More Visibility (appearing amongst the top few when a user searches / browses in his area), Being featured in 'Collections', etc, each of which have a charge, and from what i hear from many, pretty hefty, if they want to maintain their visibility and good ranking.
You can Google this, and you'll find 100's of stories indicating how indirectly they have to spend heavily if they don't want to be invisible on the app, and if they want any support from Zomato regarding their listings, don't take my word for it, Google it.
Now coming back to my review about The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe Vashi which I posted on Zomato on 25th Feb, Why was it deleted??
Why did Zomato find it 'Suspicious' ? In spite of the fact that i had openly posted the screenshots, and also stated that anyone who wanted to contact me to verify this was welcome, I would share all info with them.
Although I'm sure Zomato is in regular touch with this restaurant, as they are their customers of course, No one from Zomato ever called me to verify my review, they have my number, They just decided that my review was 'Suspicious' and deleted it.
DO THE MATH!
If Zomato can charge restaurants for appearing higher in their listings page, or in collections, for getting more audience... what's stopping them from charging restaurants for flagging bad reviews as 'suspicious' and deleting them and keeping good reviews.
Do you think they ever delete any good 4 - 5 star reviews marking them as 'suspicious' ? Common sense says, probably not.
My personal opinion is that Salad bar and walnut cafe vashi paid Zomato to have my perfectly Factual and Genuine review marked as 'suspicious' and got it deleted, so that they could continue unfettered with their mediocre, unhygienic salad bar and keep displaying only selected good reviews, deceiving people about their quality standards by writing good marketing lines on their website.
Since I did not know they were going to delete my review, and the restaurant's reply to it, I did not bother taking screenshots of it. But below this section are a couple of screenshots of a notification I received about my review and the deleted review page...
Here are the screenshots of my deleted review on Zomato. The restaurant manager had also replied to it and as I predicted in the review itself, within 2 days they got deleted.
This also means that probably Every review we see on Zomato is curated and it might be possible for bad quality restaurants like walnut cafe and salad bar vashi to pay and get the bad reviews deleted.
NO. After getting my review deleted, it seems to be 'business as usual' for the restaurant. They have never bothered to contact me OR do anything about my refund.
Nor did they ever investigate or 'Look Into' what happened at their end that cause their product to cause Food Poisoning.
The manager, who was arguing so much, has very conveniently forgotten that this ever happened and that they took INR 4830 from me, delivered only 4 salads and never bothered to investigate into the contaminated salad...
Should a hospitality estabilishment be allowed to get away with this kind of carelessness and arrogance?
I think not...
I urge you to be careful and take an informed decision whether you'd like to risk your health by buying from a restaurant with such low standards of hygiene.
Please feel free to contact me for any clarification regarding the above