SANTA ANA (CBS) — The customer is always right – ah, but not to chef and restaurant owner Jason Quinn, who blasted a reviewer on Yelp and has no regrets about it.

Quinn, the 25-year-old owner of The Playground in Santa Ana, knows that his restaurant has a few rules that might irk a new customer. For example, they don’t serve ketchup and they don’t serve meat well done.

“We love what we’re doing and we have opinions on how things should be served,” Quinn says.

Quinn’s restaurant has been in business for just two months, the brick-and-mortar establishment of The Lime Truck, which won Great Food Truck Race on Food Network last fall.

The Playground’s 4.5 star rating on Yelp has definitely helped business. But when a reviewer identified as Naseem M. gave the restaurant one star and complained about the 3 percent gratuity for the kitchen staff, the unbending policy on meat doneness and even Quinn’s parents, Quinn responded with a vengeance.

Quinn’s nearly 2-page response was peppered with some choice expletives, asked the reviewer how cheap he was and flatly told him he was wrong. Quinn says these customers will never be allowed back in his restaurant.

Quinn says he did everything possible to make the customers happy, even offering to pay for part of their meal. But in hindsight, Quinn says his only regret was not kicking them out as they were sitting at the table.

“Frankly, I told them to burn in hell,” Quinn said of his response to the review on Yelp.

Quinn has no regrets about his response to the review and says he’s not worried about bad publicity.

“These are people who are using a public forum to discuss their experience, which is exactly what we want,” Quinn said. But, “the truth of the matter is, these people were awful.”

Comments (16)
  1. Mike in Santa Monica says:

    Wow!! Nice owner, I’m never going there.

  2. medium rare says:

    I give it a 30% chance of surving and staying in businness. This story will hurt that restaurant.

  3. John Estrada says:

    … a place I will never visit just because of the owner’s snippy attitude. His age is showing. Right or wrong, sometimes it’s better to just write it off as a bad customer with a bad attitude and leave it alone. To go public with a “choice word” berating only works against you. The public don’t know or care about that customer but they WILL remember your response.

  4. Corinne Anderson says:

    Don’t eat the murdered animals, go vegan.

    1. medium rare says:

      I trust no one who doesn’t eat meat!

    2. Stephen Wilkins says:

      I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to eat veggies.

  5. jason h says:

    Instead of paying his kitchen staff more he mandates a 3% surcharge or tip to the customer to bring their pay to market and then calls customers cheap for reacting to this? A blowhard…

  6. Ham Radio says:

    It appears Orange County has its own version of the Soup Nazi.

  7. Timothy McGarry says:

    Sorry, you need to grow up. Find out about running a business, for openers.

  8. DG says:

    The customer is always right and even when the customer is wrong you don’t right a two page missive against him – not if you want to stay in business.

  9. duh says:

    Saying F#%K YOU, in caps, to a customer TWICE, is so over-the-top immature, it boggles the mind. Even if it was WARRANTED, you have 300k invested in your business, and it isn’t worth losing to a temper tantrum.

    You might be the greatest chef in Santa Ana, or even the OC, but dude, you have anger management issues, and that will eventually trump your restaurant skills.

    You gambled on this customer. You catered to him and his family while they were there, all to avoid the blast you got from him on Yelp. You lost the gamble. Big deal. The vast majority of positive reviews on Yelp should have helped you either bite your tongue completely, or approach it with the same tact as you have other negative reviews. You couldn’t do that, because you took this case way to personal. At 25, you certainly have a lot of room and need to grow up – I hope your business and investments can survive that wait. You totally blew this bro…

  10. Teri Newman says:

    Maybe they didn’t like your food. No one bats1000, but the customer is always right and at 25 you aren’t ready to be in this business if you don’t know such a basic tenet.

  11. Oh-my Lumbago says:


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