A Dallas catering company is facing harassment from locals after being mistaken for another eatery reviewed by TikTok content creator Keith Lee.
Lee posted a Tiktok video on February 1 of his visit to the Sweetly Seasoned food truck in Dallas in which he reviewed the eatery’s food. He also noted in the video that workers nearby were giving haircuts and doing braids for customers.
In addition to providing a favorable review, Lee asked the food truck vendor to charge a $4,000 tip to his credit card, explaining that it was meant to be distributed among those working there. He specified that $2,000 was a tip for the vendor, $1,000 was for the barber, and another $1,000 was for the braider.
The owner of the eatery has since come under fire for supposedly pocketing the entirety of the $4,000 tip, with multiple users on the platform expressing disapproval of the business owner, noting that Lee had been specific in how the money was meant to be divided.
Lee has since posted another video clarifying the situation, explaining that it made the most sense at the time to give the tip via the point of sale system for the food vendor, rather than trying to tip the three different service workers individually. Lee also alleged that the son of the food truck owner had “intentionally misconstrued” Lee’s instructions for the tip in a video response on TikTok, arguing that Lee told his mother to distribute the money as she saw fit.
Another Dallas eatery with a similar name has also been caught in the wake of the debacle.
Seasoned Street Food, a local catering company, has reported receiving angry calls from citizens and negative reviews from those confusing them with Sweetly Seasoned. Jonathan Evola, owner of the business alongside his wife Aimee, told The Dallas Morning News that he had received one such call at 6 a.m. on February 2, in which he was berated for misappropriating the tip.
Evola told the caller he was unaware of what the customer was yelling at him for.
“Don’t play dumb with me. You know what I’m talking about,” the customer said shortly before hanging up, per DMN.
Evola reported receiving over 60 phone calls and multiple one-star reviews on rating websites demanding that he distribute the tip (which he knew nothing about), as well as many more with no context. Aimee Evola, who follows Lee on TikTok, eventually realized that their company was being confused with Sweetly Seasoned.
Evola is concerned about how these mistaken reviews and comments will negatively affect the business.
“We live and die by our reviews, and a one-star review is really damaging,” said Jonathan Evola, per DMN. “Someone who might want us to cater their wedding, if they see negative reviews for us, they won’t consider hiring us. I know I wouldn’t.”
The Evolas have since attempted to contact Lee to inform him of his followers’ misdirected ire and Google to have the false reviews removed. However, they have reportedly received no response from Lee and were informed by Google that the process would take time.
Aimee Evola said they do not hold Lee himself responsible for the negativity, and they just hope people will be more careful before leaving such reviews.
The Evolas are now considering changing the name of their business.
“It would be a huge loss. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the time. We’ve spent so much time on branding and developing a clientele base,” said Jonothan Evola, according to DMN.
Sweetly Seasoned has since apologized for the incident, claiming it was a “huge miscommunication.” The business owner stated that the money is being disbursed to the intended recipients.