This is a common scene around the CheapEats offices when we are doing the verification wave for a book. We call every restaurant that is in the final short list for the book to fact check. And boy do we have horror stories from this wave of book production!
(Yes, even after a contributor has eaten there and checked everything out; and we’ve done a “site inspection” to confirm consistent style and cleanliness ratings; and we’ve checked all the details though their website, we call very single restaurant right before we go to print! We’re a little uptight about facts being accurate.)
“Totally unhelpful” would be an understatement of how some of these calls go.
While it rarely makes it to the book, we often leave notes for each other about how helpful (or not) the people on the other end of the phone are. This one came from a restaurant which was, as noted, "totally unhelpful".