The #1 restaurant that never existed
In November 2017, exclusive 'by appointment only' restaurant 'The Shed at Dulwich' hit #1 on TripAdvisor's top-rated London restaurants. It was a literal garden shed in suburban south-west London.
Writer Oobah Butler created a website with faked food photos and used paid-for reviews to build up the 'restaurant's' reputation.
As a freelance writer, restaurants paid Butler £10 for each restaurant review, despite never having eaten at the restaurant.
Suspecting TripAdvisor's rating system was flawed, Butler wanted to test the boundaries of TripAdvisor's review and rating system.
By claiming the restaurant was booked for weeks in advance, he'd created such a reputation for exclusivity that potential suppliers started asking to send free samples, and potential workers asked him about jobs.
Even a town council asked the restaurant to relocate to a redeveloping neighbourhood and a production company wanted to feature the restaurant on in-flight videos.
Image credits: Chris Bethel