“An Unrivalled Delight”, “Best in Town”, “Fantastically weird!!”: these are a few of the glowing reviews left on London’s (former) top restaurant on TripAdvisor. The Shed At Dulwich is described on the official website as “An appointment-only restaurant located in South London, [it] has been operating privately for years. In 2017, it decided to open its doors.” However, only part of this is true.
Enter Oobah Butler - a 26 year old journalist from London. After spending time getting paid to review for various restaurants on TripAdvisor, he decided to try his hand at getting his own business to the top of the list – all without actually having one in the first place. “So I thought why don’t I just make a fake restaurant. This is just me on my own, I had no idea it was going to get to number one. Then I realised how easy it was to climb the rankings. Getting all these reviews, some from people I didn’t even know,” Butler states.
After hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls and skyrocketing to the top thanks to his friends and anonymous users, Oobah Butler decided it was finally time to open doors for a service. Filling the restaurant with a mix of friends as well as real guests, he prepared a “mood” based menu which consisted largely simple items found at Iceland.
While The Shed At Dulwich may no longer exist in its former glory, this young Englishman’s foray into fine dining has proven something: never underestimate the power of social media. Shoot for the stars, guys.