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Does anyone else hate the idea of Yelp and City search as much as I do?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is a bit of a rant, but mostly just curious on how other Chef/Owners are handling the amateur reviewers..

I'm just about to demand that City Search and Yelp remove my restaurant from they're web pages. Not because I have a bad rating, we have 4 1/2 stars on one and 4 stars on the other, but because of the quality of writing. I really believe that restaurant critiquing should be left to those who KNOW WHAT THE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
I know, I'm complaining about free press, (unless you are actually paying them) -but if I have to read another review that says "They don't even have spaghetti and meat balls, I thought this was an Italian place" I think I might send my cleaver through my computer monitor. Even the good reviews are vague and pointless. I just don't think people appreciate that with great power comes great responsibility. They think nothing of flaming your restaurant based totally on they're biased opinions, or maybe they found one of our waitress/waiters a little short due to the fact that they didn't have a reservation and pestered us until we squeezed them into a section that was that was already slammed, on a friday night at 8:30?!!??
Really!? Or how about the blatantly fake good reviews that bad restaurants get, reading them you can tell it's just they're family and friends.
Even though the good reviews far out way the bad, I just would rather due without these internet reviews,
Can't we just leave it to the Pros?
thanks
mike
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #2 of 25
no....the reason being... i dont understand whatever the heck those "pros" are on about...

ok sometimes things like "they dont even have sweetcorn" which i hear an awful lot btw i dunno what it is about sweetcorn but w/e are annoying, but beyond that... thats exactly what i want to know

if im going to an italian place and i happen to read that they dont have spaghetti and meatballs, i might think "hmm i really did have a hankering for spaghetti and meatballs, perhaps i shall go elsewhere" (though wheat intolerance means i will not eat the pasta)

also i give restaurants the benefit of the doubt... i can see from a bad review, what to expect... it may mean i rethink just turning up and make a reservation, it may mean i take extra cash because its "expensive" and i dont want to get caught out.

these are the views that are important... and anyway... if youve got 4 1/2 stars... STOP COMPLAINING! i just got a critics review of my place... utter rubbish... it goes on about things that arent important (although it was a good review non the less) i still didnt like it, and thats a PROFESSIONAL review... i prefer the others
post #3 of 25
It is my belief that most are posted by the employees -good or ex-employees--bad.

Who cares really, I go to a place because I want to try it myself.
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post #4 of 25
I have to disagree, because I love Yelp.
After reading many of the reviews, it is very easy to spot the disgruntled customers and those with unrealistic expectations.

Yelp was especially helpful to me when I first moved to Las Vegas. When a little dive in Chinatown gets close to 80 positive reviews, I know it is worth checking out. Yes, there are some reviews that are clearly posted by employees or such, but these become easy to spot. I think Yelp is a great help to some of the smaller restaurants in this city that don't have much of an advertising budget. The local paper does not have a good food section and tourists are hit with all kinds of hotel "dining guides". Yelp is an alternative that allows people to get more details on the place they are going. I not only love to post a review when I find a great new restaurant, I also enjoy reading the reviews for the restaurant I work in. When the reviewer is very specific about their dining experience, I will even print it out and share it with staff.
post #5 of 25
Mike, just out of curiousity, would you define "pro" for me in this context?
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post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
As I suspected, no one else feels quite the same about this topic as I do.
In this "information age" does anyone stop to think about all the misinformation.

When I use the term "pro" I simply mean the people who have spent the time and done the research to ad creditability to the topics they write about.
I guess I'd rather get a bad review from someone who knows food and dinning, than a good review from a philistine.
I strive everyday to become better at my work, not for the critics but for myself. Bad reviews always have an element of truth to them, something we've missed or overlooked (even if its our choice of employees) -we can always learn something from them. Good reviews are just a pat on the back, and lets face it, We are Chefs! -we have no problem patting our own backs.
-ciao
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post #7 of 25
I use these review sites as a marketing tool on my website, I have a "reviews" page with links to the sites giving us reviews. I have found it pulls in a lot of business..........and it makes me feel good to read em! :blush:
post #8 of 25
I too disagree. Just like Yelp & City Search I also refer Boorah.com for restaurant reviews.
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post #9 of 25
I strongly disagree with the notion that a person needs to know a lot about food to know what good food is.

It's a free method of marketing for your restaurant. People who see it will, probably, know to take reviews (good and bad) with a grain of salt.

You'd rather get a good review from a pro than a philistine? Can't someone not be a food writer and still have an educated palate? Aren't we, as chefs, cooking for mostly people who aren't food writers? So isn't their feedback, in turn, the most important?
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just because someone can type, has an educated palate and access to a computer, doesn't mean they should decided they are a restaurant reviewer.

And yes, as Chefs we are chiefly cooking for people who are not food writers, when those people go to the web to research your restaurant shouldn't they have information that is creditable and well reasoned?

Are all of you implying that EVERY customer review is on point and should be read by others? Really?

Maybe we should return the favor, and post what we have to say about our customers? I'm sure everything our cooks and waitstaff mutter is factual and appropriate.

-ciao
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post #11 of 25
They may not be a restaurant reviewer in a formal sense, but they have eaten at your restaurant and have formed an opinion of the food and the service. As such they have the right to make their opinion known.

Whether the information is credible or well reasoned or not, is for the reader to ascertain. I agree with the others that it is fairly easy to pick out the "reviews" that are not well reasoned. Things like, Its an Italian restaurant and they don't even have spaghetti and meatballs. Even a TV character like Homer Simpson would discard that comment or one remotely similar.

Its all very simialr to the recipe reviews that can be found on places like allrecipes.com etc, etc. When you read the comments by people who have apparently made dish it often times becomes apparent who knows what they are talking about and who would be better off skipping cooking or baking and heading out to a fast food chain to quell their hunger.

No matter what you do; you will never be able to make every customer 100% happy if you are in business long enough.
post #12 of 25
Why not?

If the people we are trying to draw into the folds of our business; the people we are trying to feed, have a comment to say about our restaurant why isn't it valid? Are we taking umbrage at the people who have criticisms that are invalid? Or people who just post reviews to stroke their own ego by being able to point out trivial flaws?

If someone can type and has an educated palate then I feel they DEFINITELY have the ability to review restaurants. My only gripe with community-driven (web 2.0 to toss a buzzword around) restaurant reviews are the people who don't care about food and do care about espousing baseless opinions. But I don't think this hurts business at all, and otherwise the empowerment of our consumers can only be a marketing tool and a learning tool for us, the restaurateurs. And if someone is sad you don't have spaghetti and meatballs (for real, which I doubt) then maybe you could create some whimsied tribute to the old favorite and gain a loyal customer through sense of ownership.

This is pretty longwinded but I'm just saying that these websites can be a valuable tool if you see them in their own right. The high regard held for professional food writers is slipping, and people are realizing that they shouldn't be admonished or disregarded for their tastes. If you want ranch dressing on your porterhouse then ask for it - no eyerolls or long sighs can make you wrong for liking what you like. It's condescending to think their opinions aren't worthy - and even more so to think that readers of these sites can't browse reviews with a modicum of critical thinking.

(soapbox over, etc.)
post #13 of 25

My fiend (Restaurent owner) wrote them and asked to be removed from their site (Yelp) but apparently they wont....strangely if you advertise with them ($300 per week) you can have more control over the negative reviews....im not going to waste my time with them anymore..its all just a game to get your advertising $$

 

This can't be right! Looking for more people to to get off the damn thing...

post #14 of 25

To the original poster:

Look, 20, even 5 years ago we didn't have social media.  It was all word of mouth. And I've been there, heard from a friend of a friend at my kid's soccer practice  that my Cafe served O.K. coffee but too expensive, that the soup was good, but the decor was lousy. You can't stop people from talking, you can't control it.

 

My humble opinion as a business owner?  Yelp, etc are just businesses, there to make money.  Content is free, for that they rely on individuals to write content free of charge--but they hit up the business for advertising.  I've been there, had customers rave about my food and service, write up a glowing review only to have it taken down in a matter of hours by the site. Why?  Because I don't deserve a rave review if I don't advertise with them. Hey, it's their site, they can do whatever they like.  And then there's the bloggers, good ratings attract them like flies to--ah, well whatever.  They get jealous.  If my place gets consistant 4-5 star ratings, they want a piece of the action: A freebie to write up a good review, or failing that, an opportunity to write a lousy blog about my place  to boost thier ratings.

 

Yes, I hear you about uneducated people writing about stuff they have no idea about.  I've had blogs complain about the fact that my hot chocoale is made with steamed milk and real, couverture chocolate:  It's too expensive and doesn't taste like Swiss Miss or Carnation, that my lemon curd tart tastes "different" and that it has shreds of lemon peel in it.  It's so patheitic it's funny.  And that's all I can do, laugh.

 

For the most part, I leave the sites and blogs alone, don't read them, don't advertise with them, and e-mails from them automatically go into my delete file.  Is this right?  Is this wrong?  Dunno, it's how I do business, I focus on the customoer who walks in my door.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #15 of 25

I'm pretty sure advertising with yelp does not effect negative posts.

I luv the new technology. If you personalize customer needs and stand behind your product your reviews will be good.

Readers are usually not dumb. If you get a favorable review that is personal and satisfying, the reader will usually censor the idiots.

I want to say that yelp has probably doubled our business every year for the last six years. That is huge! We never ask for reviews.

We have never paid a dime for advertising. We receive window stickers and wooden plaques from yelp from the readers.

As for professional food reviewers, I put my sneakers on and run!!!!!! Here they feel that they have to be critical to be good.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #16 of 25

I don't think one must know how to write well in order to effectively express his or her opinion of a restaurant.

 

In fact whenever I read the reviews of a so-called professionals, those who write for entities with wide print or electronic audiences for income, I often have the nagging suspicion that they are either elitists, or else settling grudges.   Or perhaps giving effusive review of their cronies, while dissing the  competition..  I would sooner trust a non-professional's word than a pro, no matter how poorly it was written .  JMHO

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyGal View Post

I don't think one must know how to write well in order to effectively express his or her opinion of a restaurant.

 

In fact whenever I read the reviews of a so-called professionals, those who write for entities with wide print or electronic audiences for income, I often have the nagging suspicion that they are either elitists, or else settling grudges.   Or perhaps giving effusive review of their cronies, while dissing the  competition..  I would sooner trust a non-professional's word than a pro, no matter how poorly it was written .  JMHO


Ehh--no.  The non-pros have grudges to settle too, trust me on that.

 

How do you define "poorly written?

Bad spelling, sentence structure and rambling content?

 

Say I wrote about you on social media and commented in a positive way on your wardrobe.  How seriously can you take me if I confuse a blouse with a tank top, or a skirt with a full length dress?  It's embarassing.
 

 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #18 of 25


While it might reveal ignorance, that is a good thing.  One can easily discard the review and look to other, more knowledgeable ones.  But with the for-profit reviews, you have no idea of the motivation behind them.  Perhaps they are reviewing their editor's friend's restaurant.   Or some of the other motivations I've already mentioned.   Of course these same motivations can be operating on the anybody-can-post sites.  But I have discovered people are not likely to vent (without saying so) on them.  

 

One thing, that confuses me, though is how many people think service is bad.   I keep seeing a high percent of reviews harping on that, among restaurants I have visited where I thought the service was just fine.  Not extraordinary, but fine.   I wonder what kind of standards those people use for comparison.

 

I suppose my biggest beef with for-profit reviews is that they seem to be trying to adhere to some mythic standard, that few others would agree with.  If one is reviewing a restaurant who makes no bones about wanting to attract people with extremely sophisticated palates, then so be it.  But writing for a general audience and then insisting that "only the finest" and most sophisticated fare will do is not consistent.  Most people only care that food is fresh, tastes good and is something they probably cannot do as well at home.  They aren't aspiring to any great sophistication and resent people implying they should.  JMHO.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

 

Say I wrote about you on social media and commented in a positive way on your wardrobe.  How seriously can you take me if I confuse a blouse with a tank top, or a skirt with a full length dress?  It's embarassing.
 

 



 

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by buonaboy View Post

I really believe that restaurant critiquing should be left to those who KNOW WHAT THE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
Even the good reviews are vague and pointless.
They think nothing of flaming your restaurant based totally on they're biased opinions, or maybe they found one of our waitress/waiters a little short due to the fact that they didn't have a reservation and pestered us until we squeezed them into a section that was that was already slammed, on a friday night at 8:30?!!?? Really!?


This.

 

But let me play devil's advocate, if you will...

 

I'm the customer and I'm always right and you don't know how to run a restaurant but if you don't listen to me and do what I tell you to do your restaurant will never make it and I had a bad day and me and my BF are arguing and that server is a bitch and there's not enough ice in my water glass, hello!!!? I NEED MORE I-C-E..?  What is this a third world country? and when I asked them for no onions in my quiche the server snarled and made me feel dumb which is mean because I have low self esteem but writing these reviews makes me feel like someone cares about my opinions (see? two ppl think my review was "funny"!!1  see?  I'm funny!!  LOL) and  I WILL NEVER GO THERE and I'm going to tell all my friends not to I will single-handedly make them close their doors.  because I'm bored.  and I'm full of hate. and I think my opinion matters.

 

That's a bit mean, and before someone says "you got a lot to learn about customer service, L4B", let me just say that it's a rant.

I can't rant IRL, so ...

take it with a spoonful of sugar or a grain of salt, chef's choice.

 

 

post #20 of 25

In my little corner of the world, there is a fine dining restaurant that I begrudgingly acknowledge is solid at what they do, on yelp they get 4 stars. Denny's also gets 4 stars. I checked out some of the profiles and other reviews by posters and found one person that either gives 5 stars or 1 star. Another one gave the fine dining restaurant in my area 5 stars and gave Chez Panisse 3 stars. Sorry, but I have eaten at both and there is no comparison. They should have reversed the ratings.

 

There are no logical parameters by which to form an opinion of a restaurant's quality judged solely by Yelp reviews. The reviews are all over the place. For the most part. It seems all you have to do is be open for business and you get 4 stars.

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post #21 of 25

Left4bread,

 

What?  you get those kind of __________________ in Seattle too?

smiles.gif

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to check my status on F.B. and tweet everyone about how rude you are....

 

Social media?

 

It's just one big effin girl's locker room conversation, o.k.?

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #22 of 25

I saw this article yesterday and instantly thought of this thread, so I thought I would share.

It is titled, " Yelp Review Problems: Top 9 Reasons You Can't Always Trust the Review Site"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/28/yelp-reviews_n_985513.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003#s377376&title=Yelp_Calls_Lying

 

post #23 of 25
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Left4bread,

 

What?  you get those kind of __________________ in Seattle too?

smiles.gif

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to check my status on F.B. and tweet everyone about how rude you are....

 

Social media?

 

It's just one big effin girl's locker room conversation, o.k.?

 

Seriously...

 

The anonymity is the problem, I think. 

I can't believe the things that people say sometimes (as in... didn't your mama teach you better?)

 

Also, I can't believe the things people say sometimes (as in... didn't you take a creative writing class?)

 

*sigh*  damn kids with their hoola hoops and unwarranted sense of self-importance... 

 

 

 

post #25 of 25

Maggie,

 

Read the link, kinda lukewarm and not much meat to it.

 

However at that link there were links to other articles, and  the article from the Boston paper caught my eye, something about how to deal negative impact.  Clearly the journalist had no experience running a business, but inspite of this had one or two good suggestions, i.e. leaving a comment form on your website for unhappy people to vent before they go public. But the journalist always assumes that the business owner is at fault, and the one suggestion that made me see red was to compensate the customer.

 

Bad idea.  Of course in cases where the business owner is clearly at fault, compensation goes without saying.  But the blogger who didn't get seated immediately? The red headed or blonde blogger who finds hair in their food in an "ethnic" (where everyone has black hair, O.K?) restaurant and the hair isn't black? True, there was hair in thier food, just like a broken clock tells time accurately twice a day, problem is, it was their own hair.  Blog away!  

 

Don't reward 'em for complaining..... 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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