How much do you rely on restaurant reviews.

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Sundancer7
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2011/08/09 18:10:26 (permalink)

How much do you rely on restaurant reviews.

Personally, I try to research every restaurant I visit.  It is sorta strange that I find that some reviews are filled with bogus reports.  Some highly negative and some highly positive.  I guess I find them sorta loaded in both directions.
 
I recently read some reviews of one of your Roadfooders place that was highly negative.  I found it hard to believe because of the positive reviews received by roadfooders attendance.
 
Do you rely on reviews.  I sorta guess that I do but I have to understand the source.
 
Thanks
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#1

24 Replies Related Threads

    mar52
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/09 19:48:55 (permalink)
    I read reviews from a few different places just to get an idea of what is served.
     
    If the food is good, slow service isn't a factor to me as sometimes it takes time to make good food to order.
     
    Then there's the fact that we all have different tastes.
     
    Review are just guides.
    #2
    felix4067
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/09 22:11:32 (permalink)
    Actual reviews? Never read them. Word of mouth recommendations from actual people I know, or who I've met online? Absolutely.
    #3
    Foodbme
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/09 23:50:37 (permalink)
    Depends on the Number of reviews. If there's only a few reviews of a place I tend to ignore them because they're usually "loaded". If there's a good cross section and decent number of reviews, I generally give them more validity.
    If a reviewer has only 1 review to his credit, I ignore it. 
    I generally give credibility to reviews by newspaper/magazine food critics and other food writers.
    If you go to sites like Urbanspoon and a reviewer has done reviews of other places, I'll generally look at those to see if they use fairness in their other reviews.
    A bad review by a credible writer usually is a Kiss of Death for a restaurant.
    post edited by Foodbme - 2011/08/09 23:54:07
    #4
    Glenn1234
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 00:12:53 (permalink)
     
    I look at the what the reviewer says,...what is behind the rating, ..... rather than the actual numerical rating that the reviewer gives.   
        For examle, a reviewer might give  a hamburger a bad rating because the reviewer says the burger was "too thin".  Well, I happen to prefer the thin style burgers (Five Guys, Shake Shack, etc.) , so that's a case where I'll ignore the reviewer's numercal rating ..... But, the review is still helpful to me.   It tells me that place makes the type of burgers that I might like, despite the reviewer not liking it. 
     
    Another example is decor.   A classic Roadfood "joint" with lots of "character" might be downgraded by a snooty reviewer, saying it's decor is "dated"....  But, it might get bonus points in my book for keeping those classic wooden tables from the 1950s.  
     
    It's all about what's behind the ratings, rather than the ratings themselves.
     
     
    Glenn
     
     
    #5
    Davydd
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 09:55:14 (permalink)
    I'm an adventurer. I have my favorites like everyone in areas I frequent at home and travel, but mostly when I travel I will just go by instinct, a full parking lot (mostly breakfast), or something just interesting looking by name, location and appearance. Usually I drive the back roads off the freeways and drive into the center of small towns in seeking restaurants. Word of mouth or mentions on Roadfood.com might bend my itinerary a tad.
    #6
    chewingthefat
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 11:18:58 (permalink)
    Let me guess the place....negative reviews can come from a place that puts out crappy food and has crappy service. That said negative reviews are frequently a construct of fired employees and their friends, the competition, and customers who try to hijack you for freebies, to no avail. This past week I had a customer send back their collards, furious that there was vinegar in them, a common part of many collard recipes, she also sent back her mashed potatoes and gravy, said they tasted like canned gravy and instant mashed potatoes, they are not, all made here from scratch, she also sent back her fresh squeezed lemonade, said it tasted like lemon juice you buy, wrong again. In 10 years I've never had any of those sent back before. She said, she felt she was owed a free dessert, I told her to leave, she said she was going to tell all her friends and post on the Internet, I told her to KMA, I don't care about idiot opinions on the Internet. This type of hijacking attempts is not all that uncommon!
    #7
    fishtaco
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 14:28:58 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    Let me guess the place....negative reviews can come from a place that puts out crappy food and has crappy service. That said negative reviews are frequently a construct of fired employees and their friends, the competition, and customers who try to hijack you for freebies, to no avail. This past week I had a customer send back their collards, furious that there was vinegar in them, a common part of many collard recipes, she also sent back her mashed potatoes and gravy, said they tasted like canned gravy and instant mashed potatoes, they are not, all made here from scratch, she also sent back her fresh squeezed lemonade, said it tasted like lemon juice you buy, wrong again. In 10 years I've never had any of those sent back before. She said, she felt she was owed a free dessert, I told her to leave, she said she was going to tell all her friends and post on the Internet, I told her to KMA, I don't care about idiot opinions on the Internet. This type of hijacking attempts is not all that uncommon!

     
    So, so, so true. I some at times have thought that people need a "license" to go out and and eat.

    #8
    CajunKing
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 15:05:47 (permalink)
    I some times like to look at reviews of places when I travel.
     
    I look mainly for a cross section and the age of the reviews also.
    If something hasnt been reviewed recently then I might tend to lean towards not going.
     
    But, I am also like davydd
     
    If on the road and a place is PACKED there is usually a good reason for it to be, especially breakfast time.
    #9
    dimmie2
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/10 20:00:06 (permalink)
    I read a few every now and then but I usually don't rely on someone's opinion on what's good or bad.
    #10
    carlton pierre
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/11 08:21:09 (permalink)
    I like the local restaurant reviewer in the Knoxville paper, Paul.  The Grub Sprout writes reviews that are helpful, and I'm always looking for a new place in town to try out.
    Other than that, I usually prefer to try a place myself and make my own opinion.
    #11
    NascarDad
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2011/08/17 18:37:42 (permalink)
    I live on them if I am dining somewhere new.  I dine out so rarely on average that it is important I get it right.
     
    But you have to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak, and the shill reviews pro/con (I know a place in Williamsburg that just has to be paying people to review positively on TripAdvisor, or make them up themselves, plus also negatively review a much better steak joint in town - I know because I have eaten at both multiple times )
     
    The 1 review folks are usually either a shill or someone with a bug in rearend. I usually weight the comments more than the number grade. 
    #12
    Treetop Tom
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 10:04:11 (permalink)
    "She said, she felt she was owed a free dessert, I told her to leave, she said she was going to tell all her friends and post on the Internet, I told her to KMA, I don't care about idiot opinions on the Internet. This type of hijacking attempts is not all that uncommon!"
     
    Of course, this works both ways.  It's just as easy for a restaurant owner to try and pad his ratings by adding bogus five-star reviews.  When I see a restaurant that has had 16 of their reviews filtered out on Yelp I gotta figure the fix is on.  1 or 2 maybe, but 16?  Please.  Especially when your experience there was a one-star at best.
    #13
    fattybomatty
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 10:20:01 (permalink)
    I find yelp to be an invaluable tool, especially when trying to decide where to eat in nyc. I usually skip the positive reviews and read the negative ones. I want to see if the negative reviews are valid or if it is someone who is just a pain in the a**. I also write reviews on there for places that I have been.

    Outside of cities I don't use yelp. I either go by roadfood recommendations, word of mouth or the amount of cars in the parking lot.
    #14
    wanderingjew
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 10:32:21 (permalink)
    I've found yelp and urbanspoon to be very valuable. The key is - reviews in volume- if someone only posts one review and either praises or slams a place - you then know that review is a sham. Also preferences are very important. A reviewer who prefers  and praises "hip and trendy" or ethnic may slam a more traditional regional restaurant (ie Durgin Park)   as "old" "outdated" or "bland"
     
    I always find Roadfood to be of very high value, if the reviews come from either the Sterns or
    from a few select roadfooders  whose opinions I trust.
    #15
    kland01s
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 11:00:11 (permalink)
    I do a mix of things. I always Google a place by name first, mostly to see where it is on a map and then if there are reviews associated with the search, I will read them. Here in the Chicago area we have an excellent forum called lthforum.com that I've been involved with for many years now. I having gotten to know the participants, I absolutely trust their reviews. I have found though, NOT to trust the recommendations of friends! All of my friends are bland eaters while my partner and I seek out taste, spice, flavor and enjoy ethnic restaurants as well as a good  steak or burger. 
    #16
    rumaki
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 11:32:31 (permalink)
    Like WJ, I check a variety of sources.  I travel a lot on business, but often don't have a car, so I usually am concentrating on places near wherever I'm working/staying/attending a convention -- which is often "downtown."
     
    I  always come to this site first, and check the restaurant listings as well as search for relevant threads. I'll post a query, too, and that's usually very helpful -- as was the case went I went to St. Louis last August.  But I also look at online reviews, seeking some sort of critical mass of thumbs up or down -- there will always be naysayers, trolls and self-promotion.  And I like to check out alternative newspapers' restaurant reviews, either online or once I get to town -- the San Diego Reader, NUVO in Indianapolis, New Times in Phoenix, etc.  They aren't infallible, but they've pointed me toward some good options. 
    #17
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 11:49:21 (permalink)
    It all depends on the reviewer. There are some reviewers to whom I will pay a great deal of attention; who will possibly cause me to go to a restaurant to try a well-recommended dish. But in mosts cases I read reviews for ideas. Of course there are some reviewers whose work is abominable, who prove with each review how little they know about food and food preparation.
    #18
    chewingthefat
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 11:56:45 (permalink)
    Yelp is a joke, I had all 4-5 star ratings, got a call from Yelp asking if I wanted to advertise there, I told them no. Immediately, the good reviews disappeared, and ridiculous, negative ones showed up. Many people have told me their positive reviews disappeared. Yelp claims to use an algorhithm[sp?] to detect phony reviews, I don't believe it works particularly well. I have been keeping a book for people to sign and comment, I'm on book #8, 1 super negative comment in over 10 years, the rest, super positive.
    #19
    wanderingjew
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 12:33:03 (permalink)

    The reason why I find yelp and urbanspoon to be EXTREMELY RELIABLE is that Yelpers are REAL people, they're not hired by Yelp to review restaurants . Again, reviews in numbers are the key in determing if a yelp review is real or a sham.

     
    #20
    ces1948
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 12:33:55 (permalink)
    I've only reviewed a few places on Yelp. My reviews weren't a sham and were based on my opinion of the food and service. If you didn't read what I had to say strictly based on my number of reviews then you may have missed out.
    But I do agree about there being a lot of over the top stuff on these sites. Sort of fits in though with most of the stuff on the Internet.
    #21
    wanderingjew
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 12:40:43 (permalink)
     
     
    ces1948

    I've only reviewed a few places on Yelp. My reviews weren't a sham and were based on my opinion of the food and service. If you didn't read what I had to say strictly based on my number of reviews then you may have missed out.
    But I do agree about there being a lot of over the top stuff on these sites. Sort of fits in though with most of the stuff on the Internet.

     
    But someone is insinuating that you were hired by Yelp to post negative reviews because  that particular someone may have declined to advertise with Yelp
    #22
    chewingthefat
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 12:45:40 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

     

    ces1948

    I've only reviewed a few places on Yelp. My reviews weren't a sham and were based on my opinion of the food and service. If you didn't read what I had to say strictly based on my number of reviews then you may have missed out.
    But I do agree about there being a lot of over the top stuff on these sites. Sort of fits in though with most of the stuff on the Internet.


    But someone is insinuating that you were hired by Yelp to post negative reviews because  that particular someone may have declined to advertise with Yelp


    Ces, your last 2 lines are indicative of the above post.
    #23
    chewingthefat
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 12:48:57 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    The reason why I find yelp and urbanspoon to be EXTREMELY RELIABLE is that Yelpers are REAL people, they're not hired by Yelp to review restaurants . Again, reviews in numbers are the key in determing if a yelp review is real or a sham.



    " Yelpers" LOL! Your hilighting certain words really gives gravitas to your post...not! LOL!
    #24
    ann peeples
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    Re:How much do you rely on restaurant reviews. 2012/01/17 14:23:53 (permalink)
    I havent read a review in years, seriously. I rely on you people.
    #25
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