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Do You Trust Restaurant Review Sites Like Yelp?

Food 2012/12/10 13:37:13
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According to Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods and former chef, restaurant review sites like Yelp, Zagat, and Chow are for morons. In a recent podcast he slammed Yelp saying it “essentially gives a tremendous forum for a bunch of uninformed morons to take down restaurants.”


Time.com writer Josh Ozersky agrees to an extent. He wrote, “Defenders of Yelp and other crowdsourced review sites, such as Zagat, Chow and others, say that the range of reviewers — some morons, some not — at least gives a broad spectrum of opinion, which is more than you can say for a traditional restaurant critic. But in my experience, Zimmern is right: the reviews are, at best, wildly uneven. “

Ozersky does not advocate abandoning these sites altogether. Instead he suggests giving more weight to reviews that describe “believable descriptions of service lapses,” as well as specific descriptions of dishes, especially when they mention temperature and texture.

What about you SodaHeads? Do you trust restaurant review sites like Yelp?

Read More: http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/05/is-yelp-really-fo...

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Top Opinion

  • Lakota Deviant 2012/12/10 19:07:44 (edited)
    Yes
    Lakota Deviant
    +3
    But to an extent. Calling the general public morons is a bit harsh. I'm sure he thinks he knows what I'll like rather than hundreds of people... Yeah some people leave terrible reviews but it really gives u an idea what to expect and when multiple people say a dish is good, what to get. Sometimes hype gets the best of people and I'll feel underwhelmed by the actual restaurant compared to the reviews but using my own judgement and looking at multiple reviews it really is a great service. I found a lot of great places to eat I never would have found otherwise.

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  • Pronatalist Pronatalist 2013/04/30 22:19:56
    No
    Pronatalist Pronatalist
    Are the reviewers even customers, or people paid by the restaurant?

    Who can afford to eat out? Where are the jobs? We are still in The Great Obama Depression!

    great obama depression
  • phineasjalyper 2013/01/16 23:19:23
  • Gryffindor53 2012/12/12 15:29:19
    No
    Gryffindor53
    No. How often to do people feel the need to talk about good service in comparison to how often they feel the need to tell stories about bad service?
  • V~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2012/12/12 05:05:23
    No
    V~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    I have noticed derogatory reviews about restaurants that I know are good, and good reviews of restaurants that I know are bad.

    At least one of the major review sites got caught offering to "do something" about bad reviews if a restaurant paid for an upgraded presence on the site.

    Two of my favorite TV shows are "Kitchen Nightmares" and "Restaurant Impossible". The premise of both shows is that failing restaurants can be saved with a combination of cosmetic repairs and help from a star chef. Most of these places are failing because the food is dreadful. If you watch closely, many of these restaurants have "Zagat Rated" stickers on their front windows. I doubt those stickers are there because Zagat rated them poorly. And yet they are failing because everyone in the local area knows the food is awful.
  • Woof 2012/12/12 02:17:40
    No
    Woof
    I wouldn't say I trust or don't trust these sites. I have found good and not so good on yelp but it has been helpful. It told me of one in Seattle Wa. It's my favorite place to go when I want a place to talk with both good food & service. It's interior is great for chatting because its not so loud that you can't hear or so loud you must shout! Other places have been decent though not fabulous.
  • TimothyBrianFoley 2012/12/11 22:48:25
    No
    TimothyBrianFoley
    +1
    that's their opinion they like the restaurant you might not like it
  • ll 2012/12/11 22:45:40
    Yes
    ll
    yeah i do..
  • bootlegga 2012/12/11 22:44:26
    Yes
    bootlegga
    +2
    Yelp is a handy way to find out very quickly if a place is a dump, just okay or fantastic. All you have to do is look at the average score, which, for the most part, weeds out the fanboys and cranks.
  • Skar 2012/12/11 22:38:44
    Yes
    Skar
    +2
    They've been pretty accurate for me so far.
  • Duke----The Non Racist, Fun... 2012/12/11 21:33:01
    No
    Duke----The Non Racist, Funny Duke !
    +1
    No. And especially don't trust anyone holding a penis sandwich like that guy is and saying he give reviews and smiling like he is too
  • ART 2012/12/11 21:03:57
    No
    ART
    +1
    NO, BECAUSE THE FOOD NAZI'S DO NOT EAT WHAT I WOULD EAT
  • '90skid 2012/12/11 20:04:06
    Yes
    '90skid
    For the most part, yes. For example, if I see all five star reviews for a restaurant, and then one person gives them one star, I know that the person is either trying to stop people from going there by writing a nasty review, or there may be a slight chance that they had a bad experience.

    But, if I see all negative reviews, and then a postive review pops up, I know to stay away.

    Remember the saying, "Everyone's a critic."
  • Onew Sangtae 2012/12/11 19:07:42 (edited)
    No
    Onew Sangtae
    +2
    People can be... too finicky. I understand concerns about service, etc. but I usually don't agree with people when they say the food is terrible. In fact, there is a breakfast place in town where locals and my friends from out of town/state LOVE and never complain. Then, some random city folk on that website go and say it tastes bland or whatnot. "Not enough flavor". It baffles me. Use the provided seasoning if you really need flavor overkill. I take review places with a grain of salt. They CAN be useful, but it really depends.
  • AdriHead 2012/12/11 19:00:42
    Yes
    AdriHead
    +2
    for the most part...
  • Gone Away 2012/12/11 14:08:50
    No
    Gone Away
    +2
    Good Article! Very accurate!
  • mrdog 2012/12/11 12:31:14
    Yes
    mrdog
    +1
    But I never use them.... normally I ask locals where meal can be had...always seems to work out best that way.....bark
  • Matt P. 2012/12/11 12:04:52
    No
    Matt P.
    +1
    I usually can't afford to eat at restaurants that have reviews written about them.
  • realist 2012/12/11 10:28:33
    Yes
    realist
    +2
    They are better then critic reviews.

    Just read the comments and you'll quickly catch on who's making a big deal out of nothing and who has concerns that are worth taking note of.
  • Chris 2012/12/11 06:22:04 (edited)
    Yes
    Chris
    +1
    Not sure about Yelp specifically, but most businesses have real reviews, you can usually tell if the reviews are fake if there are a lot of extremely negative reviews with very positive reviews... then you might want to take them with a grain of salt. But if most of the reviews are positive then there is no reason to believe they are fake.

    But if you have a bad experience by all means let everyone know by positing a review on several review websites.
  • Goober Finchley 2012/12/11 04:46:33
  • Denzel 2012/12/11 02:18:02
    Yes
    Denzel
    +1
    I use google places.
  • Torchy 2012/12/11 01:48:23
    Yes
    Torchy
    Weed out the few obvious too-good and too-bad ones, and you'll find the truth. I'm on Yelp, and I do my very best to make sure people know what they're getting into ahead of time. The truth is that people are more apt to get online to complain as opposed to get online to praise, but I think there are places that simply do not like such sites because there are enough "uninformed morons" who are willing to say their mind. I've found many a good place thanks to Yelp; and I've been advised to go to several horrid places thanks to people like Zimmern. In the end, who does he think he is? He's nothing more than yet another food critic. Informed doesn't mean they share my taste, clearly. Some of the worst places I've ever eaten received 5 stars from critics.
  • lovemykiddos 2012/12/11 01:25:55
    Yes
    lovemykiddos
    only in the same way that I trust rottentomatoes as an indicator of how a movie will be. I can't say that I would be swayed for sure based upon these sites, however, if a place got tons of positive feedback it might sway me to try it.
  • sglmom 2012/12/11 00:42:15
    No
    sglmom
    +2
    NOT at all .. (period)

    and for those 'professional' guides too ..
    I've had the experience of going to what was highly rated by several sources (including national and international ones)
    and these were some of the WORST meals I've ever paid for ..
    (for example .. there's a highly rated Burger restaurant that has fries that have been touted as the best .. and BOTH the Burger and Fries were the WORST I've ever had .. just tossed out the items and went elsewhere to eat .. )
  • lmnlme10921 2012/12/11 00:00:07
    No
    lmnlme10921
    +1
    Since I have never used a restaurant review site, I am going off of my experience with movie and book review sites. Review are based off of personal opinion, and someone else's personal preferences will never completely match up with yours. Recently, I became president of my high school book club, and, to keep away from the dreaded public reviews, I found a personal reading blog of someone who reads a great variety on books and lists the pros and cons of each. I started emailing her for recommendations and have since found that it is better to get the verdict from someone with similar tastes to yours than to average the public's rating. To me, a friend would be of much more use when deciding where to eat than a dozen strangers who may or may not like the same food as you.
  • scbluesman13 2012/12/10 23:58:20
    No
    scbluesman13
    +1
    I trust certain friend's recommendations. Yelp is only helpful when it confirms how I already feel about a place I've already been to.
  • thewickedrobot 2012/12/10 20:19:38
    Yes
    thewickedrobot
    +1
    Well, if the general consensus about a place is that it isn't good, I won't go there. It doesn't even have to be a website. Even if a FAMILY member tells me that a restaurant is terrible, I won't go. Especially when I check reviews for places that I love and it is all positive for it, I will still trust the site.
  • pepper5419 2012/12/10 20:16:50
    Yes
    pepper5419
    Sure unless you hear stories like posting bribes for payola.
  • Lakota Deviant 2012/12/10 19:07:44 (edited)
    Yes
    Lakota Deviant
    +3
    But to an extent. Calling the general public morons is a bit harsh. I'm sure he thinks he knows what I'll like rather than hundreds of people... Yeah some people leave terrible reviews but it really gives u an idea what to expect and when multiple people say a dish is good, what to get. Sometimes hype gets the best of people and I'll feel underwhelmed by the actual restaurant compared to the reviews but using my own judgement and looking at multiple reviews it really is a great service. I found a lot of great places to eat I never would have found otherwise.
  • WWZ Captain 2012/12/10 18:55:15
    Yes
    WWZ Captain
    +1
    If it's full of all 5 stars or 1 star, that tells you something, now most times, the reviews ARE all over the place, 2 people say it's HEAVEN 2 more say it's HELL, at that point, just go eat where you want to, everybody will NEVER be pleased.
  • foxy 2012/12/10 18:51:15
    No
    foxy
    +2
    The only way to find out about a restaurant is go to it. I would not go to one recommended by a friend, did that once, they had changed the chef or whatever, food was half raw and half cold,worst meal ever and it was for my birthday.
  • 001 2012/12/10 17:11:28
    No
    001
    +2
    What's the point if everyone's got a completely different opinion? See, if ten people write a review and they all hate it, I probably won't go there to find out for myself. But if the reviews are indeed wildly uneven like Ozersky said, then there really is no point in even reading them.
  • Rob Clary 2012/12/10 17:08:06
    Yes
    Rob Clary
    +1
    I do not take it as gospel truth but a general guide.
    I see much more value in regular customer reviews. Typically, I do not eat out except at places owned by -personal friends.
  • Gloria 2012/12/10 16:35:40
    Yes
    Gloria
    +1
    Yes I do trust reviews on Yelp because you learn to read the reviewers better than the review. You can see some people are picky, bitchy, spoiled, not too smart etc. I love to read reviews on restaurants, services, and products. It helps to make better decisions and it's very entertaining.
    One thing about restaurant and bar reviews I like is if you had a bad experience you can look over the reviews to see if it was a one time deal or if the business is poorly run.
  • Kigan 2012/12/10 16:21:09
    No
    Kigan
    +1
    Here's the thing: People are FAR more likely to give a review after a negative experience than a positive one. So it gets easily unbalanced when people complain because their meal wasn't cooked just right. Never mind eating there 9 other times with fantastic service.

    I trust my own experience and that of people I know. These websites...too unreliable.
  • s2k 2012/12/10 15:22:11
    No
    s2k
    +1
    They've steered me wrong a few times
  • Avi Rosen 2012/12/10 15:19:27
    No
    Avi Rosen
    +2
    It's all for the money...
  • JohnT 2012/12/10 15:16:01
    No
    JohnT
    I could care less what critics say about restaurants, movie reviews or anything else. I think the world is a little tired of talking heads with their so called expertise.
  • smitty 2012/12/10 15:07:14
    No
    smitty
    +1
    Never...
  • QC 2012/12/10 14:40:04
    No
    QC
    +1
    Zagat's guides are great, but the crowd-rated portions are worthless....

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