Are Restaurant Reviews Reliable?
There are numerous restaurant review websites online today, including Urbanspoon and Yelp. These sites allow customers to provide reviews on restaurants that they’ve visited, and customers are free to say whatever is on their mind, including both good and bad experiences.
Many people use these sites to determine where to eat. Aside from finding out restaurants in their area, people read the reviews from other customers to determine if the place is worth visiting. If a customer sees that a restaurant has an onslaught of great reviews, it may incline them to visit the restaurant and see what all the rave was about. On the other hand, if a customer sees a large amount of negative reviews, it may sway them from visiting the restaurant.
The problem with review sites is that while they provide accurate information about the restaurant, such as location, cuisine, pricing, menu and special amenities, the reviews cannot always be trusted.
People have different expectations
With so many restaurants on the market today, each one has to work hard to create its own identity. They have to determine their cuisine, style and amenities, but they also have to know they’re not going to please everyone.
A restaurant with karaoke isn’t going to attract customers who don’t like karaoke. Because of this, though, reviews on the restaurant are going to vary significantly because not everyone has the same expectation in mind. A customer who loves karaoke is going to rave about the great experience and atmosphere of the restaurant while a customer who hates karaoke is going to brag about how awful, loud and annoying it was.
This is also based on service. Some people are more lenient about the service they receive while others demand constant attention. Depending on which customer is writing a review determines if it’s a positive or negative one. If a customer who accepts normal service sees bad reviews because everyone who wrote them demanded more attention from their server, these customers may not visit the establishment even though they would have a perfectly fine experience.
People have different tastes
Most people rate their restaurant reviews based on the cuisine. The problem with this is that one person’s taste in food differs from that of someone else. Customer A may think the tomato soup was excellent while Customer B thinks it was too bland. Since everyone has different taste buds, people are going to argue about the flavor, taste and style of the cuisine, which will make the reviews inaccurate.
Many reviews are fake
While you’d like to think that you are visiting customer review sites and receiving real reviews from real customers, there’s a big chance that you’re not. Some restaurants bribe employees or customers to write great reviews for them. On the other hand, many restaurants are creating fake identities and writing negative reviews about their competition in hopes that it makes their restaurant stand out. No matter which type of fake review is being written, they are both dishonest and immoral, and if caught, fake review writers can be legally punished.
Most review sites contain spam
Spammers have learned that a great way to reach a wide audience is to spam review sites. Smart spammers will create a fake review, and in the review, provide a link back to a different, and oftentimes irrelevant, website. This is known as back linking, which is a negative form of SEO that spammers use to drive traffic to their website. If you see a review with a link, it’s spam.
So before you use restaurant review sites to read what people have to say about it, you may want to think twice about the information you’re receiving. Use these sites to find out hours, prices, location and cuisine, but don’t pay attention to the reviews. Instead, try it out for yourself and determine if it’s worth a future visit or if you should cross it off your list. This is the best way to get an accurate review.