As a former Yelper, I can honestly say, I'm scratching my head over why certain restaurateurs put so many eggs in the Yelp basket.

The appeal of this mostly-popular-among-Gen Y-user-generated-content site is two-fold, catering to innocent restaurant-goers seeking a quick online review of a certain eatery as well as those who want to open an account, jump in and become a part of the clicquish—often snarky, sometimes vulgar—culture that gives Yelp its intimidating reputation.

The influence of sites like Yelp are often underestimated, even by the likes of travel publishing mogul Arthur Frommer, who shamelessly criticized the site for its amateur writing and unnecessary venting. Of course, he was challenged by quite a few Yelpers, including one who cowardly went by the psuedonym Muffin Top or something like that, calling Mr. Frommer the most offensive of names while defending the "credibility" (my choice of words) of the reviewers.

In the realm of journalistic review, this past week, the San Francisco Business Times featured an article called "Restaurants Learn to Yelp," which talks about restaurateurs who respond to negative Yelp reviews through ass-kissing of its members and inviting dissatisfied patrons back for a new and improved visit.

"Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake fame tried to stave off negative reviews of her new restaurant Orson by inviting in top Yelpers, those who post the greatest number of reviews, for a private pre-opening party," the article states. And Faulker says she had a party for Yelpers and "they wrote a lot of cool things."

Hmm. Oh nothing. Just, hmm.

In my experience on Yelp, I discovered a lot of folks who bashed on professional food writers for their lack of integrity. Saying they provide the honesty because no one is handing them a free meal to write the review. But based on the article above, apparently this might not be so true anymore. Having worked on that side of the media desk, I can say, yes food writers can sometimes get preferential treatment. And yes, this might lead to embellishing the experience and cloud an honest review.

What's most interesting though, is how food bloggers, Yelpers and whoever else might be reviewing restaurants online are gaining recognition for their impact on consumer buying behavior, and therefore receiving this preferential treatment by restaurateurs and PR folks they were so quick to bash before.

In the same article referenced above, one eatery mentioned they had given free meals to anyone who posted a negative review, until word got around that Yelpers just need to bash the place to get a free meal ticket.

In a blog I posted earlier this year on the restaurant social networking site FohBoh, I talked about a former fellow Yelper who generated a buzz of a certain restaurant in Orange County. After it started becoming popular on Yelp, to the point of a group of them visiting the place for a couple of meals, the restaurant still shut down. In other words: Yelp was no help.

My guess is, and it's only a guess, is restaurateurs who give Yelp credence are doing so because if you Google any restaurant, and it's been reviewed on Yelp, no doubt this review will appear on page one of Google, and perhaps be No. 1. This is how I found out about Yelp. Of course, after clicking on the review, one is easily sucked into the numerous reviews, the humor, the caddiness and eventually the appeal that anyone—and I mean anyone—can be a food critic.

But if there's no review on Yelp, then there's no presence of Yelp on page one of Google, and more than likely not on page two or three for that matter. But other review sites might appear on page one, making Yelp not just the only game in town. Besides, think about what you look for in a review when you Google the restaurant. Chances are honesty, the date (how recent it is), price range and the summation of an experience are the key things. If so, any of the sites below can give you the same thing, although some without the large quantities of reviews but enough to give you an idea of the quality of food and service:

Chowhound

Trip Advisor

City Search

Urban Review

Boo Rah

Menu Network

Foodie View

Yahoo Travel

This is an original article previously posted on judythefoodie.com. References to this article are welcome with proper attribution.

Views: 3

Tags: arthur, business, chowhound, content, francisco, frommer, generated, restaurant, reviews, san, More…times, travel, user, yelp

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service