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:


Trip Advisor

City Search

Urban Review

Boo Rah

Menu Network

Foodie View

Yahoo Travel

This is an original article previously posted on 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


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

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


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

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


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: 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.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service