Why You Shouldn't Trust Yelp
Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:51 AM
It is the bloggers--or a certain type of blogger, that I have a beef with, and I have found a way to deal with them, uh..."diplomatically". Anyone who wants to come in and eat at my place and tell anyone about it, is a "customer", those who don't want to pay for it are not.
Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:21 AM
This cuts both ways, because restaurants often also want to be written about in web logs. Restaurants frequently contact my wife, who writes a food web log, to review their restaurants with a comped meal. She has accepted in some cases (though of course indicating that the meal was comped in her review), but it can create some awkward situations, especially when the restaurant's owner or a PR person stays with you the whole meal talking your ear off. For the most part, she'd rather pay for her meals, and not have to deal with that kind of thing.
-I study their blogs. Not once have I seen a caveat or word about "sponsored" blogs, the impression is that all these blogs are written without any compensation. So I write back to the blogger and say I would be delighted to have them in my place. However, as I am compensating a free meal, I must insist on having a caveat in their blog/rating that this blog was partialy sponsored by "X", the name of my establishment. No one has taken me up on this offer.............
I don't have a lot of respect for food writers (in whatever kind of media) who accept comped meals from a restaurant but don't indicate it. However, this kind of situation happens for some of the lower budget traditional media as well, when the paper can't, or won't, pay for the meals -- its reviewers are forced to hustle to get comped meals, and of course any semblance of anonymity is gone.
Edited by Will, 24 August 2011 - 09:23 AM.
Posted 24 August 2011 - 11:09 AM
Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA
My eGullet Foodblog
Posted 24 August 2011 - 11:48 AM
I don't have a lot of respect for food writers (in whatever kind of media) who accept comped meals from a restaurant but don't indicate it. However, this kind of situation happens for some of the lower budget traditional media as well, when the paper can't, or won't, pay for the meals -- its reviewers are forced to hustle to get comped meals...
I wouldn't respect it either -- though am very hard-pressed to conjure real examples, within my own adult experience (four food-conscious US metropolitan areas since the 1970s all with local print media both "high" and "low"). Someone else might have significant examples, but in my world the meal-cadging media restaurant critic has been basically a theoretical concept, even though one often mentioned. I believe there are causative reasons for that.
Even the smaller, local, tabloid papers, as here in the SF Bay Area, sometimes harbor excellent critics, "excellent" meaning widely respected, with histories of useful writing. For restaurants, critics of that caliber are the only ones read and quoted consistently in my experience. I know how they work, because I've known some (and been approached a couple of times by editors offering such work). The economics don't favor shaking down restaurants if the critic is any good at all:
Critics, of course, are part of the bait attracting a newspaper business's main product (you) to its customer (advertisers). Restaurant critiques, you'll notice, often highlight a paper's "weekend" or restaurant-advertising section. A paper that can't recover, through added advertising, far beyond the (say) $100 average per-issue expense of a critic's restaurant bill does not have a respected critic, and a critic who plays comping games will never become or stay respected. (Restaurant people have even been known to gossip!)
Posted 24 August 2011 - 12:31 PM
These are newspaper critics, I'm talking about bloggers. Here in the Vancouver area there are over 100 food blogs in English, and I don't know how many in other ethnic languages.
Posted 24 August 2011 - 01:00 PM
Yeah-but Max, / These are newspaper critics, I'm talking about bloggers.
My last comments were meant, and are relevant, only for the particular context that I wrote to, explicitly ("traditional media as well, when the paper can't, or won't, pay for the meals").
Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:43 AM
Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:58 PM
I take online reviews with a grain of salt, but after reading the below article, yelp won't see my anymore. A review site that tries to make you pay so they remove bad reviews is completely useless and not trustworthy. That grain of salt turned into a salt mine IMO.
(I thought this fits best into restaurant life, mods feel free to move it elsewhere if it fits somewhere better, important story I think)
- Thomas Keller
Diablo Kitchen, my food blog
Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:14 PM
I can't help but notice you are referring to an article from 2009. I have to say that I find four year old restaurant reviews frequently differ from the actual restaurant today. Maybe Yelp is corrupt, maybe it was, I don't know. I just don't think that recycling such old news is really useful.
Hey, those french fries you served me in 2009 were really....
Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:17 PM
it came up today, here's a newer article, just thought the one I posed explains better:
Of course reviews are to be take with a grain of salt, but a site that takes bad ones down for a hefty fee is useless and not to be trusted IMO
- Thomas Keller
Diablo Kitchen, my food blog
Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:50 PM
No love lost for Yelp.
I've had more than one enthusiastic customer tell me they just wrote a great review about my place, only to have it taken down the next day. Reason for this? The reviewer has no Yelp profile, can't be trusted, could be a spy or worse, an employee or agent of the restaurant.
And then I get the "regular" Yelper reviewers. One (deleted) wrote a 4 pager on my place complaining on everything from gentrification of the neighborhood, to the colour of the exterior cladding of the building I'm in, to my location. No complaints about the food or service though, the (deleted) couldn't possibly do it. You see, (deleted) made reservations for 2 pm, showed up at 1:40 pm and was politely asked to wait at the coffee bar for a minute while we changed the table--it was obvious that we were bussing and changing the table linens. Well, she was a bit early, and she did request a window table. (Deleted) took off like a bat out of hell and must have stopped at a Stah-bucks to write the review. THAT was four years ago, and the review is still up on the site.
Like I said, no love lost for Yelp.
- gfron1 likes this
Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:04 AM
My place has got no bad reviews at all from Yelp, and still they insist on calling me every frigging day trying to sell me something or other. So annoying and a guarantee that even if I ever did pay for advertising, I wouldn't do it with them.
Posted 22 June 2014 - 03:36 PM
I have a love hate with Yelp. As was said just a few posts up, I have 27 rave reviews in the "filtered" section - and I"m in a very small town with only 12 tables so I do remember each and every one of those customers and could provide receipts if pressed to prove that they ate at my restaurant. On the other hand I have a review right now from a first time reviewer who had a legit bad experience which I acknowledged and apologized (new server) and his review stands. Their algorithm excuse seems silly when I looked at these two sides of it.
But what really gets my goat is that I have no real way of discussing a situation with a staff member at Yelp. A recent reviewer edited her comment after I responded, making my response out of context. I flagged but they didn't budge. Surely their software captured the original post and the subsequent actions. If the information is to be trusted it must be transparent - sounds like a familiar argument heard around here which eG has addressed throughout the years.
All I know is that Yelp does effect my business good and bad and I wish they had a system like Hotels.com where you couldn't review unless you were proved to have actually dined at the restaurant. That would sure minimize bad info and make for a more trustworthy system.
Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM
Posted 19 September 2014 - 02:19 PM
Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
Host, eG Forums - email@example.com
"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown
Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:49 PM
yelp is pretty much useless now, since people can pay to have bad reviews removed. I don't use it at all anymore, but would if I were in town for a pizza, great idea :-)
- Thomas Keller
Diablo Kitchen, my food blog
Posted 20 September 2014 - 07:32 AM
I'm one of the 99% restaurant owners who just grins and bears it. Early this spring we were "love bombed" by some kind of Yelp rep. from California (we're in Vancouver, Canada). First snail mail wanting our advertising money, which we ignored. E-mails automatically went into the delete file. Then the phone calls. But when the screen on the phone reads "Yelp, Cal. USA we don't bother picking up. Whoever it was, they were persistent and kept this up for well over 2 mths.
My main beef with Yelp is the reviews--they are not edited before being put on the site. Something about a "logorythm" or program that "edits" the review and decides if it's genuine or not. If the review was written by someone with no previous history with yelp, it gets taken down. My "review" as it was, was a 4 pager written by a nutbar who didn't order anything or even sit down, but everything from the door handle of our place to the neighborhood and gentrification was in the review, just nothing about food, service, or prices.
Now, how do you deal with Groupon?