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Zagat


weinoo
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I'm wondering how many eGulleteers actually participate in the Zagat survey every year?

So, did you do the Zagat survey for 2008?

And, if you did, any approximate idea of how many restaurants you rated?

Did you do it to get a freebie?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'm wondering how many eGulleteers actually participate in the Zagat survey every year?

So, did you do the Zagat survey for 2008?

And, if you did, any approximate idea of how many restaurants you rated?

Did you do it to get a freebie?

I filled out the survey for South Florida, and I also subscribe to the Zagat's online service, which I find very useful. I think the survey is a great opportunity to promote your friends in the industry, and slam their rivals. Also a great place to try and insert snarky comments about places you hate. When I see a 'Zagat Rated' decal on a restaurant door, it reminds me of McDonald's promoting their beef as 'USDA Inspected'. It doesn't mean it's a sign of quality, just the bare minimum to get by. I don't think you can take it too seriously, but, unfortunately, there aren't a lot of alternatives. And I rated at least 30 places in Miami this year. And as an aside, living in Florida, eGulleteers sounds scarily close to Mouseketeers :shock:

Edited by Miami Danny (log)
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I've never participated. But when I moved to the NYC area in 1999, staying for four years just outside Manhattan, I did buy a Zagat's guide the first two years I was there. It was in the pre-eGullet era (to the best of my knowledge there also weren't any other worthwhile discussion forums at that time that could serve as resources for research on where to eat).

For me, at the time, it was a tool for locating places to try out that were in specific price ranges - typically moderate ones for me - and also in parts of Manhattan that I was going to be in when there for specific events (which was a very regular occurrence).

The guide was helpful in pointing me towards likely suspects but I think I found as many gems just by wandering around doing menu shopping in windows and trusting my instincts.

And I agree that it's a bit farcical that some places display the Zagat's Rated plaque (for which they paid a hefty premium) yet there's not copy of any favorable reviews visible. They could have been panned by Zagat's yet the plaque is somehow supposed to lend some cachet to the place (and it probably works on some people).

I'm reminded of the little Chinese place on Rte 17 South in Lyndhurst NJ that I used to drive by on my way to the grocery store. They had a nearly poster sized photocopy of a NY Times review with a 1 * rating posted proudly in their window. When I finally happened to pass by on foot and was close enough to read the fine print I discovered that the review was from nearly 20 years ago!

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In Kitchen Nightmares, ....that Gordon Ramsay show where he goes into restaurants on the brink...they show one dump of a restaurant, lousy service, filthy kitchen, that prominently displays Zagat plaques.

My experience with the ratings is that every place gets a high rating whether or not it is any good. If they'd rate Ruby Tuesday it'd get a high rating too. People self-select based on their taste or lack of it, and go to places that they like...and then rate them for Zagat. Why participate in a sham?

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On Eater.com today, there's a report about a panel discussion at the Gourmet Institute this past weekend. Participants included restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Gourmet's editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl.

Speaking of critics, and the powers they possess, Drew had this to say (among other things) -

Drew: "Zagat is hugely powerful. But talk about a shill."

Just one voice, indeed, but a rather powerful one at that. Full article here.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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In Kitchen Nightmares, ....that Gordon Ramsay show where he goes into restaurants on the brink...they show one dump of a restaurant, lousy service, filthy kitchen, that prominently displays Zagat plaques. 

I noticed the same thing when watching the show. It immediately made me question the whole Zagat thing.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I rate restaurant's I've visited and get a free copy of the London guide.

As a customer I like that I can add my opinion and if this is done correctly this is a good way to gauge opinion of the paying public as good reviews will outweigh an off day and vice versa . But being the twisted individual I am, they have not had requested any verification of who I am and so I think, with planning, how easy it would be to create fake ID's to give undeserved good/bad reviews.

I also find the Michelin as flawed as it depends on the opinion of a few inspectors.

The ideal guide for me would take the opinion from verified individuals (Say a $1 credit card payment or perhaps some other proof that you were who you say you are) and combined with a couple of visits by a reviewer for the high end and random visits for the lower end.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I find my Zagats extremely useful.....in the car, as a directory for phone numbers and addresses. You really have to take everything else in there with a huge grain of salt. I own a resturant and can't tell you the amount of misinformation they have published about us- and that is with fact-checking. Right now, according to the guide, we are closed on Sunday. Funny, but Sunday brunch is our busiest service of the week!! And that's just one example of many- just from one restaurant.

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