Monday, 21 May 2012

Online restaurant reviews

I read a post recently on Mashable about the habits of restaurant goers. The headline says Most restaurant-goers rely on online reviews. Now, most would be hard to qualify and the stats referred to are American, but I was intrigued with this quote: "Before setting foot outside, about 45% of consumers have already chosen where to eat with the help of an online dining guide."

Is this true in New Zealand? Could it ever be? I frequently review cafés and restaurants for DineOut, an online review community that accepts reviews from the New Zealand dining public. Menumania is another one. Both sites are places I turn to when contemplating a new dining experience or looking for something different (if I have enough warning), but I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying I rely on them. Then there's that whole thing about the advice of strangers ... Twitter is great for that.

I try to reserve my judgement until I've tried a restaurant myself and will then review my dining experience honestly, be it positive or negative. I believe that praise should be given where praise is true; the same is true with criticism - albeit fairly. I gloss over reviews that gush 10/10 about everything or are extremely negative, but usually find that the collective rating of an establishment over time can be quite accurate. Mostly.

Do you use/post online reviews for restaurants? What convinces you to try (or avoid) a new restaurant?

2 comments:

Janine said...

I don't activly search for online reviews. Therefore I guess you could stay I dont rely on them or let it sway whether I should eat at a certain place. Although sometimes when searching on the net for menus and details of cafes and restuarants these reviews tend to come up, so I will read them. Like you I tend to look at the overall rating of the place. When dining somewhere new, I tend to like to make my own mind up.

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