Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Restaurants terrorized by the blogosphere?

The Chronicle gave the Sunday front page above the fold to a story on how foodie bloggers are impacting restaurants with their reviews. If I were a restaurant owner or a chef, this trend would give me the willies.

Here's why. I took a look at yelp.com as a test. There are pages on pages of restaurants listed and all the places have a 1 to 5 star rating. If you're looking at San Francisco, you will see many places that have 30 to 100 reviews posted. I would place some value on the collective rating of 30 people, whether we were talking about food, a movie, or a website, so if one of those places has 4 stars, I imagine it must be good.

On the other hand, search for Napa and you find another long list of eateries, and they all have their star ratings. The difference is, many of them have been given this rating based on 3 reviews - some have only 2 reviews. Therein lies the rub. Imagine pouring your heart and soul into a restaurant and having your fortunes shaped by 3 anonymous people? Shouldn't they have some kind of minimum number of reviewers weighing in before a star rating is generated?

I'm happy to report that most of my favorite downtown Napa spots fare well on this site, however. More on that topic on another day.

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