Let’s get into our collective way-back machines to 2005, when newspaper and magazine reviewers were pretty much the only game in town when it came to restaurant ratings. They were feared, revered and rarely questioned or disputed. One of my favorite critics here in town was Joe Pollock who has written many books on our dining and entertainment scene here in Saint Louis and now has a web site dedicated to dining and entertainment. Many restaurants tried lots of things to impress Joe; he was a very noticeable figure, to get highest rating from the paper.
But now, we have Yelpers, Tweeters and about a million bloggers weighing in on your restaurant, posting photos and opinions. While I think it’s a good idea to let everyone weigh in, more often than not I’m frustrated to see scathing reviews of restaurants for all the wrong reasons, such as the Yelper who dinged us because we wanted her to either purchase a cake from us or we would charge a cutting fee for serving another establishment’s cake in our restaurant. Or the guy who panned a restaurant for charging an automatic gratuity on separate checks when the group had multiple discounts coupons all this makes me wish there was only professional reviewers, with their experience, perspective and professionalism.
But how about you? At this point, what matters more to you and your business? Newspaper and magazine reviews or the guy sitting at your bar taking photos for his blog with an iPhone? I’d love to hear your thoughts.