Food Fans Have Taste For Online Reviews

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Going out to eat should be a pleasant experience. But what do you do when want to find out more about a local restaurant? More than a third of adults have researched online about a restaurant they had not visited before, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2006 research.

The association’s Hudson Riehle noted that "in the restaurant business, word-of-mouth publicity has always been crucial; it’s just that now, with the growth of online customer reviews, diners’ opinions aren’t restrained to their circle of friends."

Popular sites for user generated restaurant reviews include Citysearch, Yelp, local.Yahoo.com and Chowhound.com. Zagat.com, which focuses on subscription-only content, added a free online feedback function to receive input from diners.

In a MediaWeek interview, marketing professor Michael Solomon said that online consumer reviews will continue to grow, but there is one area that needs to be improved.

"That is the ability of reviewees to slant the reviews by strategically placing their own employees or paid shills in the audience," Dr. Solomon said. "If this pernicious trend can be brought under control, our restaurant choices truly can benefit from the power of crowds."


Food Fans Have Taste For Online Reviews
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