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Foodie Conundrum

Would you withhold recommending a restaurant on Chowhound because you don't want to see it overrun by the masses (tourists in particular). I'm not talking about a place that needs all the business it can get, but rather someplace that is always full to begin with.

It's a moral dilemma. You don't want the place to get any harder to get in to, yet deep down, you have a foodie obligation to tell others.....

What to do, what to do.....

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  1. I wouldn't. If they are doing smashingly great, maybe they'll expand or open up a 2nd location; help them be even MORE successful!

    1. I would never not tell. From a business standpoint, restaurants can fail for so many, many reasons that I feel like I should do what I can to keep a good restaurant around. Restaurants, especially smaller ones, rely so much on word-of-mouth advertising.

      Oh sure. I hate loud/overly full restaurants, but given the choice, I'll take that over not being able to have a really good meal again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ali

        Yeah, but consider the case where the restaurant fails because it got too many customers, too quickly. Of course, that's the fault of the manager who couldn't figure out how to ramp up. Nevertheless, if it's a place you really enjoy as a small, quiet, low-voltage place with really delicious food, you could ruin it by telling the world about it.

        I'll almost always tell my friends about it immediately, but I may not post something here until I'm confident that it's to the welfare of the place. Then, if it does become a "foodie hangout", I'll stay away for a while and go back only after the crazy buzz has died down. Hopefully the food is as good as it was to start.

        1. re: applehome

          I definitely get your point and even agree with it, but the OP wasn't talking about a new restaurant or an older one that is generally half full. The reference is to one "that is always full to begin with." Such a restaurant is already equipped to handle large amounts of customers. In this economy, with people choosing to spend their restaurant monies carefully, I want to encourage them to visit the good spots so those don't fail. I recognize that, in a different economic climate, my opinion might change, but for now, I want to keep supporting the good places with word-of-mouth because I can no longer go as often and support them monetarily.

      2. I see your point, but...

        There's no such thing as a business that's "too successful." And if a restaurant is good enough to stay busy, it's probably good enough to support a reasonable expansion or relocation.

        On the other hand, if it's a tiny neighborhood kind of place, and if expanding or relocating would kill what makes it special, it might be a different story. Especially in an area that sees more than its share of tourists.

        I definitely understand the urge to keep a finds to oneself. But the purpose of this forum is to give and receive chow tips. Maybe you could be cagey about it, so the idle Googlers don't see it as the first listing when they search "restaurant near disneyland."

        1. No, especially in this economy. If I keep it to myself, it might not be around for long.

          1 Reply
          1. I agree with alanbarnes - I know of a tiny neighborhood place (7 top) that has the most amazing menu of crepes and desserts. It's already difficult to get a table since the locals mob the place all the time. The owner isn't planning on expanding or moving either so I keep quiet about this one.

            If it's a proper sized restaurant (20 top or more) then I'll tell folks about it, but only after I have tried it several times to make sure it is consistently good. I hate when folks rave about a restaurant and then you go and have a horrible meal and find out the people raving about it had only been there once themselves/only tried one item on the menu. That only works if you're talking about places like French Laundy or Momofuku Ko.

            1. bkhuna, Chowhound IS FOR SHARING!

              Restaurant outcomes are driven by many things OTHER than a recommendation on Chowhound. (Although I do remember something about a restaurant called Malko's...)

              I'm here to SHARE the good, the bad and the ugly with my fellow Chowhounds and to learn from their SHARED wisdom .

              Come on bkhuna, you can SHARE with us.....

              1. I think those who would hesitate to share overestimate the influence of Chowhound. It may not seem like it to those of us who spend a significant number of waking hours out here, but most of the world doesn't look to us for food tips. Let the cognoscenti in on your latest find, it doesn't mean the crowds will start breaking down the door. The real problems ensue when the local paper features such a place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BobB

                  I see your point, but am not sure I agree with it. Google seems to place Chowhound threads pretty high in its natural language search results. So somebody who puts in "restaurant near disneyland" or "brew pub in chicago" is going to find a page on this site. It's how I originally found myself here years ago.

                  But you can share information on Chowhound in a way that doesn't attract the attention of the entire outside world. For example, an understated stand-alone review of a relatively unknown place puts the word out, but the group of people who see it will largely consist of the denizens of the local board. By contrast, a thread titled "best food in Orlando" is going to draw a lot more random traffic; a post about a special neighborhood place in that kind of thread is much more likely to generate the kind of unwelcome attention bkhuna is concerned about.

                  Sure, there's always the possibility that the word will get out, and that a place will become well known and eventually overrun by tourists. But given that the restaurant at issue is already full most of the time, it seems unlikely that one person's decision to post on Chowhound will determine whether this happens.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Google is a smart little cookie. Two things it knows are where you are (from your IP) and what you picked in previous choices. I have noticed that it throws restaurants at me that are in Toronto rather than identically named ones elsewhere. I'm sure its weighting algorithm uses this info.