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Mar 15, 2012 03:26 PM

Do you refuse to go to a restaurant because of a bad review you read here on CH?

Wondering how powerful one person's bad experience at a restaurant can be, when that one person decides to document it online on a forum such as CH.

I'm referring more to bad experiences in customer service, rather than the food, because taste and flavors is so subjective to each individual, unless something was blatantly cooked poorly.

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  1. I take it with a grain of salt and try to discern whether it was a one time thing or if many posters have similar comments. I also get to know individual posters' tastes and see whose are similar to mine.

    1. I never consider bad reviews a reason to avoid a restaurant. There is a built-in bias. One person can be dissatisfied and write it up, and It may be without merit, while thousands of satisfied customers post nothing at all. I don't know the person who is complaining, or the circumstances leading to the complaint. Why should I assume it has any merit?

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        so why would you give merit to good reviews but none to bad reviews? Or if you don't give any merit to any reviews, why bother reading/posting on such forums?

        1. re: TailbackU

          I didn't make any statement regarding good reviews because the topic of the thread is bad reviews. I don't post restaurant reviews, although I may make some remarks about a restaurant if someone else brings it up.

      2. It depends on the persons who wrote the reviews. Over the years, I've figured out by trial and error that I have similar tastes to certain other hounds. If they don't like a place, I probably won't like it, so I just avoid those restaurants if I have a choice in the matter.

        2 Replies
        1. re: raytamsgv

          +2, depends on the poster

          after a few years on CH you kinda get an idea of posters with tastes you trust

          1. re: raytamsgv

            I also agree that a lot would depend on who was actually posting the review, regardless of whether it was a rant or a rave. If it's someone whose posts I've been reading here for a few years, that will carry a lot more weight than, say, a first-time poster who raves about one particular restaurant. And of course, it also depends on whether I, myself, have had a personal experience with the restaurant.

          2. For me, a bad review here on Chowhound holds a lot of weight. Especially if a number of people chime in and agree with the OP's views. There are SOOOOOO many restaurants in LA and I don't eat out nearly enough to try them all.

            While I do take them with a grain of salt, if I'm looking for a particular type of restaurant or in a particular part of town, I will pick a beloved or even mixed-reviewed place. I don't feel I should waste my time at places that many people agree aren't any good.

            Also, I agree with others that certain Chowhounds opinions carry more weight. There are certain people who express views and tastes that align with mine very closely.

            1 Reply
            1. re: alliebear

              I agree. And I'm more likely to avoid an expensive restaurant based on one review than an inexpensive. And I'm more likely to avoid an inconvienent restaurant based on one review than one that makes it easy to dine at (parking, reservations, etc). There are a lot of restaurants here and I only have so much $$ to spend.

              And sometimes I will get a "second opinion" on yelp.

            2. Refuse is such a strong word. There are places I would rather not go to, and there are a few that I strenuously avoid. In one instance I went, but didn't order or eat anything (see ethics thread), but only because I could do so without making a scene.

              If it's auntie's birthday and she wants to go someplace that is special to her, I'm not going to rain on her parade.

              Probably a Chowhound review or thread alone would not be enough to completely repel me, but it would certainly put it on my alert list, and might very well dissuade me unless there were other factors at play.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Exactly my thought when i read the subject line. I wouldn't say "refuse" so much as 'avoid" unless the offense was particularly egregious.