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A restaurant owner told me that Yelp reviews are the most valuable to him

c oliver Jun 10, 2014 05:33 PM

And I guess I wasn't surprised. This is a well-known restauranteur who just opened a new place. He was "working the room" last evening and we got to chatting. I took pix of the food and the place and will post on my regional board. But I asked him where does he derive the most business (web-wise) and he said, hands down, Yelp. Even though CHs disparage the posters, there's power in numbers. And a really good restaurant I'm guessing will still stand out. So I'll post on Yelp also. And you may want to do that also, especially for a place just starting out or that needs a little boost.

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  1. EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 05:42 PM

    Never used yelp, never will. I like people taking flash pictures dozens of times in dark restaurants more than I like yelp.
    Crowdsourcing info is fine, and has its benefits but I will never support something like yelp.

    25 Replies
    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
      c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 10, 2014 05:49 PM

      Seriously, why not?

      I've found Tripadvisor to be helpful when out of the country.

      1. re: c oliver
        EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 05:53 PM

        I could write pages and pages, but I'll just give a simple reason that should suffice. I can get better info from other sources.

        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
          c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 10, 2014 05:57 PM

          This guy has been in the biz for probably 20 years and is HIGHLY thought of both locally and nationally. I'm not saying you need to get your recs from Yelp but am saying giving recs could raise the bar. Is there some other issue that I'm not aware of?

          1. re: c oliver
            EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 07:49 PM

            Maybe I'll return with a post about why I'm no fan of yelp later.
            For what it's worth, you are not the typical yelp user, and I mean that in a good way. If the majority of yelp users were like you I wouldn't be beefin with yelp quite so much.

            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
              c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 10, 2014 07:58 PM

              Well, golly gee, EFGM :) Yeah, clue me in. I've posted on Yelp once, maybe twice.

              1. re: c oliver
                tofuflower RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 11:45 AM

                I find that more Yelp users focus more on rating the service and atmosphere over the food, while I think Chowhounders will make that trade off willingly, or know that they are eating at a hole-in-the-wall and have the right expectations.

                As an example, you can read this review where the owner responded to a 1 star review, originally given because the reviewer kept arriving when the place was closed and got frustrated. Yes, it is a place with weird hours, but there are unpredictable places that people put up with in order to get good food. Make sure to read the original review first before the update. http://www.yelp.com/biz/hot-sauce-and...

                1. re: tofuflower
                  c oliver RE: tofuflower Jun 11, 2014 11:52 AM

                  That was a good review, wasn't it?...up to a point. I agree the star thing is stupid as I've seen fast food, chain places get three of them :)

                  I'll continue with my original thought that if WE post our reviews on Yelp, it will help their site. I love posting on CH but know I have a very select and selective audience.

                  1. re: c oliver
                    grampart RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 12:03 PM

                    "I love posting on CH but know I have a very select and selective audience."

                    Some of which get excited at the prospect of a Golden Corral opening in their neighborhood. I use Yelp, but take the info with a large grain of salt. Very similar to here.

                2. re: c oliver
                  EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 12:31 PM

                  Andrew Zimmern 2012:
                  "Here's something that really pisses me off: Yelp. I was against Yelp for a long time. I don't like the idea of Yelp. The problem for me is that crowd sourcing is very beneficial except when it comes to things like restaurant criticism and restaurant reviews and restaurant recommenders. Just the same way I don't ask my five year old to tell me whether or not I should go see the movie This Is Forty or Sessions or The French Lieutenant's Woman, I don't ask my son which John Updike book is his favorite — because he'll just point at any old random one. And while he might get lucky, and certainly most John Updike books are really good, Yelp essentially gives a tremendous forum for a bunch of uninformed morons to take down restaurants. That's a lot different than Pete Wells taking down Guy Fieri's restaurant.
                  Now, while some people may see that as being a fairly mild thing to talk about, some people may think there's Zimmern, another tempest in a teapot. No. What this is, is it's just further proof that after I softened my position on Yelp a year ago in an editorial in Minneapolis St Paul Magazine where I said look, some of that stuff seems to be fairly well managed. I have now decided after another six eight months have gone by that the number of stories that I hear like this from people who I trust, who I know aren't BSing me (and Doug and Bryan are friends of mine) that Yelp has become dangerously unstable. Because clearly they have people abusing the system, who are using the Yelp name to go out and graymail and blackmail restaurants. Yelp to me is something that just doesn't work. It's official now: Yelp is on my shit list."

                  Here’s a recent article where Chang weighs in on yelp:
                  http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/ch...

                  I’ll also reference our own Mc Slim JB, who wrote a great piece back in April of 2013 (please come back me up homie
                  )http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/2013/04/...

                  I just see absolutely no reason to use yelp. Most people are just not qualified to write a restaurant review or give it a ranking out of 5. Then there are the hundreds of cases of yelp engaging in what is essentially extortion. Aggregating restaurant reviews is just pointless. I’d rather have a few extremely trusted sources and just use those.

                  A review written by an anonymous person is literally useless to me, for all I know their favorite restaurant is Olive Garden. Sure they still might give an excellent restaurant the 5 star rating which it deserves, but it’s just chance, and they probably aren’t doing it for the right reasons. Maybe they give a place a “5,” because they never dine at nice restaurants and have no clue what to expect and we’re blown away by standard practices. Or maybe they give it a “1,” because they never dine at nice restaurants and their expectations were through the roof and impossible to achieve. Without knowing what their expectations were, and what biases it may have caused, their reviews are useless.

                  Crowd sourced rankings out of 5 are completely useless to me, a number gives me no useful information in that context. I’d rather read an in depth review that doesn’t even offer a final ranking. Also, with a 5 star ranking system, it is useless unless everyone is on the same page about what each star means. Do you rate a dive bar a 5 because it is the best dive bar, or do you rate it a 3 because….well it’s a dive bar? I don’t know, and neither do the hoards of uninformed morons out there using yelp. Also, I’m sick of scales out of 5 where only 4 and 5 are acceptable. A 5 should be special, rare, there should be very few “5” ratings, and a 4 should be a great restaurant, and a 1 should be a “skip it,” most ratings should hover around 3, with 2 being “acceptable”. Yet I see people rating fast food places 3+, even fast food places. Why the fuck even rate a fast food place to begin with? The whole point of fast food is that it is the same everywhere you go. How can I even trust a review from people who eat a lot of fast food? There are going to be all sorts of biases that come into play.

                  What would be more useful is to have a system that only takes into account what qualified people think. Like aggregating reviews from respected blogs, professional critics, and others who are qualified to really review a restaurant. Yelp fails for the same reason most things of this nature do. There are simply too many stupid people out there with lots of biases. I agree with tofulovers assessment that people think of the food as a secondary experience. There have been tons of studies done (I wish I had links) where customers will rate food highly, and then say they would not return (for superficial reasons), and vice versa. Obviously if a restaurant has great food but everything else is lacking, that would be horrible, but people seem to overemphasize non-food “experiences,” even if they food was impeccable. There are so many other factors besides food that play into a persons perception of a restaurant (one reason why I’m not in the restaurant industry). Without knowing a lot about the reviewer and what they like and don’t like, their review is useless. In fact it is not only useless but it could potentially lead to a bad outcome if heeded. I’d rather have no information than bad information. Also, how much did the reviewer drink during dinner? I don’t know? For all I know they got wasted, and would give a microwaved hotdog a 5/5, or stop for fast food on the way home (I’ve actually seen that in fine restaurant dining restaurant reviews). Then there is the narcissism, these people actually think somebody gives a fuck what they have to say. As if they actually have credibility, hah. I guess yelp would be ok if I found a few reviewers I trust but why look on yelp for that when most folks who are really serious about food despise yelp. There’s just no point to use yelp.

                  Give me blogs, trusted sources and professionals. I don’t want a bunch of crowd sourced drivel. Sure it might still reach the same outcome as professionals in terms of a ranking out of 5, but that’s still useless to me. I need words, not numbers, and they need to be coming from a trusted source.

                  I understand there are yelp users who are qualified (c oliver obviously) in my eyes, but unfortunately they are the exception not the norm. I get that if qualified people wrote reviews it would help achieve better quality information, but I think yelp is too far gone. The masses have taken over and trying to fight that is like swimming upstream in hot lava wearing a snorkel and plastic flippers.

                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                    c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 12:45 PM

                    I really am talking about Chowhounds posting reviews on Yelp and making it a better site. But almost everyone is talking about GETTING advice from Yelp. How could it do any harm to cross-post? Very little work to copy and paste; maybe a little editing if CH references need to be deleted. Why not? It's clear that CHs use it to flesh out those details missing from our site. Just asking.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 12:50 PM

                      No problem with that, don't see any harm that could come of it really other than making yelp bigger, which doesn't effect me personally since I don't use it.

                      It's just not worth my time personally, in principle.

                      1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                        c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 12:52 PM

                        I'm not that busy :)

                        1. re: c oliver
                          EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 01:00 PM

                          Apparently neither am I. At least not currently, unfortunately.

                          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                            c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 01:09 PM

                            I'm retired!

                    2. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                      tofuflower RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 01:13 PM

                      Just to follow up on the extortion that Eat mentioned:
                      http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland...

                      I think that's the main issue for me. I feel it's an unethical business that I don't want to support by contributing my reviews. I had hoped the practices have stopped though given the press, so I'm not sure what the public opinion is on this topic now.

                      However, I did contribute reviews for vendors (non food related) that just started out and had less than 10 reviews if I had a great experience to help them out. But if there are tons of reviews already, I am not inspired to post.

                      There is also groupthink. I saw a handful of recent reviews posting food illness from a ramen joint we've eaten at three times without an issue. But I think people read it, then think any stomach upset is a sign of food poisoning, and then post about it to blow it out of proportion. It's hard to filter out what to believe.

                      1. re: tofuflower
                        grampart RE: tofuflower Jun 11, 2014 01:17 PM

                        "It's hard to filter out what to believe."

                        These days, that's true of almost everything.

                        1. re: tofuflower
                          c oliver RE: tofuflower Jun 11, 2014 01:45 PM

                          I completely agree with the CH rule banning discussing of food illnesses. Regardless.

                        2. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                          JuniorBalloon RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 02:36 PM

                          I don't find Yelp reviewers any different than any other reviewer, whether it be movies, music or food, until I understand what their tastes are their review won't mean much. Just a starting point. If they recommend a places/things I don't like I'll know their review is not for me.

                          jb

              2. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                kitchengardengal RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 10, 2014 08:30 PM

                DH and I do a lot of road trips to visit our grown children who live in four different states. We use Trip Advisor and/or Yelp on every trip to find new places to eat along the scenic byways. How else would I find these restaurants? We can't drive in circles through every town hoping to come across some place special.

                1. re: kitchengardengal
                  c oliver RE: kitchengardengal Jun 10, 2014 08:33 PM

                  Do you then post about your results?

                  1. re: c oliver
                    kitchengardengal RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 04:52 PM

                    No, c oliver, I don't post about my results - CH is the only posting I do, and even then it's not about restaurants, it's in HC or GT. I tried to post a restaurant review once on one of the sites, but by the time I did it, I'd forgotten what I ate and what DH ate, we'd been to so many holes-in-the-wall, mom & pops or hippie joints on our trips.
                    What I do is to read the reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone has different tastes in food, movies, books...I don't even ask DH for recommendations on movies or books! But I read Yelp and Trip Advisor posts to let me see what kind of food the restaurant serves. Plus I read them out loud to DH as we're driving along - they are *always* good for a laugh.

                    Unfortunately, it seems quite a few who leave reviews on those sites have an entitlement chip on their shoulder. It's pretty easy to tell who would be bitching no matter how good the food or the service. All I can say is I'm glad I'm not them, and I'm glad I'm not married to them. Jeez.

                    1. re: kitchengardengal
                      c oliver RE: kitchengardengal Jun 11, 2014 05:37 PM

                      And you're glad you don't frequent the Not About Food board :) At least CH has a pen with a hot wire to control them!

                      1. re: c oliver
                        kitchengardengal RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 07:59 PM

                        I do read the NAF board sometimes. I read whole threads aloud to the hubster if it's a good one. We love talking smack about the attitudes and opinions one finds there.

                  2. re: kitchengardengal
                    d
                    Dave Feldman RE: kitchengardengal Jun 11, 2014 10:06 PM

                    You might want to take a look at Roadfood.com, too, then, especially if you are traveling through small towns and cities (where Yelp and Trip Advisor often has much more content than Chowhound). Roadfood has a topic just for road trips, where you can tell members of the forum where you are leaving for and where you are heading. The focus is on downscale places, with a bias towards American, especially regional, cuisine.

                    1. re: Dave Feldman
                      kitchengardengal RE: Dave Feldman Jun 12, 2014 06:02 AM

                      American regional cuisine is exactly what we look for, DF. thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely take a look at roadfood.com.

                2. z
                  zackly RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:01 PM

                  I use Yelp a lot to get peoples opinions of restaurants I'm unfamiliar with. If people feel strongly on way or another about a restaurant it may sway my decision to go there or not. I also write Yelp reviews myself.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: zackly
                    c oliver RE: zackly Jun 10, 2014 06:07 PM

                    I think I'll write some on occasion. I've looked at some of places I've been to and they're not all bad. At all.

                  2. j
                    julesrules RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:11 PM

                    I don't think most restaurants are aiming for the chowhound market. Yelp also attracts an age group with disposable income and time. The interface also makes it easier to search geographically ie/ when you're at a certain intersection. There's tons of
                    ch reviews I read where I have no sense of where the place is (sometimes for
                    years on end). I'm no big fan of Yelp/ers but I get that it could drive more
                    business.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: julesrules
                      c oliver RE: julesrules Jun 10, 2014 06:20 PM

                      As for "target audience," we had foie gras, sweetbreads and scallop/crab/tobiko so it's not the Denny's crowd :) And definitely the ease of locating someplace. It would be nice if every single CH would give the link, if available, in their reviews.

                      We've had some extraordinary meals in the last year or two and I'd really like to share the wealth with more diners.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        j
                        julesrules RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:54 PM

                        I'm not talking about the Denny's crowd either... I find many higher-end chowhound favourites in my area close within a few years (so how well were they doing really?) or change substantially (star chef moves on, etc) and drop off the radar. For example, from recent chowhound posts I can barely tell if a 2011 favourite still even exists, if people still like it after the tattoo guy left, etc. I imagine a place that wants profitable longevity rather than hipster 5-minute stardom is looking for regulars who will order basically the same things for years, and probably forgive some quality or creativity lapses over the years. Hounds are merciless.
                        This is all from my board's perspective of course. People get tired of talking about the same places, and I think very few people will do a search unless they already know chowhound *and* the place in question. A thread that has dropped off the main page is hardly advertising.
                        With Yelp, the restaurant entry is already there and always current, and the culture supports everyone weighing in and increasing their yelping presence. Again I don't love it by any means but in some ways, I think chowhound really missed the boat by not evolving from the original forum structure into something more... Yelp-like.
                        Even weblinks to addresses are not nearly as convenient as a premade map of everything near my hotel in a strange city, or what's near my appointment in an unfamiliar part of town. Figuring out where to eat on my last weekend away could have required searching and reading threads from years ago and trying to consolidate all the dribs and drabs of info then research whether it still applied. There was a bit of that, but luckily someone had written a recent overview of the whole town and some helpful posters chimed in when I revived it, which I knew they would because I know them from the board (my home board). But for the average internet user, a top ten list from Tripadvisor has got to be way easier.

                    2. ipsedixit RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:29 PM

                      A restaurant owner told me that Yelp reviews are the most valuable to him
                      ____________________

                      And this is news, how?

                      Just eyeballing it, and using powers of guesstimation, I'd say that for every 1 Chowhound there's at least 10 Yelpers.

                      And the numbers are even more distorted if the metric is "Public awareness of Yelp versus Chowhound"

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        c oliver RE: ipsedixit Jun 10, 2014 06:33 PM

                        I guess it surprised me that a restaurant that has more 'esoteric' foods (and his other one that we go to does also) gets the majority of their web-generated business from Yelp. But when I consider that I seldom talk to anyone who's ever heard of CH, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          ipsedixit RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:40 PM

                          People sue (or threaten to sue) Yelp and/or Yelpers for issues related to reviews and comments.

                          When people start litigating against Chowhound (or Chow.com) and Chowhounds, in particular, based on posts here, then we'll know we've made it big!

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            c oliver RE: ipsedixit Jun 10, 2014 06:59 PM

                            HA! :)

                      2. Servorg RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 06:50 PM

                        Yelp has been a huge boon to my wife's business. Yelp tries to sell ads to us and I always say "Why would we spend money on something that is working terrifically well for free?"

                        1. c
                          Cheez62 RE: c oliver Jun 10, 2014 09:34 PM

                          This does not surprise me either. I've traveled extensively around this country on business, and I've often considered Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon, etc. when looking for someplace for dinner. Granted, part of that comes from using Google maps to find out what is around me. Once a place comes up (on the computer, or a mobile device), there are usually accompanying reviews from the aforementioned sites. Of course, sometimes a little reading between the lines is warranted, but I think such reviews help to give an average overall view of an establishment. That assumes there is more than one or two reviews, otherwise you are just guessing.
                          As much as I enjoy Chowhound, I've never found it to be a go-to source, for me at least, for restaurant advice. Recipes, cooking techniques, that kind of stuff, yeah. Dining out? Not so much.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Cheez62
                            c oliver RE: Cheez62 Jun 10, 2014 09:45 PM

                            I've gotten extraordinary resto advice from CH. But I'm think more of the giving than the receiving end. If we cross-post on other sites, don't we give needed input?

                          2. MplsM ary RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 12:52 AM

                            Remember when Chowhound had maps? Between the maps and the app Yelp is miles ahead in relevance for restaurateurs and for people seeking food. Chow/Chowhound is just too far behind the times.

                            That said, do I trust the reviews on Yelp? Like Chowhound one needs to read the reviews and gauge the reviewers over time. I do find it more helpful for restaurant reviews in the Twin Cities. However, I get the minutiae I crave from Chowhound.

                            1. chicgail RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 05:54 AM

                              We just got back from a month-long trip to Italy and, perhaps it is different in other countries, we were surprised that we found it to be the most useful resource for finding restaurants (and other things) that we could find. Way better than Trip Advisor and even better than CH.

                              We found that TA was way off in its recommendations. We tried more than one restaurant that was so bad we laughed (who are those people and what do they eat?).

                              The CH Italy board was less comprehensive than we needed and some posters tended to be a little snootier than we were comfortable with (I'm not talking about price).

                              Yelp would usually be our last option, but to our surprise, Yelp was often right on in its recommendations and helped us find some really great places. And it was a fellow traveler who turned us onto Yelp when told us he found the great little restaurant we met him in there. Who knew?

                              Plus Yelp has an app that makes it especially useful for a traveler. I wish CH had one.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chicgail
                                c oliver RE: chicgail Jun 11, 2014 08:03 AM

                                I hope you posted reviews on Yelp. Raise the bar, ya know :)

                              2. Kris in Beijing RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 09:03 AM

                                Yelp is the local paper.
                                ChowHound is The Wall St Journal-- or perhaps The Economist.

                                CH once had a restaurant "system," but that was eliminated.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                  ipsedixit RE: Kris in Beijing Jun 11, 2014 09:06 AM

                                  More like ...

                                  Yelp is the white pages (or dare I say the yellow pages?)

                                  Chowhound is the Op-Ed section of the local fish wrap.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    hal2010 RE: ipsedixit Jun 11, 2014 11:07 AM

                                    CH has good information on the major centres in the US and to some extent, Canada. But you have to dig for it. If you're on the road, looking for a place in some small town, Yelp is much more useful.

                                    1. re: hal2010
                                      c oliver RE: hal2010 Jun 11, 2014 11:17 AM

                                      Yep, here in Reno, which btw is on the SW board so REALLY hard to find, we have fewer than five people who post.

                                      1. re: hal2010
                                        ipsedixit RE: hal2010 Jun 11, 2014 11:33 AM

                                        One significant unique aspect of Chowhound (vis-a-vis Yelp) is when you query for a recommendation, get it, more often than not the discussion morphs into a discussion of (1) tipping (2) noise in restaurants (3) whether x city has good y type of food and/or (4) whether the recommended restaurant is better/worse than some other restaurant.

                                        And sometime it's all 4, with a good healthy dose of who makes the best burger, whether cheese is required on a pizza, why dim sum is rarely offered past 3 pm in the US, and just how déclassé "asking for rolls" is while dining omakase.

                                        But yeah, sort through all of that and you'll get a recommendation for a restaurant.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          NonnieMuss RE: ipsedixit Jun 11, 2014 12:51 PM

                                          (5) Why go out? Homemade is better! Here's my unsolicited recipe...

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            Kris in Beijing RE: ipsedixit Jun 12, 2014 04:12 PM

                                            (6) That's not REAL ____ food!

                                    2. p
                                      pedalfaster RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 11:28 AM

                                      A guy once told me he was 12" (imagine that..)

                                      Personal experience is golden.

                                      That of a trusted friend? Silver.

                                      Anonymous posters on the internet? Tin at best. Often dirt.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pedalfaster
                                        c oliver RE: pedalfaster Jun 11, 2014 11:43 AM

                                        Goes for CH as well. There's a former CH who would endorse places she hadn't eaten in in 10, 20 or 30 years. Dirt :)

                                      2. j
                                        JC2 RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 11:47 AM

                                        I use Yelp not for the reviews, but simply to tell me what is around where I want to eat. I then do separate research on the places themselves. I also use it to remind me of places in a particular neighborhood. Sort of like using the Yellow Pages - for those of you old enough to remember that.

                                        1. j
                                          jpc8015 RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 12:50 PM

                                          I check out Yelp often but take the reviews with a very large grain of salt; about the size of a pasta rock.

                                          I check out yelp to see what restaurants are in the area then go to their websites for further information.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: jpc8015
                                            c oliver RE: jpc8015 Jun 11, 2014 12:54 PM

                                            The link tofuflower gave above showed someone with a grasp of what's involved in making good food. I'm not going to paint them all with a broad brush. Maybe I'll start comparing them with CH and my own and see what I think.

                                            1. re: c oliver
                                              tofuflower RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 01:05 PM

                                              True, the updated review started out as positive and he appreciated the food. But his first review gave one star without even having the food because he had bad luck and a horrible time parking seems, so I don't blame the owner for responding the way he did, and I think that's unfair and distorts ratings. Too bad it's not like open table where you rate the food, ambiance, and service all separately.

                                              1. re: tofuflower
                                                c oliver RE: tofuflower Jun 11, 2014 01:10 PM

                                                I wish restaurant owners could reply on CH but they ain't gonna happen.

                                            2. re: jpc8015
                                              EatFoodGetMoney RE: jpc8015 Jun 11, 2014 12:56 PM

                                              Bahahahahaha, a Himalayan pasta rock for sure.

                                            3. g
                                              genoO RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 01:18 PM

                                              I have not and likely never will use something like yelp. I find asking people I run across, complete strangers, where they would take their mother/ wife/girlfriend/ boss for a good meal.
                                              Much more fun and honest.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: genoO
                                                EatFoodGetMoney RE: genoO Jun 11, 2014 01:30 PM

                                                Hmm that's interesting. I've found that to be of limited usefulness. While I'd guess they'd give you a better response than if they wrote it on yelp and you saw it; they are still complete strangers and the usefulness of their advice would suffer for the same reasons as yelp reviews.

                                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                                                  c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 01:49 PM

                                                  We were recently in Alaska on a cruise. There's little CH info on that state. When we would leave the ship I'd ask locals and got two terrific recs. I'm always clear that I want to know where THEY go, not where the throngs coming of the ships go :)

                                                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                                                    g
                                                    genoO RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 02:24 PM

                                                    You are correct except you can look them in the eye and see they are real. Avoiding wanna be hipsters, hipsters who should be avoided and humans who never leave their homes.

                                                    1. re: genoO
                                                      EatFoodGetMoney RE: genoO Jun 11, 2014 02:30 PM

                                                      Word. At least you know more about them than a random yelp user.

                                                  2. re: genoO
                                                    c oliver RE: genoO Jun 11, 2014 01:48 PM

                                                    So you don't get advice from CH? Boy, I sure do! We travel a good bit and it's the rare trip that doesn't include at least one CH-rec'd place. Can't remember a bad one.

                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      EatFoodGetMoney RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 02:01 PM

                                                      CH is way different than yelp. CH is a discussion, and if somebody is full of shit they're gonna get called out real fast. Yelp just hopes that this happens over the long term via averaging by crowd sourcing information. CH also suffers from similar biases, especially group think. So it's good to diversify your sources at least somewhat if possible (including asking locals).

                                                      Asking locals definitely has been useful to me, but it really depends on the situation. I'd also say that it comes down to what you want to eat at the time, where you are asking people, and other factors; that will really determine how useful the advice is. I Agree about asking them where they want to go, rather than where they imagine tourists would want to eat. I always try to ask people about subjects they actually know about (why I distrust yelp).

                                                      Also, you are much more well traveled than I am, and have nearly 3x my years, so I would be inclined to defer to your experiences in this matter. Well, besides using yelp....unless all my other methods/sources fail, that is.

                                                      I'll give asking locals more consideration next time I'm looking for food in a foreign place.

                                                      1. re: EatFoodGetMoney
                                                        c oliver RE: EatFoodGetMoney Jun 11, 2014 03:44 PM

                                                        Oh, sheesh, don't treat me with respect. I'l know I'm REALLY old :) I get lots of all sorts of info from people. Bob says I go all over the world picking up people. I can get a life story in a ten minute chat. So it's not surprising that I get good recs when traveling. They're trying to get rid of me :)

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          p
                                                          pedalfaster RE: c oliver Jun 11, 2014 03:52 PM

                                                          LOL at being old-er.

                                                          I now nod/bob my head often and carry a really big handbag (so useful!).

                                                          I wish someone had told me to do this in my 20s!

                                                    2. re: genoO
                                                      512window RE: genoO Jun 11, 2014 03:49 PM

                                                      And when I do that, I get a recommendation for a buffet. 100%

                                                    3. b
                                                      bharbeke RE: c oliver Jun 13, 2014 04:17 PM

                                                      The trick to Yelp is not to rely on individual reviewers. Look at the highlighted words and phrases, the recent trends, and the number of reviews. You will get an idea of what to expect and what the specialties are.

                                                      Also, look at your favorite places around town and what their average rating is. In my case, some of my absolute favorites have a 3.5 rating, so that is where I set my bar for judging.

                                                      I try to post Yelp reviews for recent restaurant visits. They help other diners and the restaurant management know what the clientele is thinking and experiencing. Right now, I know of no better source for getting a lot of opinions organized by restaurant.

                                                      1. trolley RE: c oliver Jun 13, 2014 05:04 PM

                                                        I never looked at Yelp when I was based in LA. too many cooks in the kitchen and too many opinions. But Yelp is easy. they have restaurants hours and post links to websites so if you're on the road much more user friendly than trying to scroll thru CH or find an online review. Their app helps too (ahem, CH!) It links to maps of the business etc. And for food reviews, even CH has it's off reviews but if you're committed you can find great detailed reviews. I've been on and off of CH since 2005 before it was this format. so getting to know CH is a commitment. Unlike Yelp, it's an easy in and out. Cheap motel style.

                                                        So I vowed to never really rely on Yelp. Then one day my family and I decide to make a big move out of CA to Colorado. Have you seen the Mountain States board?? It takes days to get a reply and you're lucky if you get one. Denver is much smaller but it's not a city without food. In fact, if you read CH you'd think Denver has about 10 decent restaurants but it's far from that. There's tons of great food and interesting restaurants. Here I realized people are on Yelp. I've resorted to Yelp unwillingly but it's helped me very much in this new area. But in a city like NYC or LA Yelp is a wasteland. I found my landscape guy and my house painter. I also like that fact it's not limited to food. People ask why not use Angie's List? Well,
                                                        much like the BBB business pay to be listed to so it's limited. If a business screws you over you can't post a scathing review on Angie's List unless they pay to advertise.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: trolley
                                                          c oliver RE: trolley Jun 13, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                          Good point about the BIG regions. Lake Tahoe is on the CA board! I should check out Yelp for that.

                                                          1. re: trolley
                                                            EM23 RE: trolley Jun 13, 2014 06:42 PM

                                                            Check the regional boards on city-data.com and reddit.com. There are regular posts about restaurant suggestions on both, way more than my CH regional board. Of course, you will see posts like, "you will love the food there dude, especially if you're wasted", which makes me appreciate CH all the more.

                                                          2. c oliver RE: c oliver Jun 15, 2014 07:21 PM

                                                            We went to this brand new restaurant a few nights ago. I figured in light of this thread, I'd check Yelp. I gotta say that most of the reviews are at least comparable to CH and some are even better. What's to criticize? NOW I wonder if they even NEED mine :)

                                                            http://www.yelp.com/biz/heritage-reno

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