Everyone’s A Critic

Today, if you have any plans whatsoever to open a restaurant or business with food involved, prepare yourself for what has now become inevitable: expect criticism, both positive and negative. And not just from the “pros” … seems that everyone is getting into the act … amateur food critics spring up like mushrooms after the rain. Your next door neighbor may see him/herself as a budding/latent Frank Bruni … and, it seems in reading this article, those opinions may carry weight (a poor choice of words when talking about restaurants!) with people who plan to try a new dining establishment. They can add to or detract from the popularity of a new business with amazing speed.

Today a growing number of companies such as Yelp, CitySearch, Angie’s List and Yahoo Local offer people a chance to rate everything from hairdressers and plumbers to child care centers and dentists. Restaurants like Cafe Grillades have been the canary in the coal mine, feeling the impact of online reviews long before other kinds of local businesses. Because people dine out more often than they choose dentists, restaurants so far make up the bulk of online reviews. But as review sites become more established, they will gradually accumulate entries about all kinds of businesses. For consumers, online review sites offer a valuable storehouse of information to help with daily tasks such as choosing an electrician or a dinner venue. For small businesses, these sites have the potential to revolutionize marketing and promotion — creating unprecedented opportunities but also, as in the case of Cafe Grillades, some unfamiliar risks. Five years ago, an ambitious restaurant owner had to worry about the verdict of a handful of professional reviewers at magazines and newspapers. Now that owner faces the judgment of thousands of potential amateur reviewers. “Anyone can give you a review that can totally make or break your business. It’s made it so you have to be A+ on the ball all the time.”

Amateur Reviews Changing Approach of Small Businesses (SFGate)

Melissa Goodman reporting…

2 Responses to Everyone’s A Critic

  1. Kevin at TasteTV says:

    This is a very well timed blog

  2. Most pleased that it struck a chord somewhere within you, Kevin!

    I, too, felt that the time was particularly appropriate for the piece … or is it the blog itself, Off the Broiler, which offers timely pieces?

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