Locally Grown

Urban Spork Yelps Wolf, Part Deux
2012/02/08, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: , , , ,

As we were attempting to state yesterday, we here at LG are very much interested in the internetular knee jerk reactions some diners have when um…dining out…and ESPECIALLY the anonymous negative reviewers…

Let’s start off with something I like to call the “I like my restaurant, created an account to tell the world, and also to say that I don’t like the restaurant that is my closest competition” Here is a textbook example:

The best food , the best service , chef baru thank you for giving us such a good restaurant .

The person responsible for this review goes by the handle David, sort-of-ironically the same name as the chef at said restaurant.  This person registered, left one review of one restaurant, and gave a “thumbs down” to another restaurant of the same cuisine.  Now, you are probably thinking to yourself “why would someone use their own name when doing said deed” and yes, it is a common name.  Do I have any hard proof?  No.  But the body of evidence speaks loudly.  This happens more than you would think, and I have actually witnessed two different restaurant professionals perpetrate this childish act.  (disclaimer: not people I have worked for)  Watch out for these types of reviews, they are usually vague one-offs which are designed as ego-strokers.  Judging by the other glowing reviews, internet and printed, no ego stroke is needed in this case.

Next are the “Negative Nasty Nancies.”  These are people who seem to have a bad experience at every single establishment that they visit, and make it a point to leave a negative review for any minor service infraction.  I recently came across the worst of these N3’s, the “I Heart Chain Restaurants and Hate Local Business-ist,” a heinous brood dedicated to the abolition of all local food, a deviant group dedicated to places like Cheescake Factory or Legends…or worse.  They want nothing more than to be able to have the exact same dish in any town they might happen upon, and use extreme prejudice when dealing with local restaurants.  In fact, I am surprised when one of these folks even bothers eating a local spot.  I digress.  The N3’s have a mission to tell the world just how bad whatever little problem they have encountered has affected their tragic lives.  Spot on their spoon?  Bad Review.  Food took 45 minutes on a Friday night in a packed restaurant?  Bad Review.   Kitchen didn’t have ranch dressing?  Bad Review (no shit, I have actually seen this happen).  It doesn’t take much of anything to get the motor started on this group, just a rude host and a smart phone.  Thanks, US/Yelp

Another horrible group is the “Can’t Say Enough Nice Things” party.  I fall under this heading on Urban Spoon, but I have only written about places I actually like.  Sue me.  Wait!  That wasn’t a real invitation…the LG Legal Fund was drained long ago…  I don’t doubt people who leave only positive reviews, but when they are almost the same exact review for every restaurant…what exactly are they doing?  Are they helping you pick a place to eat, or just practising their superlatives?  It’s hard to tell, but beware of the Overly Positive…that’s how people get sucked into cults…

What is the point here?  The point is that I personally believe that sites like Urban Spoon and Yelp at best a list of restaurants in each city.  The reviews are shoddy and unreliable.  Yes, US has different categories for Bloggers/Pros/Diners. Nice touch, but those other groups are not always the most trustworthy. Yelp…tyrants.  Nothing more.  There was controversy when Yelp was accused numerous times of extorting small businesses.  Yelp was also named in a class action suit, which was later dropped.  This makes me believe all that I read on their site as truth, yes?

So should you trust your dining dollar to the Inderrwebular Restaurant Reviewing Illuminati?  Can you trust anonymous reviews?  Nope.  Don’t do it.

Go forth unto the local dining world and discover for yourself.  Rep Local.

the Cook.


1 Comment so far
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Agree with everything you wrote. I have a food blog, like to eat, and take pictures of my food. I like to talk about places that I find are good. If I have a bad experience that out weighs the good I typically don’t share it to the world. I might tell my close friends, but going around and telling people that it sucked is not my thing. At the end of the day- ask your friends, co-worker, sister, mother, cousin, step dad, neighbor…..where to go.

Comment by coryeats

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