While restaurant reviews are incredibly popular, very few are all that useful- at least when presented by one person. This is why we depend on sites like Yelp to give us an idea of what the general local population thinks of a local eatery. Even with the power of crowdsourced masses, though, restaurant review sites don’t have it all.
How can you provide to curious restaurant-goers with that which major restaurant review sites lack? Here are some pointers.
Leverage the wisdom of the crowd, but add the value of context
Bring up a restaurant’s ratings in major publications and on popular online ratings sites, then add additional context to these ratings by pointing out whether the rating may be unfairly high (because the food is cheap) or unfairly low (because the average clientele is impossible to satisfy). Also leverage your personal experience to provide a concrete story with which readers can compare overall online ratings.
Provide loads and loads of photos
Though online restaurant review sites make it easy for their members to upload photos, few people do, and many of the photos that do get uploaded are messy shots furtively taken with a smartphone camera. You can give your restaurant review Hubs an edge by including a large number of high quality images. Bring a real camera to the restaurant you review, select a well-lit table (natural light is ideal), take photos of all the dishes, and call on your friends to give you photos of their dishes when they go. In addition to including photos of a variety of dishes, include photos of the same dish taken at different meals to give people an idea of how quality, portion, size, and presentation may vary.
Include additional information, DIY recipes, and history
Restaurant review sites only cover the basics- address, opening and closing hours, basic details, photos, and customer reviews. You can create stiff competition by including more detailed background on the restaurant, adding recipes you’ve developed that replicate the restaurant’s signature dishes, and including links to the restaurant’s nutritional information for specific dishes (if it exists).
Go where few reviewers have gone before
Instead of just reviewing the basics, such as ambiance, service, and food quality, go above and beyond by considering factors that matter to people, but are rarely factored into reviews, such as the nutritional value of dishes the restaurant serves, and the environmental sustainability of its menu offerings.
These are only a few ways in which you can write online reviews that have a very good chance of being competitive with ratings from professional restaurant critics and popular restaurant review sites. When you are about to review a restaurant online, take some time to see what other online reviews about the place lack, then be sure to make up for those differences (and then some) in your own review.
Of all reviews one might write, restaurant reviews are amongst the most enjoyable to create. After all, who doesn’t want a good excuse to eat out? We hope that this month’s Rigorous Review Contest is a good enough excuse to inspire you to eat out more, and that you submit several entries fill with alluring images and honest evaluations. Just remember to have a thorough look at our official contest rules and qualifying requirements before you start!