Yelp! and Urbanspoon are changing the Status Quo for Restaurants

Urbanspoon on a door

The New Zagat Rated Sticker?






During springbreak my wife and I were traveling to Nashville to visit family. I discovered that we were using Urbanspoon on our iPhone for nearly every dining decision we made during our trip. Then recently I came across a research article that concisely stated why we need restaurant reviews. The authors stated that with experience goods such as food consumers cannot know the quality of a product until after it has been purchased and consumed. With free access to tens of thousands of reviews in your pocket, a person already knows what their peers thought of the restaurant. In other words, we used Urbanspoon so we did not have to “waste” our time and money going to restaurants that might suck, instead we reached into our pockets and saw what hundreds of other people thought about the restaurants surrounding us. Restaurants will need to change their mind set in terms of how to attract customers, billboards and flyers won’t be very effect when someone looks up your restaurant and sees 15% like rating on Urbanspoon. Restauranteurs need to realize that their online identity is more then just their website, and Urbanspoon and Yelp! are the new Michelin stars.


~ by Anish Parikh on March 24, 2011.

6 Responses to “Yelp! and Urbanspoon are changing the Status Quo for Restaurants”

  1. Agreed on the importance of Urbanspoon and Yelp, etc. … Zagat? Michelin stars? what in the world are those? 😉

  2. Anish,

    I completely agree with you on how useful and helpful the restaurant reviews can be on Urbanspoon. I use the reviews frequently, but I do find that often times I do not submit content to such platforms. Do you contribute your own reviews? Do you think that people are more likely to contribute content if they have had a bad experience?

    • I think there is a huge discrepancy between the number of user vs. the number of contributors. This is not unlike Wikipedia or other sites that are highly dependent on user contributions. I think people are more likely to contribute when the experience is really good or when the experience is really bad, kinda like a U-shaped curve.

  3. I find myself using Yelp! quite a bit after we had mentioned it earlier this year in class. In January I got my first smart phone (Droid 2 Global) and I have sort of been crash coursing into the Android Market. Yelp! has been a great tool for me though. I not only use if for the comments and critiques, but also for other information such as getting a phone number for Parthenon when I want carry out, or directions to a bakery for donuts after my morning runs. I also am concerned with what you described as the U shape on comments. Typically they are motivated by either very poor or very positive experiences. How can they be averaged out? I think Yelp! attempts to even out the posts by giving incentives (coupons) for people to post. Is it enough, though?

  4. You know, I have never used either site. I’m not sure why I haven’t. Maybe thats why I tend to go to the same few restaurants! I need to start using it. I wonder if they have an Android app!!

  5. As I am a new comer to using social media to check out venues, I have found myself trusting what others said by word of mouth. It seems as though I could potentially fore-go the ACTUAL social connection that is shared by physically engaging in a conversation about a particular restaurant, but maybe I’m old-fashioned. The funny thing is though, regardless of the comment or review whether it’s on the web or in person, a recommendation is a recommendation. I’ll have to check this out! Thankx!

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