In a post for Cleveland.com, former restaurant critic David Farkas provides a very useful list of suggestions for how restaurant diners can make their online reviews more relevant and helpful to other consumers.
Here are some of the tips we think are the most important:
1. Tone it down: Odds are that your cold burrito wasn’t your “WORST MEAL EVER” or that, of all the pizza places in the entire world that the joint on your corner is the “best in the world!” If either of those situations are true, consider yourself very lucky. Regardless, Farkas says that this sort of language doesn’t really make for a helpful review. He suggests using comparisons to other restaurants to provide some context rather than just slapping “best” or “worst” labels on an eatery.
2. Talk about the staff: This suggestion goes beyond the usual “The waiter was rude” or “the host was pleasant” type of statement.
“I’m referring to the temperament of the place,” explains Farkas. “Do servers look like they’re having a good time? Are they dressed neatly? Do they seem distracted? Help readers grasp the ambiance on the day you visited.”
3. Remain anonymous: This may seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but several “elite” reviewers for Yelp and other sites have been accused of announcing their presence and demanding special treatment, or just putting the staff on notice that they are being reviewed. These few rotten apples aren’t about providing unbiased reviews for consumers, but are more about making themselves feel like VIPs.
“[H]int online that you’re Mr. Somebody when you drop by this joint and your cred is shot,” writes Farkas.