Beyond Reviews 9/19/14

How many times have you used website reviews to gauge whether to go to a restaurant? Alternatively – have you ever had an experience worth reviewing, only to see that other people’s experiences seem to have been the exact opposite of yours?

Either way – you’re not alone. Review sites are inherently biased – and not just the ones that manipulate reviews. This is one of the major foibles with the public rating system, bad experiences are shared more often than good ones.

According to a survey from April 2013 – 45% of people have shared a bad customer service experience while only 30% share positive ones. Not only does that skew ratings naturally, but it sets the bar even higher to provide a superlative experience for the customer.

Ratings sites are also notoriously inconsistent: A restaurant in Atlanta has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, but only 3.5 on YELP.

Beyond the review sites, the content isn’t much more reliable. Google any city and “food” and you’ll get pages and pages of Top whatever restaurants. In Orlando, for example, most of the top 50 restaurants are fast food or chains, including Red Lobster and Sweet Tomatoes. What were the criteria for that list?

These perplexing algorithms also lead to situations like a six-week old restaurant being rated 14th out of 3431 with more well established restaurants with better ratings further down the list. It’s nearly impossible to make a well-informed decision when you’re looking at biased information.

Peruse and Choose: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place you could go (that was cleaner than your junk drawer) that has all the area’s menus available for you to peruse and choose based on your own criteria? That’s why we created MostlyMenus – let the menus do the talking.

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