UnderCover Waitress: Astroturf Restaurant Reviews

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Astroturf Restaurant Reviews

Ever read restaurant reviews? Don't bother.

Years ago, a new sushi restaurant on the West Coast wanted to get some positive press and attention. The owners did the same thing that lots of restaurants do when they want good press.

Was friends with a woman who had just gotten a job working for a local rag. She and her husband invited my roommate and me out to dinner. The deal was two free entrees for a positive restaurant review. There were numerous reasons, however, that they did not deserve a positive review.

I can read and understand coupon deals. One thing that got under my skin was that the sushi we were expected to order (it was a sushi restaurant) was not covered in the coupon deal. Hard to review something if you don't taste it, but then, this was more like paid for creative writing as opposed to an honest review. What was and was not covered became a bone of contention between my friend and the restaurant owner.

The restaurant owner obviously felt that this was a business deal that he needed to get over with. We received horrible service that night and, honestly, the food wasn't that great. No wonder they needed to bribe a newspaper for a good review. My friend had little choice in the matter; if she wrote an honest review she could easily lose her new job.

I don't know what percentage of reviews are honest and written by people who were not known as restaurant reviewers when they ate out. I don't know the percentage of paid for, astroturf restaurant reviews. I certainly don't trust any restaurant reviews when the paper publishes the reviewer's photograph. Hard to dine out incognito when everybody knows what you look like.

I do know that I don't believe everything I read.


  1. Hi Friends,

    You have created a great site, which is explain about astroturf restaurant reviews. These reviews are very honest and written by people who were not known as restaurant reviewers. Thanks a lot....

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