review disappearances

I read of a new restaurant in my sisters neighborhood and tried to do some research to tell her about the place. I actually found 2 or 3 reviews (on yelp) that were pretty bad - I called to warn her but we didn’t connect til the next day when I learned that she had gone to this new place the night before with a large party of friends. It was not a hit with anyone and no one intends to return (for a myriad of reasons). The reviews that I read to her on the day after she dined there (wednesday this week) are now nowhere to be found. Nothing on yelp (no reviews for this place at all) and no reviews show in a search.

Can reviews just evaporate from yelp?

Reviews on anywhere can just evaporate if the site owners evaporate them.

I used to contribute to a local review site. I was fine for about 12 months - all my meals had been enjoyable. And then came the negative review. It disappeared after about 24 hours. I contacted the site, assuming some techie issue, only to be told that they had decided not to publish negative reviews. This was partially because of malicious reviews and partly because of flak from restaurant owners (the “mistake” the site had was that it had a commercial arm which offered various services to restaurants ). Now a review site that won’t publish negative reviews is pretty much useless - if you see a place that has no reviews do you assume that there hasnt been any reviews or that they were all negative and have been evaporated. Almost needless to say, I haven’t posted to that site since that day.

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Probably . Yelp … I just use it to see when the restaurant is open . If I want a review I will go to the restaurant and have lunch . See what it is about . Yes or no If you are a out of towner visiting . You can use your judgement . While visiting a new restaurant . Are you scanning other peoples plates while being seated ? Roll with the punches .

Judgement also comes into play. If a place is new and there are few to no reviews than it’s probably not a red flag. But if it has been open for 6 months or a year (even in smaller towns) and there are no reviews, than there probably isn’t much good to say about a place. I never take much creedance in a particular review - but no reviews for a place open for more than a couple months is a red flag.

Since most people only post to Yelp if they’re biased toward OR against a place, I’d have to see the lack of reviews as neutral. So nothing great but nothing really bad. When food or service are really bad it’s highly unlikely it won’t draw negative comments. The only time I’ve seen reviews not show had been in the ‘not recommended’ category, or whatever they call it when the review is suspect for some reason.

When I read review about a certain restaurant, especially when travelling, I always checked several sources (Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook, I seldom use Yelp) with the recommendations of food forum, blogs. I look especially at the negative reviews, many better restaurants, the usual complains is expensive, but good food. If a restaurant got some bad review of “tasteless” food or too many foreigners and no locals visiting, can be a red flag even if they had good reviews. Recently, when I travelled in Finland, Vietnam and Hong Kong, I checked also the local food rating sites, although, it is time consuming to do Google translation. In Vietnam, a few recommendations from English speaking sites, I verified with foodie.vn, and saw terrible reviews, I just took something that has good rating in the local site but was never mentioned in any English sites, and was happy.

I’m pretty aware of bad review manipulations, so a relative new restaurant with a lot of positive reviews may be marketing effort rather than authentic reviews. The pictures of food might help at times.

I find TripAdvisor to be a major culprit here. I’m thinking of a restaurant near me which has many reviews, all positive, but the wording is stupidly almost the same on every one (not least in mentioning how the manager is a great guy). All of these reviews come from first time posters.

But it’s impossible to avoid. Quite often if you are away from major cities, even travelling in America, TA is all you have as a resource.

I think at times, we should trust our instinct too. If arriving at a restaurant at peak time and find it empty, maybe need to rethink before entering… even they have “good reviews”. I know that some restaurants offer percentage off the meal if you post a positive review or offer a gift, if you “like” the restaurant in the Facebook.

I hate the empty (or almost empty) restaurant. However good the food, the lack of atmosphere means I enjoy the meal less.

There’s a pretty good Italian place in the city. First time we went, we were literally the only customers. Been back since and it’s been fine.

I think the most disappointing recent experience was in Vicksburg, Mississippi last year. Lovely old house converted to a restaurant. They made a great play of the history and that the food had its roots in that history (very shallow roots , if so - it just wasnt very good). But the worst was that they only had about 5 customers and they had spread us all out right across the building - so another occupied table in the room we were in; a couple more in another room and a single table occupied in a thrid room. No atmosphere whatsoever and, in fact, you felt like you had to speak in hushed tones so as not to disturb the other table (who were also speaking in hushed tones).

I see you have received a variety of answers regarding your question so I won’t bother you with another. I will however offer you a potential solution, have your sister and all her friends sign up here at Hungry Onion and post their review! I can promise you that good, bad or indifferent it will be there for the world to see!! (as long as it’s not our right inflammatory in it’s nature)

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold