In the world of popular culture, the adage is “You’re no one unless you’ve been on T.V.”How times have changed. The web has catapulted withdrawn reclusives into to the global spotlight within minutes. And so it goes for restaurants. Online restaurant reviews have crested on the foodie scene making them one of the most powerful marketing tools since word of mouth.
Internet usage has literally exploded within the past decade. Most online users claim the Internet plays such a major role in their daily life, users claim they’d be adversely affected if they were unable to be online. I can vouch for that. Between sites like reddit and social media, I hardly ever get off my computer of my smart phone. But, perhaps the most useful and controversial use of the web is online restaurant reviews.
Another powerful leveraging tool in online restaurant reviews lies in the opportunity to read honest firsthand accounts of dining experiences from everyday people, as opposed to what we all know are patronizing reviews by celebrities and food critics.
“Based on comments from over 5,000 survey participants, Forrester reports that trust in online consumer reviews is second only to trust in email that comes from people we know”
Karon Thackston notes in Marketing Words that according to Deloitte & Touche USA, “Consumer Survey: Market Transparency”as reported by eMarketer, 99% of Internet consumers find consumer-generated online reviews to be credible.
And AIS Media, Inc., a leading e-business solutions company found through an online poll of America’s consumers concerning the restaurant industry, 89% of consumers have researched a restaurant online prior to visiting a restaurant.
The advantages in unbiased restaurant reviews extend not only to patrons but to restaurants as well. Just as a “wiki”is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses them to contribute or modify content, so can a restaurant owner process negative feedback from an online review, modify or make changes based on said reviews, then post back comments on the Web discussing the changes, along with an invitation for disappointed customers to venture back for a another visit.
Besides providing an invaluable word of mouth asset to restaurants “- and everyone knows word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising ” Web restaurant reviews supply another unique and priceless advantage: patrons actively seeking restaurants. The print and media drawbacks in advertising have long been known for their inefficient “shotgun approach”in reaching potential consumers. Research has shown the most cost effective advertising dollars are spent on narrow target based audiences, especially “seeking”audiences. Food sites such as FriendsEat, serve as a kind of “Consumer Reports”clearinghouse for diners seeking restaurants or vice versa, all across the county, even around the world.
In fact, just for fun, check out some restaurant reviews now. Go to the main page and scroll down. I’m in the mood for a little Latin American cuisine.
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