By Keith Rydh
From many years of being a foodie, and being the creator of a review based website, I plan my travels around food. That means that I will research countless locations, check out various restaurants’ websites (and surprisingly a lot of restaurants could use help there), and read many reviews. Those reviews range from being very helpful to just plain useless. From experience I can tell when the reviewer doesn’t quite know what they are talking about and can certainly see some reviews as purposefully spiteful for no good reason.
A review first of all, is feedback, both positive and negative, for a restaurant and potential guest. A review is also your opinion! I encourage you to be honest about your dining experience, however, with that comes responsibility. When writing your review treat it as personal feedback that you are giving to the restaurant owner and management. Please be respectful in how and what you write. And for God’s sake use proper grammar and spelling! If you do have a bad experience please write about it but in a gracious way. For example, it appears more professional to say the food was under cooked or over cooked as opposed to just saying the food was lousy. A good review is not biased praise or a personal attack on a person or place, but rather information to tell the restauranteur what they are doing well and what could be improved upon. Lastly be consistent with your reviews and ratings. Have a plan on what you review and how you set your level for scoring.
Being a professional food critic and writer, I like to write my reviews in a step-by-step fashion. Typically I will start with parking, ambiance, decor and an overall first impression of the location. I will then touch on the staff as logically, I “should” be met by a greeter, followed by interacting with the wait staff. Next I’ll observe the menu, recognize the organization of it, or lack thereof, and glance at the overall pricing of the selections. I follow that by the food itself based upon plating, temperature, and taste. Then I complete my review with a summation of the total experience explaining the high and low points (if any) and justify my overall score.
Please also remember that the staff, including chefs, cooks, servers, etc. are people! They may make mistakes from time to time, or may just be having a bad day. Be kind but honest. The reviews are ways for the restaurant to improve upon poor experiences as well as commend their staff when doing a great job. And believe me, they all work hard for you!