Its been 5 years since i joined yelp.com and 550+ reviews later and i’m a Yelp Elite Gold Member now. I’ve slowed down quite a bit since i started, partly because i’m eating at fewer new places and that i like to think about what i’m writing about a little more.
My overall opinion of the social review site is that at its core its still a super useful tool and i still use it on a regular basis to find places to eat and go. I do judge their star rating with slightly less immediate reaction and go more on the actual text written within the reviews. The more i dig into reviews i’ve found that most negative reviews tend to focus on very specific incidents that may or may not happen on random visit to a restaurant. Whether the host is rude, table reservation wait times are off, miscommunication with the waitstaff or a certain level unsaid expectations that were not met.
I start any search by looking at the most negative reviews and see if it was just a bad day for the establishment or if its truly a bad place to go. I then focus in on keywords when judging the facts that shouldn’t really change on random visits; menu items, costs, quality ingredients and all based on what type of establishment it is. Basically you shouldn’t expect table service at a fast food joint, you should expect slower food delivery in fine dining, and don’t let one person’s bad experience affect your decision on where to eat … that is unless it is a trend in multiple reviews.
Tuesday night i went to my first Yelp Elite Gold Event down in Huntington Beach, but without Joy since there were no +1 for this specific event. It was a long hour and half drive down to OC but it was like all typical elite events with an introduction of the food and drinks being served by the host restaurant and just a free for all once the food starts coming. I met a couple interesting people and left with a couple wine openers, a cupcake and a pocket full of Chapstick.