Consumer Trends

Seeing Stars: Peer dining reviews matter

The star ratings on consumer-generated websites, such as Yelp! and Chowhound, carry a lot of weight, according to a survey by the Dining Decision Ecosystem. The survey, conducted with 500 participants, found that after a friend’s recommendation, the Internet holds the biggest influence with patrons deciding where to eat.

  • 48.9% of respondents first look to a friend for restaurant suggestions, while 22.8% initially turn to consumer-generated websites for recommendations
  • 80.1% of respondents do additional research after receiving a recommendation from a friend. About 27.7% look at consumer-generated websites for more information and 27% go to the restaurant’s website
  • 16.5% of respondents named Google as their go-to for additional research
  • Respondents are relatively heavy users of restaurants. 52% dine out 2-4 times per week, 30% dine out 5-10 times per week, and 13.8% dine out once a week. 4% of respondents dine out more than 10 times per week
  • 8 out of 10 respondents said they influence their friends’, family and co-workers’ restaurant choices
  • A subset of 15.3% of respondents claimed they are “always” asked for recommendations; 97% of this subset said they are actively sought out for restaurant recommendations
  • This subset also more actively consults other media for information—70.4% versus 52.5% of all respondents said they regularly read the dinning section of their newspaper, while 2.9% of this subset versus 68.1% of all respondents said they regularly read food and restaurant related blogs

The survey concluded that while traditional media is losing steam in the battle of influencing diners, blogs and websites are generating more traffic to help people make informed, dining decisions.

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