Welcome research on Restaurant recommendations and review site credibility!


imageIn what initially looked like an Eat Out survey about restaurant recommendations when I saw the Facebook post very late last night was in fact a survey conducted by Tokara to research sources of restaurant recommendations and review platform credibility. I was delighted to see that our WhaleTales Blog was included in the Survey as a source of restaurant review information.

Tokara Restaurant owner Wilhelm Kühn is writing his dissertation for an Executive MBA at the UCT Graduate School of Business, and designed the survey.  He introduced it as follows on the Tokara Facebook page:  ‘We have joined forces with UCT’s Graduate School of Business to research who our customers turn to when looking for a hot restaurant tip and the reasons why you contribute to restaurant review sites or applications. Please take the survey below – the 20 multi-choice questions only takes a few minutes to complete (depending on how decisive you are!)‘. A survey incentive is that 12 respondents will be invited to taste Chef Richard Carstens’ new summer menu!

We have provided the link to the survey above, and encourage all restaurant lovers to share their feelings about restaurant review sites, and the use and credibility thereof. One hopes that Tokara will make the information public on its completion, as it will be of interest to all who debate the reliability of information sources such as Eat Out, TripAdvisor, Zomato, our WhaleTales Blog, Relax-with-Dax, and other restaurant information sources. Interesting is that Kühn has not added the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards as a source of restaurant information. We noted earlier this week that Tokara did not receive an award, but this may be by choice or because they do not accept American Express credit cards. Food24 is also visible by its absence.  Of greatest interest will be the feedback regarding the credibility of TripAdvisor reviews, of which we all know that many reviews, both good and bad, are false, either to boost the rating of own restaurants or to bash and lower the rating of a competitor restaurant!

The questionnaire used by Kühn in his survey follows below. Personal details are said to be optional at the introduction to the survey.

1. What is your name?

2. At what email address would you like to be contacted?

*3. In the past 30 days, how many times did you eat out at restaurants?

*4. Do you prefer to visit

*5. Do you prefer restaurants that

*6. What is your most trusted source of information when choosing which restaurant to go to?


*7. Do you prefer restaurant recommendations that are

*8. How often to you contribute reviews or ratings of the restaurants you visited?

*9. Under which circumstances would you be more likely to post a review or rating?

10. Please rank which considerations are most to least important to you when posting a review or rating via a review site or application (1 being most important and 4 least important)

*11. Have you ever refrained from complaining while still at a restaurant as you wanted to post a review afterwards?

*12. Would you be less likely to post a negative review if there was an incentive available to you whereby a restaurant would be given the opportunity to address any remaining grievances, which had not been addressed on-site, within 24 hours?

*13. Do you prefer reading reviews by

14. Please rank the importance for you of the following characteristics of a reviewer, whether a professional critic or someone like you (1 being most important and 5 least important)

*15. What do you think is the modern-day role of professional restaurant critics with so much information available via social media and review sites?

*16. To what extent do high-profile restaurant awards influence you to visit a restaurant included on a “Top” or “Best Of” list?

*17. Do you regard “Top” or “Best Of” restaurant lists as

*18. Do you trust the views expressed by amateur reviewers on restaurant review sites?

*19. Would you regard the information available via online review sites as generally helpful even if a portion of, say, one in five of all reviews were found to be fake or fraudulent?

*20. Are you a member of a book club, cooking club or restaurant club?

*21. Would you be interested in participating in an online community where people with similar interests as you have a forum to discuss their restaurant and foodie experiences to learn from one another?

*22. Would you prefer access to such a community to be

POSTSCRIPT 10/9: I spoke to Wilhelm Kühn after posting this blogpost.  He told me that UCT will publish all dissertations once they have been handed in, early next year. He also confirmed that they do not accept American Express credit cards, and therefore are not eligible for their Awards. He told me that he has seen research which shows that up to 30% of TripAdvisor reviews are false!

 Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here

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