Andrew Zimmern thinks Yelp is useless. The host of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” on the Travel Channel offered an alternative to looking up restaurants on Yelp in an interview with Business Insider.
His issue with the review site is that it crowdsources a lack of expertise. Instead of relying on trusted advisors or experts to recommend the best restaurants or other local businesses, you’re relying on people who have no expertise in this area. So as an alternative, Zimmern says that he identifies chefs and foodies in the area he’s going to visit and then searches their social media accounts for thoughts on the best local spots.
This doesn’t mean that Yelp is actually useless for food businesses. There are plenty of people who look at online reviews before making dining decisions. But it does mean that Yelp isn’t the only thing you should consider when marketing your restaurant to local consumers.
Some businesses have taken their reliance on Yelp to new levels — even paying for fake reviews on the site, which is never a good idea. Instead, it could be a good strategy to take Zimmern’s advice into account and focus a little more on influencer marketing and hope that positive reviews also follow.
To do this, you can network with some popular food bloggers, chefs or other foodies in your community and encourage them to share their thoughts about your restaurant online. Then ideally, this could help you attract some new customers who are likely to really appreciate the quality of your restaurant or local business. And maybe they’ll even leave you some positive reviews on Yelp.
Andrew Zimmern Photo via Shutterstock