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Yelp Responsibly

1I love Yelp and I use it almost everyday, especially as I continue to learn more about the amazing restaurants in every neighborhood in this gigantic city. The way I use Yelp in Chicago is to look at the general amount of stars and then read what folks are saying in general. Having worked in a restaurants for many, many years pre-dietitian, I understand how personal eating out can be and we now have this powerful platform to spread both useful as well as very petty information to others.

If you are interested, there is a funny conversation here where others share their Yelp stories. Which dish was your favorite?  What is the best seat in the house? What is the owners name and how can you meet her when you’re there?  Is there a secret free parking lot down the street? These may be helpful tips to others. Was there a long wait on a Wednesday night? Did you order a dish that really didn’t work for you (and not just based on personal taste)? Was the service truly bad or abusive? Do teenagers flood the coffee shop after school every afternoon at 4:30pm?  Again – helpful and not overly personalized. However, if the food didn’t suit your individual taste, you didn’t like what the server was wearing, or if you got cut off for being drunk and you’re really pissed about it….probably not helpful to other potential customers.

I was out with a friend recently and we went to a small, local sushi spot. It was a little loud in there – the acoustics with a tall ceiling were likely the issue. As soon as we sat down, she got out her phone and gave them a bad review based on the noise. Did this issue deserve a spot in her post? Yup, I think so. But we hadn’t even given the food or service a chance yet. There may have been some other good things to write about but she posted something negative from the start that may drive people away even though it turned out to be a great place.

Before you Yelp, please stop and think: was this just a personal experience or would it REALLY benefit others to know? Keep in mind that a lot of restaurants, at least where I live, are small businesses run by families. If you post a bad review that isn’t very legitimate or is based on personal taste, it could have real and lasting affects on a family’s income. But Yelp is also an awesome platform for information sharing – I’m not talking censorship, rather responsible imparting of communication. Also, (this is the way I balance my life) if I vocalize a negative experience, I will also vocalize a positive one. If you slam a restaurant on Yelp, why not write your next review on somewhere you love and deserves some good publicity?

Do you Yelp? What do you find helpful about it and what drives you nuts? I’d love to know how you feel about it!


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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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