Before dining out, many people consult restaurant reviews, to assist in determining where they should eat. They may read newspapers, check out blogs, or consult food sites such as Urbanspoon and Chowhound. Sometimes they will read multiple reviews of a restaurant, while other times a single review will catch their eye. Based on what they find, they may select a certain restaurant, finding a compelling reason in the review(s) they checked out. Even those who write restaurant reviews still consult the reviews of others, to learn about places they have not visited yet.
From my own experiences, I know that some people have gone to restaurants based on my recommendations and reviews. I have received some limited feedback confirming this fact, not only from customers but also from the restaurants themselves. But, this limited amount of information can be troubling, not only for myself but for others as well. I would like to know how many people visit restaurants based on my words. Restaurant owners certainly would love to know whose reviews led people to dine at their place. In general, knowing such matters would also help understand the extent of the influence of food blogs and citizen review sites.
Unfortunately, many diners, who patronize a restaurant based on a review fail to tell either the restaurant or the reviewer of that fact. They eat in silence, remaining anonymous, and no one realizes what drew that customer to that particular place. So the full influence of restaurant reviews is never known. A piece of the overall puzzle remains missing and I, and others, would like to see that puzzle completed as much as possible.
If one of my readers dines at a restaurant based on one of my reviews, and they enjoy their meal, I would appreciate a small favor in return. First, please tell the restaurant that you visited them based on my recommendation. Second, please tell me where you dined based on my review. That would be very useful to me, and would be helpful to the restaurants as well. The same thing would apply to everything else I have reviewed here, from wines to books. Let your voice be heard, and tell people where you learned of their products. It will cost you no more than a few moments of your time.
I know that I am not alone, and that other bloggers would love to hear more feedback on their reviews. So I encourage you to do a similar favor to them. If you like what they recommend, let it be known. You benefited from their reviews so give them a little something in exchange. Let us all fill in the puzzle of the extent of influence of these myriad reviews.
Tell them I sent you.