Which local restaurant critics, reviewers, bloggers and others are the most influential? That is a difficult question to answer and some believe it is based, at least in part, on their number of social media followers.
However, a recent New York Times article, The Follower Factory, has ignited discussions about fake followers on various social media platforms. People can purchase fake followers, to increase their numbers so that they seem more popular and influential. For some "influencers," the number of their followers directly affects how much money they generate, so there is a clear incentive to raise their follower numbers, even if they must buy them. As such, followers numbers may not be a good measure of influence.
Before dining out, many consumers consult restaurant reviews to assist in determining where they should eat. They may read newspapers, magazines, blogs, message boards, and social media sites. Sometimes they'll 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 they checked out.
Unfortunately, many of these diners fail to mention to any of the restaurant employees the reason for why they chose to dine there. They eat in silence, remaining anonymous, and no one realizes what drew that customer to that particular spot. As such, restaurants don't understand the full extent and influence of specific restaurant reviews. A large piece of the overall puzzle remains missing and I, and others, would like to see that puzzle completed as much as possible. Restaurant owners certainly would love to know whose reviews led people to dine at their establishment.
Personally, 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 beneficial to the restaurants as well. I receive feedback from some of readers, and know at least some have let restaurants know they visited due to reading one of my reviews.
I know that I am not alone, and that other writers and bloggers would love to hear more feedback on their reviews. So I encourage you to do a similar favor to them. If a review motivates you to visit a certain restaurant, then let that restaurant know which review led you there. Let your voice be heard, and it will cost you no more than a few moments of your time.
Tell the restaurant who sent you.