Why This Restaurant Critic is Not Afraid of Losing His Job to Yelpers

In the age of social media platforms and user-created content, is there still a place for the restaurant food critic as we used to know it?

On this episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman, sits down with Jason Sheehan, a former professional chef turned food writer— a venture that lead him to win a James Beard Award and later author several books.

Sheehan, who’s now a restaurant critic for Philadelphia magazine, likes “the idea of someone going to a restaurant, having something good or having something awful and then telling people about it.”

“There is a part of me that likes Yelp and other platforms like it. I like the notion of the democratization of restaurant criticism…I have no problem with that whatsoever,” says Sheehan. “What kills me is the weight that it’s given…”

Listen in to this entertaining episode as these two chefs/writers debate the role of media and restaurants in the modern age and why Jason Sheehan is not worried about losing his job to Yelpers!

Hosted by:

Jim Berman

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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7 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making in Your Restaurant

7 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making in Your Restaurant
  • These catastrophic mistakes can lead to your restaurant’s demise.

  • How do you avoid making them?

This year could be your best ever. The restaurant industry is approaching epic market growth and that is the sign of a healthy economy. The downside is that the market can only support so many restaurants before the bubble bursts and many will close their doors in the wake of the restaurant apocalypse coming. It truly is Darwinian Theory at work. The strong will survive and the weak (or average) will perish.

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GrubHub Partners With Yelp to Offer Delivery From More than 80,000 Restaurants

GrubHub Partners With Yelp to Offer Delivery From More than 80,000 Restaurants

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, GrubHub and Yelp have expanded their partnership. GrubHub delivery will now be made available from twice as many restaurants on the Yelp website bringing the total number of restaurants to more than 80,000.

This move may prove to be extremely beneficial for GrubHub who has been feeling tension with the many food delivery companies like UberEats and DoorDash trying to grab the top spot.

This partnership with Yelp is actually the last step in what has been a major move for GrubHub. The food delivery giant acquired Eat24 for $288 million. This partnership is aimed at not only garnering more market visibility but also increasing convenience and cutting delivery fees and delivery time. Digital Trends says ”if multiple orders are generated through Yelp, drivers will be able to make multiple deliveries on a single trip.”

“I see a point where we could conceivably have extremely low if not free delivery for consumers,” GrubHub co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Maloney told The Wall Street Journal.

Yelp is adding to the pot as well by trying to up their game as customer’s first stop before a dining experience. With this new focus on delivery, Yelp just released a list of the top-ranked restaurants on their site that offer delivery through their app.

With even super-cheap restaurants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell adding themselves to the delivery game, delivery companies will need to figure out how to get delivery prices below the price of a dollar menu meal if they want to scrape up that market.  

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Yext is Driving Restaurant Discovery and Online Orders

Yext is Driving Restaurant Discovery and Online Orders

It’s no secret we live in a very competitive restaurant environment.

Not only do we have more cuisine options, but we have more brick-and-mortars that offer different atmospheres and experiences than ever before.

There’s also the increasing shift towards online ordering and food delivery by consumers with a fast-paced lifestyle who are looking for convenience and speed.

Needless to say, restaurant visits have been declining year over year and it’s more important than ever to capitalize on the few opportunities available to amp foot traffic to your restaurants.

So how can restaurants maximize visibility in such a saturated environment?

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Yelp Analysis Shows Strong Consumer Preference for Independent Restaurants

Yelp Analysis Shows Strong Consumer Preference for Independent Restaurants

Tuesday, Yelp released the second edition of their Local Economic Outlook, ranking U.S. metro areas by the pace of growth in their local-business population. Using their deep data stores, Yelp analyzed review ratings for chain and independent restaurants in the 50 metro areas included in the outlook.

The research indicates a shift in consumer perceptions of restaurants. Citing the “celebrity-chef” movement, the data shows a tremendous rise in in independent restaurants over the last 5 years.

Comparatively, fast food restaurants have seen a notable decrease in average ratings, about 16% between 2012 and 2017.

While chain restaurants across the country encounter increasingly choosy diners, independent fast-food and fast-casual restaurants have seen a continued increase in average ratings, improving by 7 percent in the last five years. Ratings for casual-dining chain restaurants held up better, unchanged on average, though they lagged behind their independent competitors, which gained a quarter of a rating point between 2012 and 2017.

“Historically, chain growth has outpaced the broader restaurant industry growth, but in the past three years we’ve actually seen independents and smaller operators outperform chains,” said Dave Henkes, Senior Principal at food industry research firm, Technomic. “It’s clear that consumers are voting with their dollars and are rewarding those restaurants that provide a resonating point of difference in the overall experience.”

It’s important to note that while many people might associate the phrases “fast food” and “fast casual” with chain restaurants, many restaurants that provide that type of experience are independent. The data shows that the type of restaurant (fast food, fast-casual, or casual) is much less important than their appearance as either a chain or independant restaurant.

Visit “Yelp” to see how the 50 major U.S. metro areas compare in local-business success throughout 2017 including which business categories are growing fastest, how restaurants compare and how diners in the metro rate chains and independent restaurants.

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