When it comes to trying out a new restaurant, determining whether or not you should give a place your money is made all the more difficult by the lack of quality reviews available online. The best way to navigate this minefield is with some help from Yelp users who have eaten inside the establishment you are planning on visiting. If they’re writing fair, warm reviews then chances are that it’s worth checking out. However, a handful of dishonest trolls consistently try to fool readers into thinking their terrible experience was at the very place you’re looking forward to dining.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 12 types of reviews you need to look out for on Yelp. Countless experts have written in-depth articles about this subject in the past, and it’s fairly easy to look out for these reviews based on their obvious titles. However, a couple is more difficult for the average reader to spot – so keep this list handy if you want to keep your restaurant experience as pleasurable as possible!
The Cynical Review.
The best way to spot this kind of review is by its title. I can just imagine the cynical restaurant reviewer, making a baseless accusation about the quality of food and using a photo of something that looks absolutely nothing like what they ordered. The person behind this review will usually respond to comments on their post by trying to shift the blame off of themselves and onto the restaurant itself.
The Crazed On-Off Foodie:
This is a very common phenomenon, especially at more fast-food chain-style restaurants. These reviews will go back and forth between praising the establishment as the best in town and bashing it as just another greasy spoon. Then, after many visits, the writer will suddenly agree with the positive comments and give it a 3-star rating.
The “I Can’t Believe They Impersonated Your Sandwich” Review:
This is one of my personal favorites. These reviews will come out during busy dinner hours, either right before or right after – but only right before. It typically comes from someone who has tried to order something off the menu and had it completely misrepresented, ultimately leading them to leave very dissatisfied. There are even entire websites dedicated to these kinds of complaints, like Menuism.com.
The Backhanded Complaint: This is a very popular review used by a lot of different Yelp users. They will usually complain about something being terrible but then say it in such a way that you can tell they enjoyed the item, even to the point where they want to go back to try it again. This is a form of false advertising and should be avoided like the plague.
The Dissing Review: Similar to the backhanded compliment, these reviews are often used by people who aren’t big fans of an establishment but don’t want to admit it. Instead they will bash a place and then make excuses for why it was so terrible – usually to deflect the blame off of themselves!
The Product Review: Another common tactic employed by Yelp reviewers who are loyal to an establishment. These people will buy the food, eat it and then write a glowing review about it. One of my favorite examples is from when I actually tried to review some of the menu items at a restaurant – but I decided it wasn’t worth my time.
The “I Wanted Something Different” Complaint: Some people have no idea how to order food at a restaurant, so they’ll just ask for whatever their heart desires regardless of what is on the menu or if the item has already been served. This leads them to either having nothing to eat or a very unpleasant experience by implying that they have no idea what they’re doing.
The “I Found This Weird Sh*t on Instagram” Complaint: This one is pretty self-explanatory – a person will go out and find some crazy looking food on the internet and then try to bring it into your restaurant, but you’ll never see him or her ever again.
The “I ‘Accidentally’ Stole Your Sandwich” Complaint: This kind of complaint is definitely my personal favorite for its level of creativity. These people will leave a review under the name of a restaurant that has nothing to do with their meal, but somehow ends up attached to their sandwich. They’ll say something like “I wanted a BLT, but this was my BLT. I got it because I thought it was better than the one I ordered.”
The “I Threw Up in My Mouth” Complaint: These are difficult to spot and will only appear on Yelp in certain locations – but they’re always hilarious. Basically, someone has had so much to drink that they ended up vomiting in the bathroom.
The “I Was Robbed” Complaint: This is not that common, but it happens more often than you think. In this complaint, the customer says something was stolen from them – usually some other person’s wallet. Of course, these same individuals will also complain about how unkind the staff of a restaurant was toward them as well.
The “Why Isn’t That Extra Item On The Menu?” Review: These are like product reviews except they’re Yelp users talking about items on the menu. They’ll pay for an item and then complain when their order doesn’t include one of the items on the menu. Really? Come on.
The “I Like To Make People Uncomfortable With My Overly Specific Request” Complaint: This kind of complaint is similar to the previous type, except instead of ordering something that’s not on the menu, people will just ask for something specific. “Superior muffuletta” or “Hand-cut baby carrots with a sky blue dressing.” Get it?
The “I Found That Yelp Review” Complaint: These are the ones that will come later in the day after you’ve been running around all day and had a hard time making it to a restaurant before it closes. A lot of them will thank Yelp for notifying them about your closing time, but then proceed to throw a fit about the fact that you’re closed.
The “I Was Charged Too Much for a Sandwich” Complaint: Who orders a sandwich at a restaurant, I mean? Someone who’s hungry, right? How is it that they were charged too much for one? They usually try to imply that the establishment ripped them off with some kind of sob story, and they only spent $8.50 to begin with.
The “Unfamiliarity With The Menu” Complaint: This one is pretty self-explanatory. You go to a restaurant you’re unfamiliar with, and there are so many options that it’s confusing and overwhelming. If a person’s unsure about what they want to order, don’t go in and pick the most expensive thing on the menu or make an elaborate drink order – just don’t put yourself in those situations.
The “I’m An Expert On Food!” Complaint: This one is pretty self-explanatory. The people behind this complaint will talk about why their food was the best thing ever made and how they know more about what they’re eating than the average person – typically men in their late teens or twenties who know nothing about food.
The “I’m Going To Yelp You” Complaint: This one is kind of like an insult to the site’s integrity. A person will make a point to warn you that they’ll be leaving an honest, critical review on Yelp. It’s just kind of a dick move.
The “I Found Your Menu Online” Complaint: These are pretty rare, but it happens more often than people realize. It’s exactly what it sounds like; someone will see a menu online and order from it without visiting your restaurant.
The “I Told My Friends To Yelp You” Complaint: These are pretty self-explanatory. After a person receives an amazing experience from your establishment, they will warn their friends to come by and check it out so they can write a review. It’s like the “I told my friends to Google you” complaint, but with less integrity.
The “Friend who has Just Eaten Here Says The Service Was Terrible” Complaint is one of my favorite complaints because they’re ridiculous. A person will say that as soon as they arrived at your establishment, the entire staff received a text message to slow down service because they were in a rush. How is that even possible?
I’m sure there are more, but these are some of the most common ones. I’m all for constructive criticism, but an honest review without any of these things is perfectly fine! We welcome it.
The Yelpers have spoken, and you should definitely listen to them before visiting that new restaurant. Follow, comment, and share this article to help others make informed decisions about where to eat. Thanks for reading!