Why Professional Critics Are More Reliable Than Customer Reviews


London, like the rest of the United Kingdom, is still negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact the UK as a whole, but in particular England, are among the hardest hit countries in Europe and with the government currently signalling interest in steadily moving towards a reopened economy, this health crisis is unlikely to go away in the near term.

For businesses this means either continued closure or at least decreased revenue. For consumers, this means that many of our interests and hobbies are no longer possible to pursue in the way we used to. While pubs opened their doors once more in the beginning of July, barely a month later the Prime Minister paused the reopening schedule, suggesting that although things are on an upward trajectory, we ought to prepare for potential delays to a return to normalcy as the virus returns a little bit with each phase of reopening.

For us foodies this is a big deal – a central part of finding the best local dining options and hottest new eats is trying out new locations, and part of the experience of eating out is the environment and ambience of the restaurants we visit. Yet to stay safe during the continued pandemic, we are finding ourselves in a situation where we need to rely on food deliveries to bring our food to us as we remain in our homes.

Because we can’t scout out new places, this places an even bigger focus on relying on others’ reviews of local food options. But this presents a huge challenge, it is well-established by now that more customers who are dissatisfied leave reviews than those who enjoyed their meals! That is also why you’ll find that essentially every food delivery service is negatively reviewed on sites like TrustPilot – you expect your food to arrive on time and as ordered and only really are prompted to leave a review when something has gone wrong! Deliveroo, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Just Eat all score below 1.5 stars out of 5!

What’s more, relying on customer reviews for indications of individual restaurants’ quality is also problematic. The act of review bombing – posting negative customer reviews for purposes other than the quality of the product purchased – is commonplace in the restaurant industry as negative reviews stem from all sorts of nefarious actions. Just last year the Guardian reported on this issue and the legal problems that Google, amongst others, are experiencing as a consequence.

So, if customer reviews of both restaurants and food delivery services are potentially not indicative of quality, then where can you go to find trusted reviews? The best answer to this question is to find a reviewer, or indeed multiple reviewers, who host their reviews on a site rather than listen to random customers, who may be posting irrelevant or false reviews. Find someone whose taste you share and stay up to date with their recommendations and stop looking at aggregated reviews from internet strangers!

Less common in the restaurant industry but seen elsewhere are sites hosting the reviews of a whole trusted panel of expert reviewers. In more traditionally digital sectors like online gambling, slot sites such as Labslots provide their users with trusted reviews of the best online slot sites in the UK. Keep an eye out for this style of review, which is focussed completely on the consumer and ensuring the review is written specifically for customers.

Expert critics and review sites are undoubtedly worth much more than customer reviews in 2020.