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Favorable Yelp Reviews Can Increase A Restaurant’s Dinner Reservations By 19%


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Customer evaluations travel very far in this day and age of tweets and mobile phone check-ins. As increasingly more foodies start relying on word-of-mouth restaurant reviews, the yelp reviews rating system can certainly have a serious impact on a restaurant’s success.

Economic experts at the University of California, Berkeley, released a study recently in the Economic Journal, that examined the impact of the yelp reviews system ratings. The study revealed that an improvement of just one-half star in a restaurant’s rating increased their business by 19 percent during peak dining hours.

U.C. Berkeley professors, Jeremy Magruder and Michael Anderson, discovered that Yelp ratings influenced not only customer flows but also the likelihood of them making a reservation. The study made a comparison of online word-of-mouth yelp reviews of 328 San Francisco dining places with the number of nightly reservations for each restaurant.

Anybody can be a critic on Yelp’s website (www.yelp.com). Since Yelp’s launching in 2004, the Internet reviews website receives approximately 78 million unique visitors each quarter. It has certainly become a popular guide to cities around the world. Users are urged to add new places to their directory. Individuals can visit the website in order to find the best-reviewed eateries, stores and places to relax. Visitors often base their purchasing selections on Yelp reviews and ratings.

Yelp Reviews and Rating System

Users are able to assign up to five stars to local restaurants and businesses. The Yelp reviews system rounds up the rating scores to the nearest one-half star. A restaurant that has a rating of 3.24 will just show 3 stars. A restaurant with 5 or more positive Yelp reviews that has an average rating of 3.26 rating will receive 3.5 stars. Just a half-star improvement means the restaurant has a 19 percent of completely filling-up their nightly reservations schedule.

The study (PDF) goes on to state that Yelp’s ratings have significant effects on customer flows for restaurants. The report suggests that restaurants definitely have some motivation to control their Yelp ratings by posting positive reviews that are not genuine.

At this time, Yelp states there are almost 30 million reviews on their website. Even so, critics do point out there is a high number of Yelp reviews that are not authentic. There are some companies that offer to write phony positive reviews for restaurants and other small businesses that will increase their ratings up to 4 or 4.5 stars. The study basically concludes that restaurants have a big incentive to post fake Yelp reviews to increase their star rating.

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