I work here at Social Tap HQ and like to think I’m kind of savvy when it comes to restaurant choices. I follow the trends and see the reviews. It was only about six months ago when I noticed a Sydney blogger Simon Food Favourites had visited a few of our clients, and he caught my eye.
Pop over to his blog and you’ll see what I mean – nice, well-lit photos, clear and non-biased reviews, and a cheeky but trustworthy face.. am I right?
So let me tell you how I ended up with six of my family members at Papi Chulo on a wet Sunday.
I heard along the hospitality grapevine about the launch of Papi Chulo – and it looked great, but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that Simon’s review popped up into my Facebook newsfeed I knew I had to go next time I was in Sydney.
Typically consumers have to be shown a product or service several times before they commit to a purchase, but when they hear of the product from a trusted source it is a different story.
People build relationships with bloggers, and as a result, bloggers DO influence a patron’s decision making. It wasn’t until Michelle asked me why I booked Papi Chulo over Miss Chu’s (which has been on my bucket list for a long long time) that I explained, and realised, how much Simon’s opinion had swayed me.
The reality is I was only in Sydney for 48 hours and I wanted to take my family somewhere I knew was family friendly, tasty and could deliver a good experience.
Restaurant owners spend a lot of time worrying about the reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, but I think it is important to remember that patrons are now trusting proven food bloggers over these resources as they are not written from a place of emotion.
We all know restaurants can fault sometimes and can drop the ball, but are consumers fair to plaster this all over social media? For restaurant patron reviewers there is the opportunity for TripAdvisor to be used as a powerful tool against restaurants.
We see the impacts of this on a daily basis and it is important to respond to these reviews in a professional and tactful manner – no matter what is written. However, the focus should also be placed on cultivating relationships with bloggers if possible as they are working from an open and unbiased position.
Finally, one more thing. After mentally devouring those slow cooked meats for a long time before my trip, I had high expectations. Was I disappointed to find out there was no kids menu? No, because the waitress kindly explained which dishes were great for sharing. I loved it, my family loved it, and the kids thought the funky swivel seats were (and I quote) ‘epic’.
Thanks for the tip Simon!