Let’s Chat: Have food bloggers changed Restaurant Reviewing?

Let’s Chat: Have food bloggers changed Restaurant Reviewing?

Food blogging as a serious leisure started not so many years ago. From recipes to restaurant reviews, masses of people with interest in gourmet cuisine (and not only) began using blogs and social media to their advantage. But how has food blogging changed restaurant reviewing, and the relationship between food bloggers, food critics and restaurant PRs? Food bloggers (including Tripadvisor reviewers) have been massively critisized by Media, and it took many meetings and discussions with PRs to make them comprehend the value of social media and food blogging. Nowadays, food bloggers cover everything from culinary travelling – anyone remembers this piece Anastasia wrote in partnership with the Serbian Tourism Board? – to recipe developing and casual lifestyle food photography. Food bloggers have got their hands on the food and drink industry and it appears they are here to stay as people trust their opinions more than the opinions of career food critics!

Some believe that the rapidly expanding art of food blogging has made it accessible to everyone, putting the average eater’s beliefs at the forefront where it belongs; and others groan the massacre of a long-time, established profession by any self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ with social media access. Has this fundamental shift in the way restaurant reviewing is done today created a gap by which food journalists are eaten by blog posts? And if, such breast exists, is there a way to find common ground where quality restaurant reviewing may also be relevant to all palates?

With the growing popularity of food bloggers, I am here today to analyse why, I think, food bloggers’ restaurant reviewing has changed the food and drink scene and why food bloggers should be respected more for what they offer to their audience.

1// Legitimate food bloggers will have more influence on a local level, than the local newspaper the PR paid a five times higher fee to advertise their clients’ restaurant. In a world where the majority of people have their focus on strong visual content distributed for free, aka Instagram, the chances of a potential customer to find their favourite restaurant through printed media are extremely low. Instagram geotags and hashtags do all the job so food blogging has most certainly changed the way customers find the closest or of favourite cuisine restaurant, which really should make the PRs appreciate all the work that goes into blogging…

2// Food bloggers are a one, or two multi-talented, peoples business. They are the writers. the photographers, the dealers, the first contact point that their audience will reach on Instagram to ask further questions about the food, the social media promoters and the models (you have no idea what food blogging is unless you ate your dish cold because you had to take a dozen images of the food from every possible angle!). Unlike food journalists who have the restaurant images sent to their e-mail the next morning by the PR, food bloggers have to do all the work by themselves, and all this, while making sure they maintain the highest quality of professional standards!

3// Just because a blogger is not a food journalist it doesn’t mean that they don’t bring professional training and experience to restaurant reviewing. First to follow the food blogging trend, the New York Times employed food bloggers who wrote restaurant reviews more approachable to their readers. Not everyone can afford Michelin star dining, so before you pay a high fee to feature your client in the Press, make sure you understand the value of your local, informed, food bloggers first, who choose to educate themselves with serious reading on food production, preparation, cooking and presentation.

4// Blog restaurant reviews tend to be generally more positive than food critic reviews. A food blogger will most certainly focus on the positive aspects of the culinary experience and then give their discreet opinion to the PR who invited them to the restaurant, avoiding to destroy the online reputation of a business. Having said this, reputable and respectable food bloggers will not be afraid to raise their voice and explain what did not work well in the dish or direct their audience towards the tastier dish on the menu.

So what do you think?

Is food blogging problematic? Should food bloggers be respected by restaurant PRs and most importantly have food bloggers changed Restaurant Reviewing?

Joanne

 

*featured image taken at La P’ti Follie restaurant in Edinburgh

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Joanne

Joanne is an avid salsa dancer and instructor. She posts under the ‘Let’s Chat’ category about lifestyle advice and life in between Edinburgh, UK and Corfu, Greece. You can also find her Instagramming at @theedinburghlife
She loves salsa, good wine and colourful sunsets.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

11 Comments

  1. October 29, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    I think food blogging certainly has value, and one of its advantages, in my opinion, is that its content is more accessible to the average reader. Food bloggers share their candid experience, which is more similar to how most customers would experience food 🙂 I personally love photographing food. In fact, when I travel, I need to remind myself to take pictures of things other than food haha

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:40 pm

      That’s it, by sharing more candid/insta pictures and being down to Earth it attracts more people to your reviews, thanks for reading Audrey x

  2. October 29, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    I love reading food/restaurant reviews! I’ve never written one myself but hope to add that on as an element of my blog!

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 10:52 pm

      Thank you Adam, totally love them!

  3. Frances
    November 1, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    I had never really put much thought into the amount of work that goes into food blogging (and blogging in general). You guys certainly deserved to be paid for your services just like any other food critic! Thank you for posting this x

    Frances G.

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 3:17 pm

      Thanks Frances and thank you for reading and commenting on all my posts here at Natbee’s.
      Food blogging is getting more serious day by day, so here’s me hoping that PRs will keep paying us for our services and we won’t receive any more ‘freebie’ invitations in the future (btw this is how most of them call us!).
      Can you tell I am annoyed with them?

      Joanne.

  4. Sandra Wagner
    November 1, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    I’ve noticed that food bloggers tend to give generally speaking more positive restaurant reviews and boost restaurant reservations. I was working while being a student at Uni, at the local pizzeria and my boss would invited blogger before Xmas and our sales would skyrocket. Foolish me, I was always envious of them getting ‘a free meal’ but now looking into how much work they did to capture the perfect images and then write and promote their posts, it wasn’t that much ‘free’ after all. And I none of them got paid for their work, which is sad to think of it as they made so much money for my boss…🙄🙄🙄

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      Thank you Sandra!
      I am sure you have experienced then how much profit can be generated just by simply issuing a few invitations to the local food blogging community, your boss must have been rubbing his hands since then!
      There is an enormous amount of work, every time we are being invited to a place, it takes us ages to review the menu, take notes, set up our tripod , camera and remote control to take pictures (all that while trying not to disturb the rest of the people in the restaurant), pose in front of the camera and then try to produce content for our social media at the same time. Needless to say that by the time we have done all this work the food on the table is cold and the red wine doesn’t seem that appetising anymore.
      I hope there will be more generous restaurateurs in the future that want to work with us and pay a much lesser fee than the one the local journalists charge….

      Joanne

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      P.S: I typed this on my phone so please ignore any mistakes-fat fingers issues!
      J.

  5. Amelia
    November 1, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    Beautiful post Joanne, thank you for sharing all these eye opening facts with us. I enjoy all of your posts, so well written!
    Keep it up please 🙂

    Amelia xx

    • Joanne
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      Thank you Amelia for your kind comment, it means a lot to me!
      Joanne.

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