Last year The Infatuation acquired the Zagat brand from Google. Zagat was the original crowdsourced restaurant reviewer aggregator. It relied on customers going and dining and then giving Zagat a short review. Zagat would then take all the reviews about a restaurant, average out its grade, and write a blurb about it based on what their reviewers said. It was essentially Yelp before Yelp.
The Infatuation has decided to bring back the Zagat Print guides, which have a history of being a great stocking stuffer. In this age of nostalgia-driven content, people will love to thumb through a Zagat and pick out a restaurant, instead of hopping on Yelp and seeing what people say.
Zagat’s biggest advantage over Yelp is the quality of the review. Because Zagat reviews come out once a year, they are filtered, averaged, and generally positive. People who review on Zagat do so because they enjoy dining out. Yelp’s reviews hit as soon as they are published and usually, by people who had a bad experience, or honestly don’t know how to dine out and are mad that a restaurant won’t substitute their side salad for grilled organic asparagus. The vetting that Zagat does, allows it to be a much better aggregate review system.
I also want to touch on OpenTable’s reviews. These are the go-to reviews that I look at on the internet. OpenTable users are more serious diners than yelp users and offer a much better critique of the restaurant. OpenTable also moderates their comments better, and because their business model isn’t based on reviewing restaurants, they don’t use them to strongarm a small business into giving them money