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What You Should Know About Online or Word of Mouth Reviews When Searching for a New Place to Eat

Updated on May 9, 2016

What You Should Know About Restaurant Reviews

Have you ever struggled with making a decision in where you should go for a satisfying meal?

Some of you who enjoy trying new places, might be the ones who generally resort to online research when shopping around for that new place to eat or you may simply ask someone you know who's already been there. You want to save time and money, right?

I bet for most people, the price is usually the first thing when it comes to restaurant research, with the menu being second and the third, the reviews, - whether it be online or through word of mouth.

For many people out there, who mostly rely on the reviews of the public, may feel torn when they see a combination of both good and bad reviews, that, they often keep surfing the Internet for the restaurant with the least negative comments; OR they may go around asking more than one person for their opinion of a specific place they had in mind.

For myself, I often believed reviews to be helpful and it has helped me to avoid trying many places. For, in the past, I ended up wasting a lot of time driving to a place that took my money in exchange for overcooked or rotten food and poor customer service.

However, recently, I came to find that online reviews and word of mouth can be a tricky thing. I've learned that sometimes, by relying on negative comments, people are missing out on some very tasty treats along with some great customer service, just like what I had experienced for myself, less than six months ago.

One of the places that had already been scratched off my "list of new places to eat", was Timothys in Lionville, due to constant bad feedback by friends, coworkers and the public, online. I was told by a few of my friends who first tried the place (when it first opened less than 3 years ago), that the food and the service was "okay" but the price was reasonable. Then several of my coworkers who had been there multiple times, told me the food is never cooked all the way but the drinks were great. Furthermore, there seemed to have been similar negative comments made online that topped the cake and steered me away from ever wanting to go there.

That is.. until, this last Christmas.

One of my employers had reserved a spot at Timothys for a staff polyanna party, where we were served only appetizer items throughout the event. I thought about the reviews of this place, both through word of mouth and online research and figured I should just go for it and try it out, since it was free. I knew that I wasn't going to waste that much time driving, since it was only right around the corner from my house and it wasn't like I was going to burn any holes in my wallet either.

When I arrived, I walked into an elegantly lighted atmosphere with a very spacious layout and immediately thought how beautiful this place was! The smell in the air stirred up my appetite, as I went over to the reserved area where my fellow teammates sat. There, on the table, laid different choices of what looked to be some inviting and savory edibles.

My experience? PHENOMENAL!

The customer service turned out to be excellent and their food was not only desirable for the eyes, but also for the taste buds.

I remember thinking, after that, how much I wanted to revisit Timothys and experience the glory of their cheese steak eggrolls, one more time. Every time I thought about it, my mouth salivated, as if there was nothing else in the world I wanted to eat. It was then, it occurred to me that experiences like that, should be what puts restaurants on the list of, "my top places to eat"; and it made me wonder, what other restaurants I had avoided, that could have given me just as good of a taste and experience.

Therefore, because of what I witnessed at Timothys for myself, I had decided not to sell myself short of any more taste bud adventures (for, I am a natural foodie at heart), and began to try the food at other places I had previously scratched off my, "list of new places to eat" (to name a few: Nala and Restaurant 51).

Nala, a restaurant that serves Indian cuisine in Exton, served my level of spicy, that I didn't feel the need to pour my special habanero paste that I carry around with me in my purse. And until I ate at Restaurant 51 located in West Chester, I never thought I would ever find buffalo wings that matched the tasting perfection of Aligator's- a childhood favorite restaurant in Bryn Mawr, that closed many years ago. Both places provided impeccable customer service and a very inspiring atmosphere of relaxation and fun - in which I would have missed if I had continued to rely on the opinions of others.

Due to these personal experiences, you will understand why I feel urged to give researchers some good word of advice when it comes to restaurant reviews:

Other peoples' opinions aren't always right. The best thing to do, is to take a chance and actually try it out for yourself. Because then, maybe you too, will find that you have been missing out on some very lasting, memorable cuisines.

One thing I've decided not to do anymore, is to let other people's opinions keep me from trying out new places, especially if the price is reasonable and the location is close. Therefore, trying to save time and money is not always beneficial, especially, if it means possibly missing out on some really great food and a very warm customer experience!

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