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Cornell Hospitality Quarterly Study: Restaurant Review Comments Tend to Be Fair and Favorable

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Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025, grw4@cornell.edu 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Cornell Hospitality Quarterly Study: Restaurant Review Comments Tend to Be Fair and Favorable

Restaurant review sites generally offer valid assessments of venue performance
 
Ithaca, NY, November 3, 2010 – Contrary to the fears of many restaurateurs, the comments on electronic restaurant review sites tend to be fair and reasonable, according to a hospitality study published in the November 2010 issue of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CQ). The featured article, "Electronic Meal Experience: A Content Analysis of Online Restaurant Comments," by Ioannis S. Pantelidis, can be viewed at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/about/pubs/publications/quarterly/featured/, hosted by Sage Publications, which publishes the Cornell Quarterly for the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research.

Pantelidis, who is a senior lecturer at the London Metropolitan Business School of London Metropolitan University, conducted a content analysis of 2,471 customer comments on the london-eating.co.uk site, an online restaurant guide. His goal was to determine which factors show up most often in consumers' commentaries. He found that "food is king."

"Even though your guests are seeking an experience at your restaurant, it is clear that food is the primary variable that will influence a customer's memory and their behavioral intentions—whether that includes returning or sharing reviews on various internet sites," he wrote. "No matter how good the service or how well priced the menu may be, if the restaurant fails to deliver its primary product, the experience will be tainted and subsequent comments will be negative."
The study's content analysis revealed a preference structure model, which suggests that customers consider food, service, ambience, price, menu, and decor (in that order) when reflecting on their experiences.

Despite certain notable cases where restaurants have been publicly savaged on the internet, Pantelidis found that favorable comments far outnumbered negative reviews on this site. "The fact that the anonymity of this site does not unleash a negative tsunami and instead allows satisfied customers to give a positive restaurant review is a message of great hope to restaurateurs who might be concerned about such sites," he concluded.

Published by Sage Publications for the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, the November 2010 Cornell Hospitality Quarterly also explains the development of the sophisticated marketing technique called customer choice modeling, which gives brand managers specific information on what their customers seek in current and new products and services. In addition, the November CQ offers a discussion of changes in marketing communications, notably the eclipse of printed media due to social media, and the issue also presents an analysis of the connection between strategy and performance in Spanish hotels.

About the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

The primary objective of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly is to publish articles that provide timely and actionable prescriptions for hospitality management practice. The articles we publish are based on important industry challenges that are examined using rigorous methods of inquiry. The content addresses a broad range of topics that are relevant to hospitality, travel, and tourism contexts.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the CHR's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu.

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