I checked research paperPrepared by two academics from Northwestern University in the US, in the gap between ratings of restaurants on both “Google Maps” and “Yelp”, which are two popular platforms that provide recommendations for restaurants, as it revealed that the restaurant reviews are not as honest and direct as they seem.
According to a newspaper report Business Insider American, Saturday 21 November 2020, There are big differences in the way critics view the same restaurants on each platform, as many users end up turning to Google or Yelp, to find suggestions for places to eat.
How is that?
“I kept thinking about this a lot: Why do we rely so much on ratings?” Says Hanlin Lee of Northwestern University.
“Part of this is based on a restaurant rating scale of one to five that is really easy to understand, or simply to absorb information. This is a five-star restaurant, or this is a two-star restaurant. So we understand it easily and immediately,” she added.
But ratings on Google Maps tend to be 0.7 stars higher on average for the same restaurant in the same location.
And 93% of the restaurants that Hanlin and her colleagues analyzed scored higher on Google Maps than Belp, with a quarter of restaurants outperforming Yelp with at least one star, compared to Google Maps.
As for the restaurant chains, the gap is wider; The branches are rated 1.1 stars higher on Google Maps than on the Yelp. “For independent restaurants, the difference is much smaller, specifically 0.6 stars on average,” said Hanlin Lee.
Difficulties encountered in the study
This was confirmed by “Hanlin Lee” colleague in the study, Brent Hecht, saying that the research paper had difficulty determining the cause of this. “We know for a fact that fast food restaurants have much higher ratings on Google Maps than on Yelp,” he explained. “But we don’t know much about why.”
The difference in rankings is significant, due to the monopoly position each platform occupies based on where it is looking for recommendations. “On Google, Google Maps reviews stand out,” says Hanlin. “Whereas if you search at Apple Maps, Yelp often does.”
So if you are looking for a good restaurant, study authors agree on a good way to do so; According to Hanlin, “Check the rating on both platforms together.”