Study: How Online Review Sentiment for Restaurants Differs by Location & Platform

By now, marketers have realized the significant role that online reviews play in the path to purchase journey. Consumers trust in online reviews, in fact, 84% trust them just as much as personal recommendations. Additionally, the average person reads seven reviews before electing whether or not to visit a business.

There’s no shortage of platforms for consumers to choose from when seeking out online reviews, especially when it comes to restaurants and bars. A simple Google search for a specific restaurant will immediately populate with links to any number of review sites.

In an effort to further understand how consumer sentiment differs based on the review platform and the market, Home Run Inn, a pizzeria chain throughout Illinois, used’s “38 Essential” lists and analyzed 4,000 data points across Google, Yelp, Facebook and TripAdvisor.

The analysis looks at overall rankings, the toughest crowds and the most opinionated crowds based on the star ratings and the number of reviews submitted. It also breaks down which cities hold the highest and lowest ratings and the highest and lowest number of reviews on each platform.

In terms of overall rankings of individual restaurants, Facebook received the highest ratings, while Yelp received the lowest. The highest number of restaurant reviews were on Yelp, while TripAdvisor had the lowest number.

The 5 “toughest” crowds to please were located in Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Conversely, the easiest crowds to please were Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Denver and Charleston. When it came to the “most opinionated” crowds, or those who conducted the most reviews, the findings revealed Chicago at the top, followed by New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New Orleans. While Montreal, Seattle, Denver, Paris and London seemingly exhibited the lowest number of reviews.

When broken down by individual platform, corresponding category and city, each had varying results:

Ratings & Reviews

Each of these popular platforms is being used by consumers for writing and reading reviews. And although some are utilized more often than others depending on the market, it’s important for marketers to pay mind to each channel and the benefits positive reviews can provide, including building brand awareness and trust, ranking higher in SERPs and improving CTRs.

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