How much stock do you put in online reviews of restaurants?
The accuracy of online polls is questionable, but the value of the publicity they can create is not.
In the internet age, anyone can put their opinion online for the web- savvy to find and there are plenty of websites providing information and advice on where to eat in Taranaki.
Venture Taranaki's chief executive Stuart Trundle said such websites can add to the vibrancy of awareness of the region.
He said comments on sites like Tripadvisor could be beneficial for businesses.
"Feedback, which can be both positive or negative, should influence continuous improvement in the sector."
The New Zealand Restaurant Association's Taranaki president Joe Deegan said much of the value of such online surveys was in the publicity generated for the website itself.
"My first opinion is that they are valuable for the people who drive them."
A recent survey by website movetotaranaki.co.uk, which is registered to an address in Leeds, England and run by UK based Sam McCall, ran a poll to name the top five restaurants in the region. The five included New Plymouth restaurants Arborio, Manou's and Cobb and Co, Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House and Hawera's The Gelato Caffe.
Cobb and Co owners Melanie and Glenn Corbett said the website enabled them to target a market in the UK they would not otherwise be able to advertise to.
"It can only be a good thing, the value of web marketing is really critical" said Mrs Corbett, who had managed Cobb and Co before she and her husband bought the restaurant more than 10 years ago.
She said the website catered for tourists and the places listed on the top five were all tourist destinations.
"Cobb and Co. is a family restaurant with good kiwi food.
"We still get adults coming in and ordering traffic lights and pink panthers."
Owner of New Plymouth cafe Manou's, Manouchehr Kia, said he was contacted by Mr McCall before Christmas to say the waterfront eatery had earned a spot on the website's top five.
"I put a link to the website on our Facebook page and a few people who came in said they saw it," he said.
He thought the customer feedback might have been given to the website by tourists or expats.
Also in the top five was New Plymouth restaurant Arborio.
Owner Simon Johnston-Saywell said websites like movetotaranaki could be a good business tool.
Review websites, such as tripadvisor, were more touch and go.
"They can be helpful. They're good if they're good and they're bad if they're bad."
- Taranaki Daily News
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