What is Zagat, you ask? Zagat is, among other things, an online rating and review system for restaurants. Editors curate user feedback into concise and unbiased reviews to help people make informed decisions. It is arguably the most trusted and respected restaurant ratings system there is. The Zagat Survey is also the leading provider of consumer survey information for restaurants. Even Google switched to Zagat’s 30 point scale for Google+ Local ratings.
They have already published some ratings of Burgh restaurants, but simply published the top national chain restaurants that happen to have a location in Pittsburgh, rather than waiting until they had a more comprehensive list. So it looks as if national corporate chains are mostly favored over our many fine local establishments. Judging by the comments on this BizJournals poll, the local reaction is mostly negative.
However, Zagat is currently collecting survey data on 500 restaurants in the Pittsburgh Area, and plans on adding those in early 2013. What looks like a bias in favor of generic chain restaurants over real locals may be a temporary thing. In the long run, this will all be good news to Pittsburgh restaurants and diners, assuming Zagat’s usual trustworthiness returns when the survey is complete.
There are plenty of interesting restaurants, and unique, creative chefs in and around Pittsburgh that should really benefit from this great opportunity for exposure to a wider dining audience. Foodies and “normal” restaurant goers may find it easier to discover new culinary experiences.
Diners can take part in the survey at http://www.zagat.com/votePittsburgh.
Pittsburgh restaurants, just keep making great food and providing awesome service… and if you are not already doing so, now would be a very good time to start managing your Google+ Local page and paying attention to what reviewers are saying.