Yelpers wrote over 121 million reviews by the end of 2016.
I’m very proud to be a part of that 121 million. It’s no secret I love to write and check out new establishments, so why NOT become a Yelper?
It all started in September of 2012 when I was a junior in high school. I didn’t have the privilege of checking out bars or even planning to go to dozens of restaurants in a month. However, I knew that I would be able to have these advantages sometime in the future, so I held on to the account.
I won’t lie- I ignored Yelp for a while because, well…life. I obviously wasn’t that interested in it anymore but then I became more privileged. I finally got into college- college equating freedom, jobs, and new food spots!
I didn’t start writing actual reviews until my sophomore year of college- 2015.
My first review was on a Mexican restaurant located in Inwood, Manhattan named “Guadalupe”. The restaurant specializes in steak, seafood, and margaritas. 91 reviews later, I kept the habit going. I literally feel like it’s my duty to write reviews and take pictures of businesses. Why? well, I love to write, that’s one. Two, I like to help out my community and let them know what they’re getting into. Of course, no experience is the same when different people try out a business, but reading reviews can get the ball rolling before you even get there. Spa Castle (Queens location) has an overall rating of three stars- I gave it five. I saw that other Yelpers were complaining about pricing, long lines, lack of cleanliness and danger zones. Even if all these things were true, I know my experience won’t be exactly the same due to other reviews with high ratings and because I would hope Spa Castle reads their reviews in order to better their services.
Do you know how many times I get the “What are some good spots?” question? ALWAYS!
And I don’t mind it at all. I write reviews for a reason and it actually makes me happy to know that my peers are aware of that. I’ve helped out dozens of friends find spots for birthday parties, dinners and boozy nights and they all had positive things to say. A good friend of mine wanted to celebrate her birthday in the city (she’s from Long Island) and I found just the right spot to meet her taste. I chose “Kinfolk 94”, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This spot has amazing wooden architecture, music ranging from hip hop to house and a welcoming atmosphere.
It’s almost as if I’m an entry-level event planner *chuckles*. No but seriously, I have considered getting into event planning after I graduate college because of my nature of trying to make people happy. It’s also an excuse for me to check out new places.
*Chuckles once again.*
One of the best parts about writing reviews is telling employees that I’m a Yelp critic.
I’m usually a bit assertive when I make this statement, simply because it translates to, “Your customer service better be good, or else!”
I don’t need good customer service only for my reviews, I need it because I like to have a pleasant experience everywhere I go. I know that not all establishments are 5-star, but if the staff is constantly checking up on me, explaining the menu options and are fair enough with their timeliness, I’m good. I went to this Mexican restaurant/bar last year called “Cabo” in Rockville Centre, Long Island, in which I immediately told the bartender I write Yelp reviews. She was actually very pleased to hear that. I was hoping that was a sign of good service, and indeed, it was:
I’ve been to a few restaurants which the staff doesn’t even notice my guests and I and we end up having to get a manager. I personally don’t like to call managers because it creates tension between the employee and myself, but if I am giving you my money and time, I would hope for decent service.
Yelp is also one of the best mediums to find businesses because of its filters. If you are looking to check out a new establishment, you can filter the neighborhood it’s in, prices, hours, and deals. I love when I go to a new spot and it has a check-in offer! My favorite ones are free appetizers or drinks. Can’t go wrong with a discount!
Almost 100% of the time, these filters help me pinpoint exactly what I’m looking for, so that already saves me time. Last week I visited a coffee/tea cafe named “Spreadhouse Cafe” located on the Lower East Side which actually serves wine and beer as well and has cool floor cushions. I wasn’t even asking for all of that, but I took it!
If you’re 21 and over, write quality reviews, take photos of businesses, rate other Yelpers’ reviews, you can become Elite.
Elite what? an Elite member of the Yelp Elite Squad. No, it’s not a secret society- contrary to the popular belief of a few other bloggers. We’re just a group of Yelpers who got nominated or nominated ourselves to be a part of the squad. Nominated? Hmm, maybe it is a secret society. Just kidding- to become a member, you can nominate yourself on this link, and if your community manager feels you fit in all the categories above, then you’re set. The perks of being an Elite is you get special access to restaurants/bars and other businesses in your city, which usually provide members with free samples of food and drinks. I personally haven’t had the time to go to one of these events due to school, but I definitely will begin to attend more once I graduate and move back home. In the meantime, I’ll sport my Elite badge on my page and act like I’ve been going to these events, haha.
Do I let restaurants/bars with ratings below 5 stars impact my decision on going?
Nope! Everyone’s experience is different when they visit a new spot. Besides, some reviews can be biased so that can also affect the rating of a business, regardless of the service. I try to stay as non-biased as I can for this reason. However, if I have to get to the point where I call a manager, then that will already lower my review by one star. No one is perfect and if you are perfect, you probably just got hired. I say that because the only people who should be making constant mistakes at an establishment are those who are new. There are some anti-Yelpers out there who feel like we complain about everything- not true. We just value good customer service.
Bookmarks. Because they make you look into the future.
One of my favorite things about Yelp is the “Bookmarks” function. I always like to plan ahead, especially when going to a new spot. In my spare time I usually find myself searching new spots to try out because I know I can’t go at the moment. I’ve gotten the chance to visit about 75% of the places I’ve bookmarked. That other 25% goes to those rooftop restaurants and bars I’m already bookmarking for this summer (too soon?)