Study: Unfair restaurant reviews on Google Maps and Yelp

A new study from Northwestern University, which compared reviews of restaurants available on Google Map and Yelp, two popular platforms people use to search for suggestions for places to eat, revealed that 93% of restaurants scored higher on the first compared to the second.

Reviewers look

The study showed that there are big differences in how reviewers view the same restaurants on each platform, indicating that a quarter of restaurants in Google Map outperform Yelp by at least one star.

Rating scale

Hanlin Lee of Northwestern University showed that the reason people rely so heavily on assessments is that rating scale 1 to 5 is easy to understand.

I continued: But the reviews on Google Maps tend to be 0.7 stars higher on average for a restaurant in the same location.

As for the restaurant chain, the gap is wider, ranking 1.1 stars higher on Google Maps compared to Yelp, while the difference is much smaller for independent restaurants, with an average of 0.6 stars.

“We know for a fact that fast food restaurants are much higher on Google Maps than on Yelp, but we don’t know much about why,” said study participant Brent Hecht.

Monopolistic position

The difference in ratings is important due to the monopoly position of each platform based on where you are looking for recommendations.

She told me, “On Google, the Google Maps ratings will appear, but if you search Apple Maps, Yelp reviews will often appear.”

“Commentators on Google Maps tend to rate chain restaurants better than Yelp restaurants, perhaps because of the better perceived value,” she added.

It assumes Yelp reviewers view their role as more formal in reviewing restaurants.

Verify the two platforms

The researcher indicated that everyone knows chain restaurants, so perhaps Yelp reviewers tend to focus more on independent restaurants and prefer them more.

“For me, this is another reminder that the five-star rating scale does not provide much information,” Hecht said. “If you’re looking for a good restaurant, both researchers agree on a good way forward which is to check restaurant reviews on both platforms.

Study summary:

– The reviews of the restaurants are not fair.

– The average reviews submitted on Google for a restaurant in the same area are 0.7 stars more than Yelp.

Searching for restaurant reviews on different platforms is the best way to find out the correct rating.

The five-star rating scale does not provide much information.


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