Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Restaurant Review Policy

When I first started writing this blog, I knew nothing about blogging and blog ethics, but I did know something about food and frustration with restaurants around here and the lack of any reviews that seemed to be honest and trustworthy. Thus, I started this blog for a few purposes: 1) to get some honest (and not always positive) reviews out there and hopefully in my own little way improve our restaurant scene; and 2) to vent. Since then, I am thrilled to see that my blog has a growing reader base of people that appreciate my honesty and who also love food. With all that being said, I realized after being offered a few free meals (hey, I thought it was pretty cool!), and after learning more and more about the blogosphere, that accepting the free meals wasn’t the best way to keep my blog as honest and trustworthy as I want it to be. This is not to say that I have EVER given anything but my honest opinions and insights on any given restaurant, free meal or not. I have always been absolutely and sometimes, brutally honest and will continue to be. And in each example where I was offered some freebie, I have always disclosed it in the review. But in order to maintain my moderately anonymous visits, and to maintain the undeniable appearance of non-bias, I will:

1. No longer accept free meals from restaurants, chefs, or public relations people;
2. Review a restaurant based on one visit only. I do not have the money or time (or babysitting) to be able to go to a restaurant multiple times before writing a review. But since most people experience restaurants this way, I think it makes it that much more real. I do on occasion re-visit places (naturally these are often places I like) and will often write new posts on those re-visits or sometimes just add comments on older posts.
3. Not announce my visit(s) or revisit on demand. Sure, email me to tell me about your restaurant —I always love to try places that are new or that I haven’t been to in awhile.

I want my experiences to be just like anyone else’s who might wander in off the street. I welcome any and all feedback from my readers regarding this policy and anything else that is on your mind. You have no idea how much it brightens my day when you write to me via email or the comments section of one of my posts! Keep it up! (Thank you also to those more experienced bloggers and to those just regular people who helped me work through this issue and figure out what I needed to do!)

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  1. Kudos to you for clarifying and posting your policy -- and saying ixnay to the free meals. When bloggers are clear, it gives more weight to all of our comments. And your readers will love your for it, too. Good job!

  2. Good for you. Someone needs to hold the restaurants in this city to a higher standard. The MSM (yes, we're talking about you Indianapolis Monthly) babies every single review in the hopes of getting some advertising out of them. Certainly easier to beat on someone after you've turned down their attempted bribes.

  3. Erin, I have just started reading your blog in the last few months - I really love it! A few weeks ago, I think you had a tech. problem and we received an old blog by mistake about L'explorateur. As they say, things happen for a reason. We decided to try it last night and absolutely loved it. The food was so interesting, the flavors fantastic, the service was wonderful and we just plain - had an awesome experience. Thanks so much!!

  4. Anon:
    Glad to hear my tech problems helped you out! I will be posting a new review of L'ex in the next couple of weeks and would love to hear specific comments on that post!