Restaurants Curry Favor of Internet ReviewersThe recent increase in the number of Internet sites devoted to food and restaurants has put the food service industry increasingly at the mercy of Internet site reviews.
Internet portal site www.menupan.com has been running a 'best restaurant' section since Feburary. Menupan.com currently boasts a membership of 8,500 and invites the public to contribute opinions on restaurant quality. Italian-style restaurant Spaghettia ranked top in its March poll and consequently saw an astonishing increase in public recognition with sales rising by 20 to 50 percent.
A marketing manager at Spagettia, Kim Jae-chul, said, “customer complaints about our restaurant posted online are responded to and addressed as soon as possible. We also offer them a personal apology and award them with free meal coupons.”
An association of like-minded gourmets have formed an on-line club called, 'Taste', on Unitel, one of Korea's largest web communities. They also launched a new website called 'Recommendation Testimony' in May at the request of association members. According to a source at Unitel, about 60 clubs devoted to food and dining are currently running, and more are on the way. A culinary site recently opened at www.jumshim.com, in step with a trend that has seen 10 new sites established this year alone.
In response, family restaurants have been in hot competition since April to recruit experienced PR staff at their headquarters and branches.
by Choi Joo-ho