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March 24, 2010

Five questions: Reviewing restaurants with Infoglutton's David Nadeau

I've noted before the large number of restaurant blogs in Ottawa. There are also a lot of restaurant review sites as well. I recently came across InfoGlutton, an interesting "meta-review" web site that tracks customer reviews from around the web.

David Nadeau, the company's founder, answered some of my questions about the site.
1. Where did the idea for your site come from?

The idea comes from a mix of my past experience and continued interest in information retrieval, language technologies and the restaurant industry. Prior to founding InfoGlutton I worked for ten years for search engine companies and research centers. I also worked seven years for family restaurants as manager, chef and dishwasher.

2. What Ottawa restaurant review sites do you monitor?

3. Based on your web site data - what are the five best-rated web sites in Ottawa?

We once did the math and presented such restaurant ranking on our home page.
But because of the complexity of food critiquing and unfairness of comparing, for instance, fine dining restaurants with family restaurants, we now present our list in alphabetical order.

Here's a list of five restaurants that get consistent positive reviews from multiple independent sources:
  • Atelier Restaurant
  • Play Food & Wine
  • Wellington Gastropub
  • Navarra Restaurant
  • Domus Café
4. Can you explain a bit more about your subscription services for restaurant owners?

Restaurant owners can have a look at the last five user comments about their restaurant in InfoGlutton's free public listing. Our first level of subscription includes daily/weekly digests and on-demand access to complete online reputation. Upon setting up an account, we also make sure that the restaurant is listed in all relevant restaurant directories.

Our second level of subscription includes protection and improvement of restaurant brand.
We protect brand by removing negative reviews from web sites when they violate third party terms of services (TOS). We know TOS for all restaurant directories and most of them will remove fraudulent reviews (abusive, cross-posting, etc.) (More info here.)

5. In your experience, how aware are restauranteurs about what's being said about them online?

Most independent restaurateurs rely mostly on direct interaction with guests, which is great and also what guests expect of a good restaurant. Restaurant owner awareness varies a lot. Some will already manage a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Other will just not understand what the previous sentence is about.

For sure, they want to know more when we tell them that each year, typical restaurant appears once in prestigious listings (distinctions, awards), is reviewed five times in newspaper, magazines and food blogs, receives 50 guest reviews on restaurant directories, and has 200 mentions on social networks.
(I also asked David about his favourite Ottawa restaurants. He says he's a regular at
Restaurant Café Cognac (Hull) and Café Nostalgica (University of Ottawa).)

Ottawa Food Guide

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