How do I choose a new restaurant to try?

This blog post was inspired by the upcoming Restaurant Digital Marketing Conference this October 23, 2013 at Enderun Colleges. I love food. I grew up surrounded by food. My grandmother owned a bakery and whenever she wasn’t looking, my cousins and I snitched meringues from the trays and hid them in our hats (sorry Lola!). I will swear up and down that my uncle makes the best batchoy ever. Once my brother and I graduated from college, my mother quit working in Makati and focused on her butterscotch and cookie business. People who taste my mom’s cooking for the first time often ask my Dad how he stays so thin.

butterbeer No promotions necessary for this drink!

As a result of all this, my standards with regards to food are pretty high. Sure, I’ll eat most things but to get me to rave about a certain restaurant, dish, or (gasp!) dessert? You have to be something special. Trying out a new place is always risky, but good research online helps increase the chances of picking a winner. What influences me to give a new restaurant a chance?

1. Friends. In this context, posts and photos from friends. If a friend took the time to actually write and post a blog entry about how much she loved (or hated!) a restaurant, then I take note.

2. Food blogs I like. is personal favorite because of their excellent writing, excellent taste in restaurants, transparency (sponsored posts are clearly labeled as such), and their mouth-watering photos. The photos! The photos! And hey, their food giveaways are pretty sweet too.

3. Good reviews from traditional media outlets. They’re not my primary consideration but they do help in tipping the scales if the first two criteria are met.

4. A well-maintained, attractive, and informative website. Like good reviews from other people, a restaurant’s website isn’t my main influence but it does help. Once I finally decide to try a new place, I’ll Google for the restaurant’s official website and/or social media accounts to get more information – operating hours, branches (if any), sample menu, and the like. If your website doesn’t have these information or is hard to navigate, that’s an automatic point against you.

What doesn’t influence me?
1. Online deals. This may seem counterintuitive but giving a huge discount is unlikely to get me to visit a new place unless I know someone who’s been there and liked it. I do buy deal vouchers but only for established restaurants that I already know that I like.

2. Ads. I find ads annoying *shrug*