The Boy That Yelped Wolf By Ryan Rosh
Table Of Contents
Dedication....................................................4 Foreword......................................................6 Introduction................................................8 Acronym Table............................................8 Cucina Venti..............................................11 Yelping........................................................15 Conclusion.................................................20 Full Spread Photos..............................21-28 Works Cited...............................................29 Time To Chow Down...............................30
Dedicated to my wonderful parents.
Left, Pollo Ripieno,. Above, the Grilled Salmon. 4
Top Left, Penne Pasta. One of the most experimental and well thought out pastas they have. A regualar italian penne pasta with a spicy chipotle kick. Top Right, Wine glasses ready to be served. Left, the bar at Cucina Venti. And Bottom Right are some of the first full page reviews of Cucina Venti, the more local one is in MV Voice
Foreword I wanted to know if Yelp and things like Yelp have had any real effect on anything ever. I will tell you right now that it does. Yelp is powerful and it is controlled by us. We The People have been able to give control to ourselves over something simple as the internet. I wanted to investigate a good restaurant that always has happy customers, yet has negative 2-3 star reviews right next to 4-5 star reviews. I was curious of how a large group of people that get put through basically the same experience every day, can come out of it with such different opinions. Especially when you have never seen someone that even looks dissatisfied with the food (and at Cucina Venti it is superb). I wondered if the trust that is given to the people by Yelp would not abused. So this eight page paper is a summary of my not so intense search. My search to discover if Yelp matters. Not only to reviewers and readers, but to business owners, employers, and even the community.
Why did the Crab and the Shrimp not tip the waitress? Because the waitress didn’t do a very good job, or because they were shellfish? If the waitress was bad and made their experience at a fine eating establishment anything but perfect, the Crab and maybe even the Shrimp will go home and write a review on Yelp sharing their experience for free with anyone owning a computer. Now would Crab and Shrimp’s review matter? The answer is yes. “Every star in a review leads to a 5-9 percent jump in revenues” (Luca). A business’s success depends on the random, sometimes angry, click of a consumer (or shellfish). The killer click that creates the sense of community and urges consumers to dine or ditch. The sense of community at Yelp.com is like the high-end, low budget version of a Reese’s peanut butter cup: they are going to use more gourmet dark chocolate, and a less powdery peanut butter, but instead of spending time to blend the peanut butter to a smooth, creamy mixture, peanuts are carelessly thrown into mix. Those peanuts are the angry Yelpers, the split reviews and the trust that is given to the people. To some, this trust is more important than the Constitution. Let us start with the Yelp lingo (which will be used greatly in Chapter 2). I have been studying Yelp and its Yelpers for some time now and these are the basics. These are all real terms used on Yelp... 8
Blatant Self Promotion
S.Y.O.Y. U.F.C. R.O.T.D. P.M. (My favorite)
See You On Yelp Useful, Funny, Cool Review Of The Day Private Message Ants In The Pants (as in sketchy)
You’re Everyone’s Last Choice (this one has many variations such as You Evaluate Local Products and You Eat Large Pickles)
If You Leave Me Now, You’ll Take Away The Yelping Part Of Me (when Yelpers get in an argument and one leaves the blog/forum because the argument is going nowhere)
With evil jives such as the Yelpers’, popular businesses have more pressure than ever to perform because of the internet. Websites like Yelp either make or break - no devour a restaurant or any other business. A plethora of good businesses are affected by internet websites every day. “anything you post to Yelp may be used by Yelp for any reason whatsoever, including putting your photos, business profile, or reviews in advertisements. Not only that, but Yelp reserves the right to use your content even after you delete your account – forever” (Couts). Anything that you post or that is posted by someone is immediately owned by Yelp and cannot be deleted.
Cannot be deleted. On nymag.com FRUSTRATEDWITHYELP said that Yelp constantly calling her business aggressive arguing with her to sign up for a monthly service or to advertise with Yelp. Brad R (to be honest the claimed last name was Reason), commented on an article on OpenForum.com, claiming Yelp is “purposely leaving unqualified negative reviews (a practice Yelp has continually denied, but many business owners have proof) . Yelp filters the positive reviews and leaves the negative ones there to be showcased when you refuse their “advertising plan.” There are lots of people and business owners who are frustrated with Yelp, and vice versa, Yelp gets frustrated with them if they don’t cooperate. “The problem starts with the nutrient. Most nutritional science involves studying one nutrient at a time, a seemingly unavoidable approach that even nutritionists who do it will tell you is deeply flawed. ‘The problem with nutrient-by-nutrient nutrition science,’ points out Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist, ‘is that it takes the nutrient out of the context of the food, the food out of the context of the diet, and the diet out of the context of the lifestyle.’” (Pollan). This is the best analogy for the trust problem on Yelp. It can either be a strength or a weakness, the restaurant is studied as an individual restaurant (which is good because the restaurant actually has to be good to succeed here). Also, the specific joint in question is not reviewed compared to anything else. Other restaurants around it, or similar restaurants, or if the place is happening or more bumping compared to anywhere else. 10
Cucina Venti The place in question is Cucina Venti (or previously known as Pizzeria Venti). It’s an casual Italian dining restaurant in Mountain View. Adjacent to the movie theater and the Computer History Museum. This restaurant has a very prosperous location in the eating world, nowhere. There are no other restaurants of this caliber in the Shoreline area of Mountain View. The final nail in the coffin is Google, and Microsoft, and Shoreline Amphitheater, and the movie theater, and the Computer History Museum again (across the street that was visited by Barack Obama back in September 2011). The majority of the restaurant’s business as you would imagine, is from these places. Business from Microsoft, Google and the Computer History Museum is usually lunch, working late dinners, or catering. “Especially being close to places like Google and Microsoft, where there is a lot of catering, people eating lunch and business meetings,...Well, a lot of these companies have cafeterias, and many other options on their lunches, it’s nice that they prefer to go out and break out of that. And at the same time we do a lot of catering after their cafeteria is closed and they need to work longer hours. We’re here and it’s a nice combination.” (Awdisho). Business from the Amphitheater and Cinema is mostly dinners or something to eat before or after a concert. There are many people who go there for the food because they know it is awesome. This may be an inside job, but straight up, the food is delicious (plus I requested lots of food for “research”).
They have everything Italian. Everything. They offer the most authentic Italian The pickiest person in the world could hang the menu on a wall, toss a dart at it and will enjoy everything they hit. There is a reason the chairs at Cucina Venti have held most of the executive bottoms at Google, Microsoft etc. Secret sources say Jim Harbaugh had lunch there the day before the big game against his big brother. The restaurant has received awards for its culinary success and popularity, being booked almost every night of the week. The restaurant got a front page review in the Mountain View Voice, “Dinner And A Movie”. “disproportionately layered with cheese oozing into a jumble of sliced black olives, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and Italian herbs. Each bite was stringy and decadent with an aftertaste of olive oil. You won’t find better pizza in Mountain View.” (Macleod Doerschuk). Cucina Venti’s reputation is very important to them, and it shows. “Absolutely, I think that we have grown, this restaurant. Especially the location that it is, sort of outside the Mountain View Skirt. So it is basically living on word of mouth, people tell each other and share their experiences. The best marketing tool you could ever ask for” (Awdisho). Small places like this care more about the customer’s satisfaction. There is a big sense of community and a lot of the people know each other. “(R.R.) What do you think of websites like Reputation.com, would you use them? (B.A.) I guess, that’s a hard question,
that’s a hard question, I guess you hope you don’t need to use those companies to fix your reputation. I think your reputation should be the truth and unfortunately when you use these companies to cover your own flaws, which I do not believe in doing”. They have a small dream that everyone can see the restaurant the same way that they see it, a small group of extreme Italian food lovers that want to share it with the people.
“To eat slowly, then, also means to eat deliberately, in the original sense of that word: “from freedom” instead of compulsion. Many food cultures, particularly those at less of a remove from the land than ours, have rituals to encourage this sort of eating, such as offering a blessing over the food or saying grace before the meal. The point, it seems to me, is to make sure that we don’t eat thoughtlessly or hurriedly, and that knowledge and gratitude will inglect our pleasure at the table” (Pollan).
Yelping “What is Yelp? Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great — and not so great — in your world.” . That was directly from Yelp.com/faq. Basically Yelp is a very useful tool for people of a community. Yelp only works in certain environments or with certain conditions (on a reviewing perspective). If you write a review on your favorite McDonald’s it is practically meaningless because that McDonald’s is exactly the same as the one a block over. And the McDonald’s one block over is exactly the same as the one across the street, or a Starbucks etc. Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Starbucks will not have as useful reviews as Red Rock or a more hipster coffee joint that I and the internet have not heard about and probably never will. Business owners like that have no other option but to cohere with someone else’s pretty lousy rules. The fine print is an amazing invention, it is supposed to stop you from reading on or is just hidden from you. 15
“Pizzeria Venti could have been a run-of-the-mill lunch joint for Google employees. Instead, it is a cut above — and the perfect place to round out dinner and a movie (or a concert) at Shoreline.” - Andrew Macleod Doerschuk
A small portion of the blur that is Yelp.com’s fine print states this “We may use Your Content in a number of different ways, including publicly displaying it, reformatting it, incorporating it into advertisements and other works, creating derivative works from it, promoting it, distributing it, and allowing others to do the same in connection with their own websites and media platforms (“Other Media”).” reads Yelp’s ToS. “As such, you hereby irrevocably grant us world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, assignable, sublicensable, transferable rights to use Your Content for any purpose.” (Couts). Yelp has also paid for reviews, Yelp claims to be pure with their secret filter but also they’ve admitted to hiring people to post reviews on the site (which is now frowned upon by Yelp). “Though Yelp strives to maintain the purity of its reviews, the company has in the past paid people to write them. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told The New York Times in 2007 that “there was a time in our earlier days where we experimented with paying for reviews directly in cities outside of San Francisco to help get the ball rolling in our otherwise empty site.” Yelp is a powerful thing with more than 100 million visitors each month, on average growing 80% every year. There are people on Yelp though that cannot be trustworthy. People can review places they have not been to, and fake angry posts can hurt anyone’s reputation. 18
Some people talk about quality of the food or where they food comes from, something they may or may truly not about. “Well Yelp is interesting I think, for the most part people have the right to express their opinion. However, not everyone is qualified to make such a statement as what the quality of the food is. Also, pricing of the restaurant on certain dishes, should not qualify that restaurant is good or bad. It has to do with the food cost and the location”. Price is a big thing on Yelp and the most common thing against Cucina Venti, prices are steeper than Olive Garden, but the quality of the food is unbeaten. It is best put by Andrew Macleod Doerschuk, “You won’t find better pizza in Mountain View”.
Conclusion I am not against Yelp or any review site. Yelp is important, I just think there are some flaws but for the most part Yelp is helpful. And though we complain we should be grateful that there are people who spend their time to make something for the people. For some (business owners), Yelp is their livelihood. It affects how much money they are going to make each year, or even each month. For any business to have a “People Love Us on Yelp” sticker in a front window is a really big deal. These are only dished out to companies that are really Loved on Yelp (capital L). If you don’t play by the rules on either side (business owner or reviewer/user), your hatred of Yelp and all things near is inevitable. But Yelp is like Paul Sorvino or Marlin Brando: in every movie one of those men are the mob boss. Yelp is the mob boss in all situations whether you like it or not (or if it’s even fair). Yelp wants to make it fair for the successful businesses to get more attention and customers from their site, and they want to motivate bad business to change. Though in some places deeply flawed (like Craigslist), Yelp wants to do something for each community, especially in the Bay Area because Yelp’s home is in San Francisco. Yelp tries to do something for the people and we should be grateful for a somewhat free tool to help us explore a little more.
Works Cited Awdisho, Bella. Personal Interview. 13 Mar. 2013 Brophy, James. Personal Skype. 8 Mar. 2013 Couts, Andrew. Terms & Conditions: Yelp Owns Your Business - Forever. www.biz.yelp. com/support/advertising www.digitaltrends.com. DesignTechnica. 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Mar 13. Luca, Michael. Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com n.p. www.yelp.com. n.d. Web. Jan. Mar. Feb. 2013 Macleod Doerschuk, Andrew. “Dinner near a movie” MV Voice. 1 May 2009. Print n.p. www.yelp.com. n.d. Web. Jan. Mar. Feb. 2013 n.p. www.reputation.com n.d. Jan. Mar. Feb. 2013 Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food; An Eater’s Manifesto. New York: Penguin Group Ltd., 2008. Print. FRUSTRATEDWITHYELP, Smalera, Paul. “Yelp and Its Discontents; Why does a simple review site drive people so crazy?” www.NYMag.com. New York Magazine. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. Wasserman, Todd. Brad Reason. “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yelp”. www.openforum.com. American Express. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
Now That Youâ€™re Seriously Hungry, Cucina Venti 1390 Pear Avenue, Mountain View, California (650) 254-1120 To everyone involved in the making of this book Thank You Very Much.