In 1979, the Zagat restaurant guide was established to collect, aggregate and publish the opinions of diners regarding restaurants all over the world. The Zagat Survey® incorporates the feedback of about 350,000 international diners who complete questionnaires to rate their dining experiences in terms of service, food quality, cost and decor. Zagat editors average these scores based on a scale of one to 30 and select a few pertinent diner comments to accompany each rating.
The Reputation of the Zagat Food Survey
The results of the Zagat food survey, which are not created by professional critics, are unfiltered, unbiased and reliable. However, one advantage of professional criticism is the establishment of a clear, reliable standard. Zagat restaurant guide users are forced to trust the opinions of Zagat reviewers, even though they don’t have access to their criteria or expectations.
Nevertheless, the popularity of the Zagat rating system seems to suggest that its advantages outweigh its drawbacks, and every year millions of diners all over the world rely on the results of the Zagat Survey® to guide them to outstanding restaurant experiences.
The Zagat Rating System
About 100 full-time staff members are employed at the Zagat Survey® company headquarters in New York City. From this base, they collect and process survey data to be published in an increasingly wide array of web and print media. Many large companies have partnered with the Zagat restaurant guide to produce customized guides targeted for their own client and customer bases. Each Zagat restaurant guide rates restaurants on food, decor, cost and service, but also offers indexes to help users find restaurants that meet specific needs.
In spite of occasional accusations of bias or grade inflation, the Zagat rating system seems to be holding its ground and increasing its reputation as one of the most usable and reliable restaurant guides in the world.