Monday, January 27, 2014

Use Yelp for Self-Help

Last week I authored my 100th Yelp review. It's rather a surprising and shocking number for something that started out so innocuously.

It all began by enjoying some place so much that I just had to tell others about it. Or, as the name would suggest: I had to YELP about it.

Having heard enough about Yelp by 2012, I figured this was the place to post my review. I can't recall what place inspired me so--I'm too lazy to look it up--but it must've been good. The desire to Yelp again might have ended right there if it wasn't for my requirement to travel a lot for my job. Soon I found myself in strange towns wondering where, besides another stinkin' Applebee's or gosh darn Chili's, I could find a good place to dine. Something unusual, somewhere a local would frequent. That's when I discovered Yelp's true power.

So I kept Yelping. My main focus is to highlight places that deserve to be highlighted. Or, in rare cases, warn where a fair warning is called for. My wife and I both really enjoy finding a place in Milwaukee that we'd love other Milwaukeeans to visit. 

One place that we both love and have written glowing reviews for is Oscar's on Pierce. Oscar's serves a seriously delicious burger and fries in a friendly environment with some good local beers. If you know anything about my wife and I, you can easily see that this is our type of place.

Well today I had a surprise. My company had visitors from a major US company. They flew in last night
from a variety of places: Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; Wichita; and Cincinnati. Most of them stayed at hotels near the airport. While making small talk when they arrived at our offices this morning, I asked them where they dined last night. I was surprised to hear them say "Oscar's on Pierce. Great burgers!" 

What surprised me most is that Milwaukee locals still don't know about Oscar's, so my next question was, "How on earth did you find out about Oscar's?"

The reply (you should be able to guess) came back, "Yelp. We checked it out for places with good burgers and it seemed that everybody liked Oscar's, so we figured it was a can't miss!"

Wow. I wonder if my review was one of them they read? I don't know, but my favorable star rating definitely would have contributed to Oscar's 4.5-star rating after 200+ reviews.

So I think that's pretty cool. That this varied group of people rejected the comfort and familiarity of fast food and chain restaurants near their hotel and embarked on 10+ mile drive to a strange and "scary" part of Milwaukee on a frigid January Wisconsin night to dine at a place they read about on the Internet is a striking and true testament to Yelp's power.

I'm only a small player in the enormous Yelp community, but I'm glad to have seen the network work exactly the way it's supposed to.

I'm also wondering, if you live in Milwaukee and haven't yet been to Oscar's on Pierce, just what the heck you are waiting for?


No comments:

Post a Comment