One Of The World's Best Chefs Explains Why He's Totally Cool With Yelp

Joel robuchon Japan World Summit of Gastronomy APAcclaimed chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon.

Many chefs and restaurateurs believe Yelp is the bane of their existence.

The crowdsourced business review site has spawned lawsuits, been accused of killing businesses, and been criticised over the way reviews are policed.

It’s also been decried by restaurant royalty. Ruth Reichl, the last editor-in-chief of the now defunct Gourmet magazine, has said: “Anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.” And Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern once ranted, “I don’t like the idea of Yelp. The problem for me is that crowd sourcing is very beneficial except when it comes to things like restaurant criticism and restaurant reviews and restaurant recommenders…Yelp essentially gives a tremendous forum for a bunch of uninformed morons to take down restaurants.”

Yet we found a surprising person who actually approved of Yelp — acclaimed chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon. Robuchon, who’s restaurant empire includes 22 locations around the world and has racked up 28 Michelin stars, knows what he’s talking about when it comes to food.

In a recent interview with Business Insider in Las Vegas, he expressed support for the restaurant rating site. Robuchon explained in French (translated):

These types of sites I don’t look at, it’s not something that bothers me. If it gives guests satisfaction to say what they think then that’s great, but it certainly doesn’t bother me. Why not give a voice to the people you are feeding?

Travelling around the world, we hear quite a few things. But it’s like life in general: there are crazies, there are intelligent people, and there are people who don’t know anything. And there’s always going to be a percentage attributed to each.

And I know, I’ve heard of people who own restaurants and who write reviews of other restaurants. But to the contrary, I believe that Yelp is a very good thing, I think it can guide people to the right venues.

It should be noted, however, that Robuchon — whose U.S. restaurants almost all have 5-star ratings on Yelp — has nothing to worry about when it comes to the online review site.

Disclosure: Our trip to Las Vegas, including travel, food, and lodging expenses, was sponsored by MGM Resorts International.

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