A study released earlier this month has found that Seattle restaurants get more critical online reviews than restaurants of other cities studied.
Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs compared data from TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Citysearch (Yelp didn’t release enough of its data to be included) and determined that Seattle restaurants draw lower rankings than restaurants in cities with…drumroll please….better weather.
To be precise: These researchers studied 1.1 million reviews of 840,000 restaurants written between 2002 and 2011. In all 50 states. This they cross-referenced with data from weather stations.
They found that the best reviews were written on sunny days between 70 and 100 degrees. Very cold (less than 40°) and very hot (more than 100°) temperatures corresponded to the most negative reviews. Rainy or snowy weather—forget it. San Diego, with its ridiculous abundance of perfection, had the most 5-star reviews.
So inclement weather suppresses approval. But so did other factors, the study found. Those who waited long for a table in small towns were less forgiving about it than those who waited long for a table in big cities. There was also some suggestion that high-atmo, high-priced restaurants drew more approval than less expensive restaurants.
The New York Times reported that two of the Atlanta-based researchers got the idea for the study on a visit to Seattle, where they noticed that the restaurants didn’t seem to be rated as highly as ones in their hometown.
Weather explanation, maybe. But does no one else bet that we're just more discriminating than Atlantans?