Turns Out, Yelp Ratings Really Matter to Customers
According to Techcrunch, two Berkeley economists found that a half-star improvement on Yelp's five-star rating makes it 30 to 49 percent more likely that a restaurant will sell out its evening seats.
The researchers combined Yelp reviews of 328 San Francisco restaurants with a database that tracked real-time reservation availability from 6 to 8 p.m. They found that the power of Yelp to fill a restaurant's seats held up even when controlling for the decor, service rating, and cost.
From the Guardian:
The study found that the movement from 3 stars to 3.5 stars increased a restaurant's chance of selling out during prime dining times from 13 percent to 34 percent. Moving from 3.5 stars to 4 stars increased the chance of selling out during prime dining times by 19 percentage points.