When I go out to dinner, it’s almost always to a restaurant in downtown Escondido.  I like walking there and then back and it’s great to know I’m supporting a local business.  I’m also somebody who goes out to spend time at a restaurant and never just for a “quick bite.”  Meaning I take eating out pretty seriously.  So what happens when a restaurant just isn’t very good?  Tell the manager/owner in person?  Send them an email?  Well, now many people go directly to YELP and other review sites and let people know exactly what they think of a place.  Sure some people are complainers (and you can check those by looking at their other reviews by clicking on their name,) but when bad reviews start to pile up restaurant management needs to take notice and take those comment seriously.  I just took a look at YELP for places I’ve been to and it’s interesting to see how the experiences of dozens of other people over the course of many months (so it wasn’t just a bad night) match so closely to mine when it comes to ambiance, service, food.  Some restaurant owners try to rationalize reviews by saying it’s just their competition bashing them, but I find that to be untrue in general.  In fact, I find it more likely that restaurants encourage family and friends to write 5-star reviews to offset the 1 and 2 stars actual customers might report so it’s good to look carefully at a restaurant that seems to be either loved or hated.  Should we be talking to owners about our experiences at their restaurant?  I would love to, but often times they don’t want to hear it and that’s where YELP comes in–and restaurant owners ignore it at their own peril.