Bourdain Rips Elite Yelpers As ‘Bad For Chefs, Bad For Restaurants’


Anthony Bourdain became part of the culinary and pop cultural zeitgeist by not holding back. He openly talked about the drugs, sex, and underbelly of professional cooking and parlayed that into more books, speaking tours, and an ever-growing list of TV shows. The dude is raw. Now, with the new season of CNN’s ‘Parts Unknown‘ dropping along with the imminent release of his documentary ‘Wasted,’ Bourdain has been on the press circuit dropping truth bombs fucking everywhere.

Bourdain’s latest rant takes dead aim at the what he calls ‘elite Yelpers.’ Before we go on, those are people who put in a lot of time to get highlighted on Yelp’s main page and on top of restaurant pages. They write a lot of reviews and interact onsite on an almost constant basis to achieve this status and chefs and restaurant owners tend to despise them.

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Bourdain lays it down, “there’s really no worse, or lower human being than an ‘elite Yelper.’ They’re bad for chefs, bad for restaurants.”

That, kids, is what they call ‘coming out swinging.’ Bourdain explains that chefs “loathe” these people mostly because of their dismissive attitudes and ability to ruin ratings with simplistic approaches to both food and what restaurants are on the most basic levels.

“You know. You open a restaurant. You struggle for a year to put together the money. You work your heart out, and then 10 minutes after opening, some miserable bastard is tweeting or Yelping, ‘Worst. Dinner. Ever.'” Bourdain finished his thought with a sigh and, “It’s like, dude. That ain’t right.” Bourdain isn’t hating on people having opinions here. He’s hating on the fact that people can attack restaurants without tons of context simply because they play the game Yelp has set up.

The interview continues to talk about where the former chef of Les Halles finds a positive in the social media age. “I’m perfectly happy with Instagram and Twitter as a fully democratic bathroom wall that anyone can write on,” Bourdain illustrates. He continues that Instagram puts the onus of whether something looks good or not on the reader/viewer as opposed to the words of a Yelper.

The FOMO and one-upmanship of Instagram clearly benefits restaurants. Or as Bourdain puts it, “they either want to share them on Instagram or make other people feel bad about what they’re eating by showing them, ‘Hey, I’m eating a Katz’s pastrami sandwich, what’re you eating? I hope it’s nowhere near as good.’” Obviously, that’s intrinsically better for the industry because a) it’s not a rating and b) people rarely (if ever) post shitty food on their feeds.

Still, we believe that a democratic, user-based rating isn’t intrinsically bad — after all, we deal with that daily in the comments — but Yelp does demand some improvements and the “Elite Yelper” system might be the most flawed part of it.

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(Via Business Insider)