Food for thought (and thought for food)
However, looking more broadly, chain restaurants as a whole seem to have declined in market share as Yelp has grown in prominence. “This suggests,” Luca writes, “that online consumer reviews substitute for more traditional forms of reputation.” In 2007, about 50 percent of all restaurant spending, some $125 billion per year, went to chain restaurants. Chains have always benefited from uniformity: No matter where you go, you always know what you’ll get at an Applebee’s or a McDonald’s. Independent restaurants, by contrast, are more of a gamble. But as online review sites like Yelp expand, that’s no longer the case.