That bad restaurant review you read on Yelp may have been influenced by this odd thing

“Restaurant managers may see more than the usual bad reviews on certain days, and it may have nothing to do with the service or the quality of the food.”

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Restaurants may be open rain or shine – but that doesn’t mean you’ll perceive the experience or the food the same way each time, and you can partially blame the weather for that.

Researchers from Ohio State studied 32 restaurants in Florida and found that customers more negative notes on comment cards on days when it was raining or overly hot than when the weather was nice. The odds of customers leaving very negative comments versus very positive comments were 2.9 times greater on rainy days.

Their findings were published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research.


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Rain, rain go away…or I will write a bad review

“Restaurant managers may see more than the usual bad reviews on certain days, and it may have nothing to do with the service or the quality of the food,” said Milos Bujisic, co-author of the study and assistant professor of hospitality management at The Ohio State University, in a release.

“Restaurants can’t control the weather, but it may affect how customers review them.”

Weather, of course, isn’t the biggest reason restaurants get negative feedback from customers, but it’s one of the smaller variables that “managers should pay attention to,” said study co-author Vanja Bogicevic, a visiting assistant professor of hospitality management at Ohio State.

The researchers related the customer comments back to rain, temperature, and barometric pressure (which can often lead to high daytime temperatures in Florida). Since the restaurants studied were in Florida, researchers found that very hot weather also resulted in more negative comments.

“What we wanted to examine is with changes with the weather patterns, are people going to start leaving more positive or more negative comments?” said Bujisic. “And the results indicated that this is absolutely true.”

In an accompanying video, one female customer said, “I don’t think [the weather] actually changed my perception of the food.”

But in fact, good weather put customers in a good mood, creating better comments and word-of-mouth chatter in one experiment. And it’s not only customers – a rainy day or otherwise inclement weather affects the waitstaffs’ moods as well, Bogicevic said.

Another customer admitted, “I think I’d be judgmental of different things [depending on bad weather], like if something went wrong. You’re not in as good as a mood if it was raining rather than if it was sunny out and I was happier. So I do think it would have an effect on how I view the restaurant or the food or the service.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.