Guides to the good stuff or old-fashioned advertising?

When is a ‘guide’ an impartial publication to help a diner find the best place and when is it merely a vehicle for paid listings?

Can recommendations be trusted if money has passed from venue to publisher? Can readers rely on the professionalism of editors, who are often removed from the commercial functions of a publishing business, to act with integrity?

It was interesting to see this issue aired, not by the publishers or journalists I generally hear from, but by one of those who get written about in these publications – by a venue asked for cash for its inclusion for the first time.

The Northern Snippet blog explains the dilemma and wonders if a decision against payment could change a venue’s standing:

“Last year,for the first time in its 28 year history,the guide introduced a charge for featured pubs. At the time we hummed and hahed over whether we should stay in the guide,then a twitter friend commented that  if we thought it was good PR for the pub we should just stump up the cash and stay in.

So we did.This year we didn’t really give it much thought,the invitation to be included arrived  and we sent off the payment.”

The blog then goes on to describe the way a previous County Dining pub of the year has fared under the new scheme.

The discussion has already prompted some heated debate but what do you think? If you’ve an opinion on the topic of paid insertions, the Northern Snippet would love to hear from you.

I’m left wondering whether the old-style guide can ever hold its own in a digital age – doesn’t the prevalence of food blogs, review sites and social media makes for a more rounded and reliable recommendation system anyway?

Bad Yelp review? No problem, tell the world!

Would you call into a cafe where the advertising told you they had ‘the world’s worst’ sandwich on offer? Seems reverse advertising might just be the way to turn that round and prove the reviewer wrong.

As restaurateurs get ever more twitchy about us food bloggers and the power of the review sites, it was refreshing to see this pop up in my twitter stream the other day.

I haven’t been able to track down the location of this particular food outlet – could well be abroad – but if anyone knows them, I’d love to know whether it’s resulted in an increase in customers.

A sense of humour and the opportunity to lighten up a bit goes a long way to persuade people that you’re worth a look. Far better approach than all those ‘don’t’ rules. Hope it catches on…….

Introducing the food noticeboard

foodiesarahnoticeboardI’ve recently started a new service for this blog using the noticeboard platform which means people can share food related offers and deals, events or news.

I felt that this blog didn’t offer much scope to include offers or an easy way for other people to share things so I thought the noticeboard could answer both problems – plus, as regular followers will know,  I’m always looking to try out something new!

In these days of squeezed spending we all appreciate a deal, so I’m hoping that using in this way will give people a chance to spot and share bargains – whether a restaurant offer or simply anything cooking related like a cookbook share.

You can see it here,, and I’ve explained a little more about the reasons for starting this at the n0tice blog today.

Please do let me know if you’ve anything to share there.

Disclosure: I am part of the team behind the platform.