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Diners Choice FAQ's

Last revision March 13 by JoshL

What are Diners’ Choice lists?

Diners’ Choice lists recognize outstanding restaurants in numerous categories based solely on OpenTable’s verified diner feedback.

 

OpenTable diners globally have provided more than 28 million ratings and reviews, with more than 400,000 submitted monthly. Only feedback from seated OpenTable diners is published on restaurant profile pages, protecting restaurants from unverified ratings and reviews. Diners provide star ratings and can select from a list of characteristics to describe their restaurant experience (e.g. kid friendly, romantic). The relevant subset of OpenTable’s global verified diner feedback powers Diners’ Choice lists; for instance, ratings and reviews from the United States powers the National United States Diners’ Choice list.

 

What geographies do the Diners’ Choice lists cover? Why are lists available in certain geographies and not others? Diners Choice lists are generated at the National, Metro and Regional levels (e.g. US, SF Bay Area, San Francisco) dependent on the local restaurant selection and the volume of diner feedback available. For instance, larger cities and countries with many OpenTable restaurants are more likely to support lists for different cuisines (e.g. Best Sushi, Best Peruvian). For the National lists, restaurants are eligible across the country from small to large cities.

 

When are the Diners’ Choice lists released?

National Diners’ Choice lists are refreshed and released monthly, generally in the second half of the month.  

Metro and Regional lists are refreshed and released monthly in the first half of the month.

 

What Diner’s Choice list categories exist?

National lists generally feature one category each month with release timing based primarily on seasonality (e.g. Most Romantic list released prior to Valentine’s Day). Categories may vary based on specific needs of each country. US National lists in 2014 included:

  • Most Romantic
  • Hottest (Hip, new)
  • Best Brunch
  • Best Outdoor Dining
  • Best Neighborhood Gem
  • Best BBQ
  • Most Scenic
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Best Wine List
  • Best Steakhouses
  • Best Overall

 

Metro and Regional lists feature numerous categories sourced from the OpenTable Diner Feedback Form. Only categories with a minimum of 10 restaurant winners will be active for that month’s Diners’ Choice list in each respective geography. Categories may vary based on specific needs of each geography. Some categories include:

  • Best Overall
  • Best Ambiance
  • Best Service
  • Best Overall Cuisine
  • Best <insert specific type of cuisine>
  • Most Booked Restaurants
  • Most Booked 1000pt Tables
  • Diner Feedback Form categories;
    • Fit for Foodies
    • Great for Brunch
    • Great for Lunch
    • Hot Spot
    • Kid Friendly
    • Late Night Find
    • Neighborhood Gem
    • Notable Wine List
    • Outdoor Dining
    • Romantic
    • Scenic View
    • Special Occasion
    • Vibrant Bar Scene

 

How are Diners’ Choice restaurants generated?

Diners’ Choice lists are based solely on OpenTable’s verified diner feedback. Globally, OpenTable diners have submitted more than 28 million ratings and reviews, with more than 400,000 submitted monthly.  The relevant subset of OpenTable’s global verified diner feedback powers Diners’ Choice lists; for instance, ratings and reviews from the United States powers the National United States Diners’ Choice list. Dining Feedback Forms are provided only to seated OpenTable diners via email and mobile. Diners provide star ratings and can select from a list of characteristics to describe the restaurant experience (e.g. kid friendly, romantic).

 

Most Booked Categories

Restaurants are ranked based on the highest number of reservations made (date made), including reservations that are Pending, Seated, Assumed Seated, and Seated Disputed. This does not include any Concierge reservations.

 

Minimum Eligibility for Star Rating, Cuisine, and Diner Feedback Form Categories

To be eligible, restaurants must be opted-in to receive OpenTable reviews  and meet a minimum thresholds for reviews and overall ratings. A number of minimum reviews in place to ensure the results are statistically representative. The minimum review threshold still ensures that smaller restaurants will  be eligible and larger volume restaurants do not have an unfair advantage over smaller ones. Generally (subject to change), an overall rating of 4+ stars is required for the National lists and 3+ stars for Metro and Regional lists. The overall rating threshold ensures winners are well-balanced overall, in addition to being strong in a specific category.

 

Star Rating Categories (e.g. Best Overall, Best Service, Best Ambiance, Best Food)

Restaurants are ranked based on their average star rating within each category. For instance, a restaurant with an overall rating of 4.5 will outrank a restaurant with an overall rating of 4.0.

 

Cuisine Categories (e.g. Best Italian, Best Chinese, etc.)

Restaurants are ranked based on their average food rating. For instance, for the “Best Italian” category, all Italian restaurants that meet the eligibility thresholds are ranked based on their average rating for food.

 

Diner Feedback Form Categories (e.g. Most Romantic, Best Outdoor)

Restaurants are ranked by the percentage of diners who select that characteristic from the list available in their Diner Feedback Form. For instance, a restaurant whose diners select the “Most Romantic” characteristic in their feedback form 90% of the time will outrank a restaurant whose diners select that characteristic only 10% of the time.

 

What is the lookback period for Diners’ Choice lists?

All Diners’ Choice lists are a snapshot of time updated monthly.

National Diners’ Choice lists tabulate the past 365 days of reviews.

All other Diners’ Choice lists tabulate the past 120 days of reviews, except the Most Booked category which tabulates the past 30 days.

 

Why might restaurants with higher ratings not be on the Diners’ Choice lists?

This might happen for a few different reasons. Most often this occurs because Diners’ Choice lists are a snapshot in time that are published monthly and not updated until the next month. The Diners’ Choice lists are  not continuously updated like ratings and reviews are on the web. Restaurants might also see this happen depending on the specific Diners’ Choice category a restaurant is looking at and the criteria for that particular category. For instance, Diner Feedback Form categories such as “Most Romantic” are not based on the star ratings, but are based on the percentage of diners who select the “Most Romantic” category in their feedback. In another example for “Best Steakhouse” a restaurant may not make the list even though it has a higher overall rating, a higher service, or higher ambiance rating because these cuisine categories are based on food ratings alone.

 

How does OpenTable protect against potential Diners’ Choice scamming?

OpenTable is dedicated to ensuring that no individual or entity can inappropriately influence a restaurant’s Diners’ Choice ranking. OpenTable’s verified review requirement, volume of ratings and reviews considered, and security measures protect against potential attempts to influence the list.

 

Diners’ Choice lists are based solely on OpenTable’s verified diner feedback. Dining Feedback Forms are provided only to OpenTable seated diners, so restaurants can have confidence that ratings and reviews are sourced from only diners who have actually dined at their restaurant.

 

Globally, OpenTable verified diners share more than 400,000 ratings and reviews monthly. The huge volume of verified reviews, along with the minimum number of ratings and reviews required for Diners’ Choice eligibility, makes attempts to skew results highly unlikely.  

Finally, a number of additional security checks are in place to protect the integrity of Diners’ Choice lists. These security precautions are not disclosed publicly in order to avoid assisting anyone attempting to inappropriately impact rankings. OpenTable is constantly monitoring the effectiveness of security precautions to ensure that Diners’ Choice lists continue to be a credible, trustworthy source of outstanding restaurant recommendations.

 

How can restaurants improve their chances to to place on the Diners’ Choice list?

There are a few ways restaurants may help improve chances of placing on a Diners’ Choice list. First, restaurants must meet eligibility criteria. To meet minimum review criteria,  restaurants can encourage OpenTable diners to rate and review after dining (e.g. a server thanking guests for visiting and reminding them to rate on OpenTable); Reminding diners to leave OpenTable feedback  is acceptable, however asking diners explicitly to leave positive feedback is highly discouraged. OpenTable is dedicated to upholding the  integrity of its ratings and reviews so restaurants and diners can continue to benefit from high quality, verified, and unbiased reviews.

 

In addition to meeting the minimum number of review criteria, restaurants focused on delivering a great overall dining experience (Food, Service, Ambiance) can improve their chances of Diners’ Choice eligibility by meeting a minimum overall rating threshold. After meeting the threshold criteria, restaurants might focus their efforts on specific categories of interest. For instance, for the “Best Cuisine” categories, restaurants should focus on delivering the best food possible, given that this category is driven by overall food ratings.

 

What is the value being a Diners’ Choice restaurant?

Diners’ Choice restaurants may benefit from increased exposure and credibility. Diners’ Choice restaurants are featured in additional sections of OpenTable.com, which can aid restaurant awareness and OpenTable restaurant profile page visits. Awards can also give diners confidence in a booking decision and improve booking intent for Diners’ Choice winners.

 

How will restaurants be notified of winning?

For National winners, you should be contacted directly by your OpenTable Restaurant Relations Manager in the second half of the month.

For Metro & Regional winners, you will receive an email from newsletter@opentable.com in the second half of the month.

 

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