I’m not the only one. The annual Saveur Best Food Blog awards doesn’t even list “restaurant blogs” as a category.
Instead, restaurant writing takes three main forms these days:
- Full-time restaurant critic. These people are paid well. Of course, there are very few jobs, and most are at daily newspapers. (The fact that Eater just hired three male restaurant critics has made some writers ask whether men get all the top jobs, and delve into the issues women critics face.)
- Freelance restaurant writer for websites and publications.
- Reviewing for free on Yelp and other sites. Yelp is the main place to read online restaurant reviews. Yelp has posted more than 53 million reviews since it began in 2004. (The reviewers use lots of analogies to sex and drugs,according to a study.)
So this is all quite fascinating. But where’s the restaurant blogger category and why are there so few? I have a few theories:
1. Lack of confidence. Most food bloggers are amateur cooks. Many have told me they don’t feel qualified to critique the dishes at restaurants. I always tell them they are representing the consumer when writing a review, and consumers haven’t been to culinary school.
2. Eating out costs money. Paying your own restaurant bills is expensive, especially if you like dining in upscale places. If you’re blogging as a hobby, as most people do, you can’t write off your bills.
3. Restaurant reviewing is local, but blogs are international. Maybe food bloggers want to write about more universal subjects, and not be limited to their own cities or neighborhoods?
4. Recipe bloggers sometimes write about restaurants. They are invited to soft openings and cover the opening as an event. Then they go back to writing recipes.
What do you think? Why are there so few restaurant bloggers?
(Photo courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)