Everyone's a critic: Yelp reviews hold great power

Yelp booth
The Yelp booth at the 28th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 20, 2013, in Las Vegas.
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group

Next time you write a restaurant review on Yelp, you could be deciding the fate of the establishment.

A one-star increase in a restaurant's Yelp rating translates to a 5- to 9-percent increase in revenue, according to a 2011 Harvard Business School study.

Just as good reviews can help raise a restaurant's revenue, bad ones can really hurt.

When the San Francisco restaurant Jake's closed in December, it posted a note on its website saying, "Reading reviews and ratings on Yelp such as, 'I hated the color of their T-shirts, I'll never be back. I give them one star!' or being criticized for the taste of food that we have never even served at Jake's, was both amusing and demoralizing, not only to us as owners, but to our co-workers who put all of their efforts into giving each guest a great experience."

Meanwhile, a San Diego restaurant called Craft & Commerce has started playing the one-star reviews it has received on Yelp over the bathroom speakers.

They do tend to lose some of their power when read aloud:

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