Is the demise of restaurant guide books imminent?


In the days of Yelp and instant reviews, printed dining guides are in danger of becoming irrelevant. As John Lethlean points out in The Australian, the combination of not including recent restaurants, poor writing, and other errors means the guides are not providing much value.

Lethlean pens a scathing review of the 2017 Gault & Millau Australia Restaurant Guide, which he finds is riddled with errors and doesn’t include updates on important restaurants opened or closed in the months before the guide’s publication. Lethlean admits that he doesn’t hold the G&M manager Mark Dorrell in high regard, noting that Dorrell upset many in food media when he claimed that established restaurant reviewers were tipping off restaurants in advance of their visits.

Despite having an axe to grind in this particular instance, Lethlean finds no joy in dismissing guide books as a genre, saying that “As someone who has contributed thousands of words to restaurant guide books, and edited a few, too, it gives me no pleasure to say the deadlines, the cost of research and reviewing render them pretty much useless in the digital age.”  It does give one pause to wonder many guide books will go the way of buggy-whip manufacturers in the next few years.

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  • KarinaFrancis  on  November 29, 2016

    I haven't used a restaurant guide book in years, Zumato is my go-to if I want to know about a restaurant. Although you do have to become adept at reading between the lines and spotting fake reviews – both positive and negative

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