Old - School Critics
There was an outpouring of woe on Twitter on Sunday when the restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin announced that her newly published review would be her last for the Sunday Times.
As a long-time fan, friend and sometime colleague of Marina, I felt as bereft as anyone (although you can’t keep a good woman down, I happen to know). But what was most instructive was that although yes, there were many comments from her fellow journalists and food industry folk, there was a big reaction from general readers.
We’re often told that the age of the professional critic is over, thanks to TripAdvisor, TikTok posts and the slightly murky world of Instagram influencers. But is it really?
The restaurant PRs I speak to often tell me what their clients value most is a print review from one of the big-name critics. It might not immediately translate into a frenzy of bookings but it does cement a reputation – valuable particularly when customers are considering carefully where to spend their money.
I haven’t officially reviewed restaurants for a number of years, but people both in the media world and people I’ve met outside my industry often ask me for recommendations, which is both a pleasure and a responsibility. And sometimes I’m asked to give private feedback to a chef/restaurateur, which is also a pleasure and a responsibility.
A confident PR who feels good about their client should welcome the old-school critics and writers… We know there’s no such thing as a free lunch and will tell you what you need to hear.
What Lisa thinks…
My first question on reading this release was ‘Why?’ (this happens quite often!) but then I read on and all was made clear on a fun, colourful and charitable collaboration.