What makes people rate a restaurant positively? More than food, it is the weather that matters, say researchers. A study suggests that customers left more negative remarks on comment cards on days when it was raining than on days when it was dry.
"Restaurant managers may see more than the usual bad reviews on certain days, and it may have nothing to do with the service or the quality of the food," said co-author of the study Milos Bujisic, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University.
"Restaurants can't control the weather, but it may affect how customers review them," he added.
For the study, published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, the researchers examined the comment cards left at 32 Florida restaurants.
The researchers rated the comments on a five-point scale from 1 (very negative) to 5 (very positive). They also examined weather data from the National Climatic Data Center for each restaurant's location on the days the comment cards were left.
They examined 14 different weather variables, but only three were related to customer comments -- rain, temperature and barometric pressure.
Higher temperatures -- which in Florida can often mean it is uncomfortably hot -- were linked to more negative comments.
Higher barometric pressure was also connected to negative comments in Florida, which is also probably different from much of the country, the researchers said, because rising pressure is often associated with fair weather.
In another experiment, 158 people from around the country who visited a restaurant within the last 24 hours were asked to rate and describe the weather conditions right before their restaurant visit.
The results showed that people who described the weather as more pleasant also rated their mood more positively. Better moods -- and not the weather itself -- were related to more positive word-of-mouth.
(With IANS Inputs)