The Infatuation Gets Rid of Restaurant Ratings in Light of Pandemic

The company says it doesn't feel ethical to rate restaurants during the coronavirus era

Diners eating outside at a restaurant during coronavirus pandemic
People eating in the outdoor dining area of a Miami Beach restaurant on June 24, 2020.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
By Bonnie Stiernberg / June 30, 2020 1:18 pm

With many restaurants struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and scrambling to adapt with outdoor dining options, The Infatuation restaurant recommendation platform has announced that it’s doing away with its numerical rating system.

The company removed more than 4,000 ratings from reviews of restaurants in nearly 50 cities from its website and app, and as Editor-in-Chief Hillary Reinsberg told the Wall Street Journal, the decision is one that has been in the works for a while.

“People would often ask us: Are you adding points up? Is an 8.0 in Boston equivalent to an 8.0 in New York? Is it about how fancy a place is? Is service included? Is décor included?” Reinsberg said. “They’re really hard questions to answer. All rating systems require people to understand the language, and that can be a challenge.”

Ultimately, however, the choice to remove ratings was a result of the pandemic and “recognizing what the experience of going to a restaurant is realistically going to be like right now, and understanding how profoundly that’s changed,” she said.

The Infatuation will continue to review restaurants and may eventually roll out an “Infatuation Approved” label for especially good ones, but the numerical ratings are a thing of the past.

“We don’t even know how these restaurants will be operating in a month’s time, or what kind of changes they’re undergoing,” Reinsberg said. “It doesn’t feel ethical and it doesn’t feel useful to rate them.”

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