False letters claiming to be from the Good Food Guide sent to restaurants asking for a fee.

False letters claiming to be from the Good Food Guide sent to restaurants asking for a fee.

Why do customers trust the reviews provided in the Good Food Guide? Because they know that they are unbiased and not paid for by the companies featured, right? Well yes, this is true and an important factor for those looking for well informed yet impartial recommendations. Unfortunately the integrity of the guide has been undermined by a third party sending out letters requesting a fee for inclusion.

Those behind the guide are keen to emphasise that they have never and continue not to charge those featured and have condemned the actions of whoever sent out the fake letters. Angela Newton, publisher of the Good Food Guide, said: "We have no association with the letters some restaurants may have received recently from Good Food Guide Limited asking for payment for inclusion in the Good Food Guide and are investigating the matter."

In order to be respected within the industry and by customers alike it is important that a good review cannot be purchased otherwise the value of the information drops considerably. Due to this, restaurants should not have responded to the letters by paying the fee, but for some this could be the temptation. After all we all know the difficulties associated with trying to build up a reputation for a new restaurant and perhaps the owners think it is worth paying the fee, but this is not how it works.

As ever, people vote with their feet and their feedback and the Good Food Guide bases its recommendations on the feedback it receives from customers. Further to this the guide has a team of customers who anonymously visit restaurants in order to review the service. Ms Newton said: "We never ask restaurants for money to feature in the guide and our criteria for inclusion is the same as it always has been - it is based on feedback from our readers and anonymous inspections."

When considering how to spread the word about a restaurant the owners must look carefully into what it is they are paying for and weigh up the pros and cons.
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