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Twitter to highlight bad restaurants

16 | 08 | 13

A new computer system could use Twitter to create a map of restaurants diners should avoid. 

Developed by researchers at the University of Rochester, the nEmsis programme analyses people's tweets regarding eating out and picks up on complaints such as poor quality food, bad service and food poisoning, the Times reports.

Twitter users can then look at the data and choose to avoid establishments that have received a high number of complaints. 

Vincent Silenzio of the University of Rochester commented: "People criticise folks for oversharing on Twitter and social media, but there's a benefit

"Currently, you can only identify a [bad] place after the fact. The promise of this system is that you can identify things almost in real time and provide a better detection system than you have now."

The project has only been used in the US so far and was first trialled in New York earlier this year. It analysed some 3.8 million tweets from close to 94,000 people and found its map of bad restaurants correlated with the outlets that had received poor ratings from US government food inspectors. 

If it continues to prove a success, the system could even be used to track the progress of infectious diseases and could help health professionals to try and stop them from spreading.

The development of this programme is further evidence of the way social media sites such as Twitter are becoming increasingly prominent in everyday life. 

Earlier this year, a study by Barclays claimed restaurants and other hospitality businesses may not be doing enough to take advantage of this trend. It found less than two-thirds (60 per cent) of companies in the sector can see the potential of social media to engage with and attract customers. 

Head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Mike Saul said the industry is "missing a trick", as social media has reduced the distance between consumers and companies.

While having a presence of Facebook and Twitter might not be as important as buying good catering equipment, it is certainly something restaurants should consider.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801626140-ADNFCR

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