Table for two: The effects of relational and categorical organizational identities on restaurants reviews

Alessandro Lomi, Anastasia Giachanou, Fabio Crestani, Spyros Angelopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Recent research on restaurant organizations has found that specialist identities are systematically associated with positive perceptions of authenticity – a consistent relation between an organization’s offerings and its underlying identity claims.
In this paper, we probe this relation further by studying restaurant evaluations expressed by professional food critics. We focus on food critics, rather than consumers, because markets for cultural products are typically mediated markets where intermediaries construct linguistic interfaces to facilitate communication and exchange between producers and audience sides of the market.

We examine the corpus of restaurants reviews published in The New Yorker magazine between 2001 and 2013 as featured in the weekly column Tables for two. We present preliminary results of a data driven exploration of the bipartite network linking ingredients and national cuisines through restaurants. The 547 restaurants reviewed by food critics during the period of observation represent 42 distinct national cuisines (from American to Vietnamese). Our analysis of the aggregate corpus of text identified 512 distinct ingredients (from abalone to zucchini) that food critics associated with the various restaurants in their reviews.

Unlike social evaluations typically summarized by ratings expressed on fixed scales, opinions expressed by food critics in their reviews maintain all the ambiguity inherent in natural language. We use proximity-based techniques of opinion retrieval to estimate the sentiment associated with each ingredient (or food item) mentioned in the reviews. We are interested in understanding how the critics’ opinion on (or “sentiment” about) individual ingredients changes across national cuisines and across restaurants. We explore the conjecture that such variation is related to judgments of authenticity – which we measure in terms of (i) affiliation of the restaurants to multiple national cuisines; (ii) relative prevalence of ingredients in each cuisine, and (iii) combination of ingredients associated to national cuisines. The results of the study contribute to current research on authenticity by showing how relational and categorical organizational identities of restaurants jointly shape the evaluation of food critics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication36th Sunbelt conference (INSNA)
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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