From reactivity to reputation management: online consumer review systems in the restaurant industry

Bomi Kim*, Olav Velthuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The rapid growth of online consumer review (OCR) systems such as Tripadvisor has greatly reconfigured the operating environment for numerous businesses and organizations. As OCRs become a crucial source of information for consumer decision-making, we pose a twofold question: how do restaurants perceive OCRs and how do they respond to being evaluated on them? In answering this question, we distinguish between different types of organizational responses: staff management, goal setting, operational practices and reputation management. We base our study on in-depth interviews with mid-price restaurants in Amsterdam. Our findings show that reactivity related to staff management, goal setting and operational practices is limited and highly deliberate. Instead, reputational responses are more extensive. That is, restaurants respond to and even appropriate OCRs in order to promote themselves, to signal professionalism, and to limit the reputational damage of negative reviews. On the basis of these findings, we argue that more attention be paid to the agency of evaluated entities and that OCR systems be theorized more as a multisided platform with a hybrid functionality of both valuation and marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-693
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Issue number6
Early online date23 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


  • consumer reviews
  • marketing
  • ranking
  • Rating
  • reactivity


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