With so many restaurant selections in Provo it’s easy for students to be selective about where they go out to eat.
To avoid going to a restaurant with poor food or service, some students will research before going out.
If looking for an informative food review website that provides pictures, reviews on customer service, atmosphere and what foods to order, Eat BYU blog may be the perfect website.
BYU student Chelsey Hancock is the creator of Eat BYU blog. The blog, which was published in Jan. 2012, averages 200 views a day and has over 50 members.
Hancock rates different kinds of restaurants from fast food to fancy cuisine. She first received inspiration to create her blog after realizing that she had been to nearly all of the places that online websites recommended.
“I started writing down all of the places I’d been, what I ordered and what I remembered, and was surprised to find 74 places on my list,” Hancock said.
Hancock was also inspired by her father, who was a chef, to create a restaurant/food review blog.
“Because my dad was a chef I have a great love and memory for food,” Hancock said. “Plus I know so many people who get stuck in the same-restaurant rut, and I want to encourage them to get out and try new places.”
Before giving a restaurant a rating, Hancock takes into consideration food presentation, service, atmosphere of the restaurant, if food is well prepared or not and if the food is fresh and original.
Hancock rates service as a high priority for restaurants to be successful.
“If the food tastes fine but your server was a total jerk, you’re never going to eat there again,” Hancock said.
On each of the blog posts Hancock gives helpful information about the restaurant she visited.
She mentions who she went with, number of visits, what she and her group ordered, what the overall cost was, what they thought and helpful tips on what to order, restaurant specials and other useful information to make a dining experience better.
Each blog post also features a four-star rating scale. A one-star rating represents “avoid at all costs,” two stars, “go there if you have to,” three stars means “go,” and four stars means “go right now.” These star reviews can be found after every blog post.
In order to learn about restaurants in Provo or in the Utah Valley, Hancock relies a lot on recommendations from viewers of her blog on where to go next.
“There are so many choices and new places every day,” Hancock said. “I have Qualtrics plug-in on my page where people can recommend (places) for me to visit. It’s a great idea for me to hear about new restaurants and to get an idea for the genre of food people are interested in.”
As Hancock’s blog gains more viewership she has had restaurants come to ask her to review their establishments.
“I’ve had a few places offer free meals/discounts, and I’ve decided to decline these offers because I feel like it causes my opinion to be biased,” Hancock said. “Instead I usually ask the restaurant if they would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway for readers instead, and that has worked out great.”
Heather Stephenson, a recent graduate of BYU, found the blog through Pinterest. Stephenson mainly uses the blog to find out more about restaurants she wants to try and to find new places to try next.
“I would definitely recommend this blog to others,” Stephenson said. “It’s good to read reviews so you don’t waste your money, and she does pretty good ones. She does a lot of Provo restaurants, including ones at BYU, so you get a pretty good selection.”
Hancock’s sister, Devynne Barrett, who is studying philosophy at BYU, will sometimes accompany her sister on her restaurant excursions.
“I’ve gone to a few restaurants with her, and whenever we go out it’s become habit to wait to eat until she’s snapped some photos,” Barrett said.
Hancock, who graduated from BYU last spring, plans to continue her food review blog.
“I still live in Provo with my husband, and I will always be a true cougar fan at heart,” Hancock said. “I plan to continue the blog as long as our budget can afford it and there are new places to try.”