Here's how we calculate our quarterly Best Restaurants in Sausalito lists:
We search the web for blogs, travel sites, rating sites, user comments and all other forms of feedback and reviews we can find on local restaurants. This information is then catalogued, summarized and standardized to produce a single rating number that represents the average of all the opinions we found: the Online Experience Index.
It's important to note that small differences in scores don't represent a significant difference in public opinion. A restaurant with a score of 86 and one with a score of 85 or 84 are in a virtual tie, even if the difference places them several spots apart on a ranking list. There are places on our lists where five to ten restaurants are within a couple of points of each other, and they all should be regarded as being in a virtual tie for perceived quality.
The top restaurant for the month ALWAYS is given a score of 100, and all restaurants then receive a score "graded on the curve" of the top rated restaurant. The score is weighted to emphasize recent online activity.
It's worth noting that when we started our surveys in 2008 the #30 ranked restaurant scored about a 68. As of 2013 you typically need a score of 80 to make the top 30, which tells you that the average quality of consumer experience across the board (pun intended) has risen in Sausalito. The reason for the growth? We think the Internet has a lot to do with it, since both happy and unhappy guests can amplify their opinions online. That means restaurant owners have to work much harder to consistently keep everyone happy, or lose business to a competitor who does so.
We also research and publish the "Heat" for each restaurant, the amount of attention being paid to that business on the web. The highest Heat rating is automatically set at 1000 and all other restaurants are graded on that curve. A Heat Rating of 500 represents twice as much online attention as a rating of 250.
Like Google, MSN and Yahoo we do not release the formulas we use to calculate our rankings. We do, however, take steps to ensure that we are measuring broad cross-sections of activity. We actively filter data to protect against undue influence from a single detractor (or fan) wandering across the Blogosphere, popular travel forums and rating sites.
Restaurant Owners: How to Influence Our Rankings
We monitor a wide variety of pages on the web: blogs, restaurant rating sites, travel sites, online forums and more. Encourage your customers to write, comment or vote about your establishment anywhere on the Web that they normally travel. The odds are great that we'll pick up their activity in our data.
Website Owners: Licensing the Online Experience IndexTM System
Although we focus only on Sausalito at OurSausalito.com, we offer our restaurant and hotel ranking technology as a service to other websites in other areas. For more information, please contact us.