When COVID-19 shattered the international norm of seated dining, the social media world of eatery reviews derailed. Where food bloggers were once referral tools for new dining experiences, their blogs now seem to cover the news effects of COVID. Others met regular reads with silence. But not all food bloggers gave in to the pandemic’s death demands on business. Like Caribbean blogger, Zaak Mustapha, owner of popular Facebook review page, Foodie Tales with Zaak.
Refusing to let the Coronavirus quarantine his imagination, Zaak is using his time to help restaurants pivot. He is actively promoting giveaways and gifts to help owners attract orders and reviews related products for free. For Zaak, the new normal is assisting businesses in influencing conversions. Food Bloggers have the power to connect with customers because they are customers themselves. Their written reviews and experiences become customer advocacy statements, often demanding better food, higher service standards and lower prices. In this new normal, the customer will still demand quality.
Executive Producer of the Travel Writers Radio Show in Australia says that people are looking for truth, not just opinion. Authenticity. They want to listen to people who’ve got some experience in food.. Truthful, honest information not overly opinionated. Influencer movement is based on any sound, solid background of knowledge, somebody who looks good in front of a selfie camera that makes produces videos and blog posts.
There’s evidence in the market that the idea of influencing is dissipating. The marketing arms of companies has spent a lot of money tipping dollars in the direction of influencers. After this period of reflection, where we’ve been forced to introspectively by the virus lockdown, people are seeking truth and quality information. Those who purport to give information or convey information from others need to do it in an honest and fair way. Amateur journalism is challenging because the scales of justice is involved in truth in journalism. You have to weigh up both sides of an argument. It’s whats gone into a dish, how it’s been presented, what’s the environment in the restaurant like or in the case of takeaway meals, how does it work in their own home? Can they present it like a professional would present a meal on the plate.
A whole of people jumped onto the food wagon publishing blogs about food with little real knowledge of the food, maybe just an opinion to say whether they like it or not. It’s not to say that it’s invalid but people are entitled to make some judgement call about the information that they are reading and being asked to accept.
Customers will still demand quality. People wouldn’t have been eating as well at home or sophisticated. A restaurant has a daily supply of food. In Australia, we get the best produce. Australians will certainly revisit quality food establishments and here's the chance for food bloggers to be apart of historical refocus of our food scene with their niche opinion skills.