Friday, November 28, 2014

The LA|NY State of Mind: LA Restaurants May Offer Better, More Memorable Service Compared to NYC Restaurants

Do LA restaurants generally offer better service than NYC restaurants?  As before, I answered this question using Yelp restaurant comments from the top 40 restaurants from 44 different categories of cuisine in LA and NYC.  To determine the relative impact of service, I first calculated the tf-idf of the word service in all comments from the top 40 restaurants in each of the 44 categories.  I then normalized the tf-idf of the word service as a percentage in relation to the highest tf-idf word from the same set of comments.  I only used 5-star and 1-star Yelp comments to remove any ambiguity in sentiment when comparing positive and negative service, respectively.  I then compared the average impact of positive and negative service across all 44 restaurant categories within each city as well as between cities.  

I found that within each city, there were no significant differences in positive versus negative service importance (LA: t(43)=0.722 , p=0.472 ; NYC: t(43)=1.502 , p=0.137).  Thus, neither LA nor NYC diners were more positive or negative about service.  There was also no significant difference between cities with regards to average importance placed toward negative service (t(43)=0.090, p=0.929).   However with positive comments,  I found a significant difference whereby LA diners placed a significantly higher importance on positive service compared to their NYC counterparts (t(43)=2.272 , p=0.026).  

Negative vs Positive Service Importance Within Cities

N.S. = not significant (p≥0.05)

Negative vs Positive Service Importance Between Cities

star = significant (p<0.05)

For the top 40 restaurants among 44 popular categories of food, LA restaurant reviewers placed significantly more importance on positive service compared to NYC restaurant reviewers.  

I can't help but wonder:
  • Does LA's sunnier, warmer, and less rainy weather make diners and servers more positive?
  • Conversely, does NYC's more gloomy and cold weather make diners and servers less positive?
  • Do other positive aspects (taste of the food, plating, ambience, etc.) in NYC restaurants overshadow the importance of service?
Ultimately for top restaurants in each city, LA may offer more memorable positive service than NYC.  

Thanks again, 

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