Can Lower Expert Opinions Lead to Better Consumer Ratings?: The Case of Michelin Stars

41 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2022

See all articles by Xingyi Li

Xingyi Li

University College London - UCL School of Management

Yiting Deng

University College London

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Bert De Reyck

UCL School of Management

Date Written: November 13, 2022

Abstract

Expert opinion exerts tremendous influence on the purchase journey, but its effect on overall consumer experience is ambiguous as it can give rise to both “expectation” and “reputation” effects. This paper explores the effect of expert opinions on consumer experience via the lens of consumer reviews in the restaurant industry, where the expert opinions are conveyed by Michelin stars. We construct a unique data set based on the Michelin Guide for Great Britain & Ireland from 2010 to 2020. The data include consumer reviews on TripAdvisor for all restaurants that were awarded Michelin stars during these 11 years, and a large pool of potential control restaurants. We apply two synthetic-control-based methods to estimate the effect of Michelin star changes on the sentiment and content of consumer reviews. We find that decreases in Michelin stars improve consumer review ratings, suggesting that the expectation effect of expert opinions is stronger than the reputation effect. The analysis of review content further shows that service and “value for money” appear to be the key drivers of the customer experience. When a restaurant loses or receives fewer Michelin stars, consumers become less demanding on service aspects and also focus less on value considerations. We discuss the implications of our findings for restaurant managers, the Michelin Guide, and other businesses that provide experience goods.

Keywords: Expert Opinions, Consumer Reviews, Restaurant Industry, Michelin Star Ratings, Synthetic Control Methods

Suggested Citation

Li, Xingyi and Deng, Yiting and Manchanda, Puneet and De Reyck, Bert, Can Lower Expert Opinions Lead to Better Consumer Ratings?: The Case of Michelin Stars (November 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4275944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4275944

Xingyi Li

University College London - UCL School of Management ( email )

One Canada Square
London, E14 5AA
United Kingdom

Yiting Deng (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Level 38, 1 Canada Square
London, Please Select E14 5AA
United Kingdom
2031086081 (Phone)

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-936-2445 (Phone)
734-936-8716 (Fax)

Bert De Reyck

UCL School of Management ( email )

London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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