This Sh*t's Delicious

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NEW Ranking Methodology

Summary: Deletion of the “Plating” category and compaction of the ranking scale to 1-5 means each restaurant will now be ranked out of 25 instead of 36 as has been done for April 2011-2012.

So far, TSD has been rating restaurants along the following categories: Ambiance, Service, Taste, Plating, Originality/Authenticity, and Value. Each category is rated on a scale of 1-6 for a maximum of 36 points for any given review per reviewer.

This ranking system is fairly arbitrary (like all ranking systems) and it has worked OK so far, but I think it’s time for a change. I primarily want to make two major changes:

1. Delete the “Plating” category

2. Compress the ranking scale to 1-5

“Plating” is a category that most bloggers/foodies don’t implicitly talk about or review, but it has an important part to play in the overall enjoyment of the food. I have always maintained that food is as much about the taste as it is about the overall sensory experience – that’s why I always describe the interior decor of every restaurant we have been too – as that does subconsciously contribute how good the food tastes. However, that said, “Plating” can easily be subsumed under “Ambiance” and/or “Originality” as both these categories do somewhat take into account “Plating”. Furthermore, the hole-in-the-wall places do not generally care/emphasize plating – that is typically reserved for the higher end restaurants – so it is a moot point anyways.

The original idea behind having a scale that went up to 6 want to flesh out the subtleties in ranking restaurants that are similar. The idea was to provide greater granularity in the ratings and enable a more refined comparison. However, that level of granularity is impractical as the difference between “Good” and “Excellent” or “Poor” and “Unsatisfactory” is often hard to quantify or define. The reviewer ends up relying on their gut to make that distinction, thus negating the usefulness of having that detailed level of breakdown. Furthermore, most restaurants ended up getting rated at ‘4’ in all the categories as that seems to be the average. Moreover, if the food is bad, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s “Poor” or “Unsatisfactory”: it’s still shit, and not the good kind.

As such, the new ranking matrix for all the subsequent restaurant reviews starting April 2012 will be out of 25 as follows:

NEW Ranking Matrix


Although we give each restaurant a numerical score, ultimately, TSD doesn’t really rank restaurants based on their score, so the change in numerical scores from 2011 to 2012 shouldn’t cause too much of a kerfuffle. The scores are also always normalized to 100%, which also helps in the comparison, if once wishes to do so. At the end of the day, we are more concerned about the discovery of hidden gems around town than creating an absolute list of best restaurants.

Original Ranking Matrix

Our ranking methodology is fairly simple. It is based on a scale from 1-6, with 1 being the worst and 6 being the best. The maximum allowable score is 36.


The criteria in the ranking system maybe changed from time-to-time, depending on the type of restaurants we are reviewing. For instance, “Service” and “Plating” might not apply to fast food joints where “Taste” and “Value” take higher precedence. Such modifications to the ranking matrix will be reviewed and applied on a case-by-case basis.

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