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Rant Away: Prototype Restaurant Rating Scale

Posted by CMH Gourmand on September 2, 2008

The need for a restaurant rating scale for CMH Gourmand has been on my mind for a while. I found a scale on an English food blog that sparked my muse but it needed more refinement. Using a star scale just seems too limited. Here is a my primordial prototype – let me know what you have to add to this work in progress – everything is open to debate – except food getting the most total points. (Special thanks to my Beta test group including: Bear, Liz, Andy, Heather, and Craig).

10 point rating scale for Food – because food is the most important part of the experience.


10 – My last meal before dying
9.5 – I want to eat here almost every day
9.0 – I want to eat here once per week
8.5 – Near Perfection, one of my top 5 favorites
8.0 – Great Food
7.5 – Very Good – with a couple of my all time favorites on the menu
7.0 – I’ll be back – some entrees I liked and some were average
6.0 – Good (or a good fast food place -Three Guys Burgers and Fries, Inn and Out Burger)
5.0 – Average – everything is fine – nothing worth writing about
4.0 – Good enough to eat
3.0 – I will eat here in an emergency
2.0 – Bad – I ate it to live
1.0 – I would rather starve


5 – Wow – I feel like royalty!
4 – The server must do this as their chosen profession.
3 – I was served my food and my check on time.
2 – I received my check when I asked for it.
1 – I left the restaurant for the safety of myself and others

Environment / Atmosphere / Ambiance

5 – Everything is perfect
4 – Feels nicer than home…because it is clean
3 – Everything is OK – nothing special
2 – Better than camping
1 – Welcome to the Jungle

And one final category. I have not found a word for this yet. There are places that we crave where the food is just OK, the place is a dump, or small, or crowded, or the service is hit or miss….but yet we love it. A local example was Nancy’s – decent food, diner decor, and decent service – but yet the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. I can not find a single word to describe this restaurant rating missing link.

The French phrase – je ne sais quoi = “an intangible quality that adds or makes something attractive or alluring”, is as close as I can get to the concept. Thanks to local Columbus Underground reader Andy D for helping with that concept. Another term might be mojo.

Everything gets tallied up – and there you go.

This is a community work in progress so feel free to add your two cents.

After some healthy debate – I will clean up this scale, re-post as a link on the blog and use for it restaurant reviews…..(which I have not done in quite some time).

4 Responses to “Rant Away: Prototype Restaurant Rating Scale”

  1. hungrywoolf said

    I definitely agree that the 5 star system is lacking. Have you looked at how Hardens (the best UK restaurant guide) does theirs? This is a good start (and made me laugh) but I think there might be too many subdivisions in the food ratings, it gets a little blurred around 5.5/6. Also at the top end there is a little too much subjectivity bias in the scale based on people’s food preferences. For example, you might love indian food and go to an exceptional indian restaurant but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you would want to eat indian food every day. Somehow, there needs to be a way to say, this would be my first choice for its genre.
    In service I think that I was served on time should be 2.5 (ie average/ie the expectation) and that 2 should be something like, the service was lacking. there ought to be another below par level before you actually walk out!

  2. Bear said

    I would agree that you probably want a ten-point scale with only ten points in it.

    Other than that, just two words.

    Love. IT.

  3. Philville Phil said

    Instead of je ne sais quoi (which, in a crowded restaurant might sound like, “Jenny said what?”), I vote for “Mojo.”

  4. TJ Kennedy said

    Saw an ad in the Dispatch yesterday for a special at Eddie Merlot. I have never eaten there. It SOUNDED like a pretty good deal unless the portions are scant and the “glass” of wine is really a thimble. If we go, I will keep this scale in mind….

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