SOURCE: Opinionated About Dining

November 07, 2007 18:42 ET

Opinionated About Dining Announces Rating Reward Program

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 7, 2007) - Opinionated About Dining Survey (www.opinionatedabout.com), an online dining survey launched earlier this year, has announced a new rewards program beginning in November through which survey participants can earn discount coupons and gift certificates to high-end specialty food and beverage retailers.

Survey participants will accrue reviewing points based on the number of restaurants they are able to rate and critique. The points will be redeemable for gift certificates and discounts to Bryan's Fine Foods, Casa Oliver, Chamber Street Wines, Chefshop.com, Farm 2 Market, Grateful Palate, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Jeni's Ice Cream, Kitchen Arts & Letters, Murray's Cheese, Russ & Daughters and Terroir Select Coffees.

Opinionated About Dining was initiated as a food discussion forum in March 2003 by music and entertainment industry veteran Steve Plotnicki, an avid restaurant-goer and international traveler, for whom dining out a serious hobby -- serious enough to focus on turning it into a new business venture. In addition to overseeing the Opinionated About Dining Survey, Plotnicki writes a restaurant blog widely read by fine dining aficionados under the same name, www.oad.typepad.com.

"My friends and I felt that dining guides that existed on the market often didn't tell us what we wanted to know about a restaurant," said Plotnicki. "Survey-based guides weren't discriminating enough for our needs. And, guides compiled by professional reviewers were slow to update their ratings because they were weighed down by overly restrictive criteria. We found that the best information came from destination diners like ourselves, individuals who plan their travel around dining," said Plotnicki.

Up until now, participation in the survey has been by invitation and word of mouth referrals. According to Plotnicki, 75% of the survey's participants reside in the United States and the remaining 25% come from a range of countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Israel, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. The top 50 participants have been able to rate nearly 80 restaurants on average.

Survey participants are asked to describe how strongly they recommend a restaurant using seven different ratings that range from "Must Go" to "Must Avoid," and to write a comment about their experiences at that restaurant. While the current survey focuses on fine dining restaurants with a price point of $75 or higher, Plotnicki says that in 2008 he plans to launch surveys focused on moderate and inexpensive dining. The results for the current survey, the Top 100 Restaurants in North America & Europe, will be published in March 2008.

"Although anyone can participate in the surveys, when evaluating the ratings we take into consideration the dining experience of our respondents," said Plotnicki. "And, we weigh their opinions according to the number of restaurants they have visited and the location of those restaurants in relation to where they live. This way, respondents who demonstrate significant and diverse dining experience have a greater impact on the results than those who are solely qualified to rate restaurants in the cities in which they live."

Plotnicki hopes the new rewards program will attract qualified diners to the survey. "The information that the destination dining community has is invaluable, and I am interested in rewarding them for sharing the information they have with others."

Entire press kit can be found at: http://www.opinionatedabout.com/presskit.pdf

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