Edelman v. Sichuan Garden & Yelp Reviews!

Our own Alice Kaanta, an analytics engineer at Luminoso, provides an interesting take on the high profile social media eruption of Edelman v. Sichuan Garden.

 


In recent news, Ben Edelman, an HBS professor, made a fully-loaded verbal assault against Woburn-based restaurant Sichuan Garden over a $4.00 discrepancy in his check.

You might have observed the blowback across social media as this story went viral, largely in defense of the Sichuan Garden, though defenders of Edelman’s argument exist. Since no one has time to read all of the commentary strewn across social media, we decided to analyze some of the surrounding feedback using Luminoso.

People have taken to Yelp to defend/decry Sichuan Garden, so we’ve loaded 204 of Sichuan Garden’s reviews into our solution.

Sichuan Garden - All reviews (1)

All Reviews
(
Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)

 

It seems that most of the reviews about Sichuan Garden are about the food and the authenticity of the restaurant. However, “Edelman”, “Ben Edelman”, and “Harvard” are a definite presence.

Sichuan Garden - Five Star Edelman (1)

All Five-Star Reviews (Color Representation: Very related to “Edelman” Moderately related to “Edelman” Slightly related to “Edelman” Not related to “Edelman”)

 

We found that people who discussed “Edelman” also gave the restaurant five stars. What they had to say about Professor Edelman was not flattering, as the top term related to “Edelman” was “bully”.

Sichuan Garden - Recommended Reviews (1)

Recommended Reviews
(Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)

Sichuan Garden - Not Recommended (1)

Not Recommended Reviews
(Color Representation: Positive Sentiment Negative Sentiment Sichuan Garden Edelman, Harvard Food Service)

 

If you’re familiar with Yelp, you might have noticed that some reviews are quietly hidden, having been sent into the “not recommended” reviews section. According to Yelp’s FAQ, this might be because, “… the review might have been posted by a less established user, or it may seem like an unhelpful rant or rave.”  “Not recommended” reviews do not contribute to a restaurant’s star rating, nor are the reviews easily viewable.

We found that all of the reviews mentioning “Edelman” appear to have been marked “not recommended”, which suggests that Yelp understandably does not wish to host a flame war.  It also suggests that well-meaning Sichuan Garden supporters aren’t actually contributing to the restaurant’s star rating or visible positive reviews…

Sichuan Garden - Graph (1)

…that is, unless they are avoiding the Edelman commentary entirely, and sticking to talking about the food.

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